Money Doesn’t Make the Man – “The Trouble With Secrets” by Jean Grainger

Lena O’Sullivan longs to break away from the confines of her small town upbringing in Kilteegan Bridge. When Malachy Berger asks her out, Lena is impressed, not only because his father is the wealthiest man in town but because Malachy treats her as if she’s special.

But there’s an unsavory history between their families that neither is aware of and Malachy turns away from Lena, leaving her feeling devastated. As she tries to cope with her grief from losing him and the change in her circumstances, Lena’s godfather makes arrangements for her to stay with some of his old friends in Wales. She hates leaving her family but she can’t stay in Kilteegan Bridge. Not now.

“The Trouble With Secrets” is the first book in a new series by Jean Grainger, who has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Her characters are drawn with such richness that they spring to life on the pages and are easily relatable. Having lived through the 1950s, the era in which this story is set, it’s easy to recall the more staid norms and rigid social rules. I shudder when someone suggests those were “the good old days”. But it does make for an interesting backdrop in the genre of historical fiction and Grainger portrays it eloquently, warts and all. Five stars.

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