Country Secrets | Fiona Walker

Country Secrets book cover


Rivals, enemies, lovers and scandal, this book has it all!

Country Secrets is a sprawling, fast-paced romp of a book that will keep you entertained on a long flight, on a sunlounger by the pool, or curled up by the fire. Its structure reminded me of a steeplechase: there are lots of obstacles and some characters are left behind as others race to triumph.

I admit that, at the beginning of Country Secrets, I felt daunted by the number of characters, and the first few chapters seemed as if they’d gone off at a gallop while I was still in the tack room. However, while Country Secrets draws on people, incidents and relationships from previous narratives, there’s no need to have read those stories to enjoy this one. A comprehensive character list is provided, and Fiona Walker weaves in all backstories and information with skill.

Walker encompasses everything from the most prosaic village life, such as fundraising for the church roof, all the way up to the threat of bareknuckle fighting and passionate romances. The Comptons are home to every type of character, and each one is a well-drawn and vivid person with enough underlying sensuality and sexual tension to captivate every reader! Country Secrets is a hotbed of intrigue, enemies, lovers and scandal affecting everybody from the most innocuous to more roguish and feisty characters.

There’s also a fascinating insight into the world of horses that really drew me in. The glamorous side of stud farms and breeding, as well as the nefarious and rivalrous aspects, both feel very convincing. It’s hugely entertaining.

Walker also underpins her fast-paced narrative with a dry humour and some weightier themes. There’s obviously romance, love and marriage, but grief, health, financial insecurity, loyalty and family are all elements that readers can relate to. The story feels relevant, fresh and modern, despite being steeped in country tradition and history.

I began Country Secrets unsure if I was going to enjoy it, and finished the book feeling as if I’d moved to the Comptons and had been completely immersed in the lives of the villagers. I thought it was hugely fun and perfect for an indulgent holiday read.

Country Secrets by Fiona Walker is out now (Aria, HB £20) and available from Amazon.

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Allison Hay

I joined the "My Weekly" team thirteen years ago and, more recently, "The People's Friend". I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazines. I manage the digital content for the brands, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters.