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The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets


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'So good we can hardly speak' Observer

About the Author

Eva Rice is the author of two previous novels and one non-fiction title, WHO'S WHO IN ENID BLYTON. She lives in London.


London in the 1950s comes to life in this debut novel of historical chick lit in the tradition of Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. The focus of the story is Penelope, a reserved 18-year-old whose life is never the same after she meets the vivacious Charlotte. Also shaping Penelope's life is the ancestral home where she lives with her stunningly beautiful mother and Elvis-obsessed brother. The family can't afford to repair the huge home, which is itself a work of art, but they can't leave it either because it belonged to the family of Penelope's father, who died in the war. Penelope is distracted from the trouble at home when she gets involved with a plan by Charlotte's brother Harry to win back the rich girl with whom he's in love. Alas, once the plan succeeds, Penelope realizes she's in love with Harry. Though the novel initially drags a bit, it quickly becomes hard to put down as the reader becomes lost in the vivid depiction of 1950s London and Penelope's romantic world, where a chance meeting can change your life forever. [Rice is the daughter of lyricist Jim Rice (Evita).-Ed.]-Karen Core, Detroit P.L. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

An impulsive taxi ride with a stranger in 1950s London indelibly changes Penelope Wallace's life in Rice's sparkling debut. At 18, Penelope lives with her younger brother, Inigo, and her terribly glamorous, young widowed mother in a drafty, rundown, English estate house in the countryside. With the loss of the man of the house, financial pressures mount, threatening sheltered Penelope's family manse-and what's left of her family's place in society. She finds a kindred spirit in the outspoken posh Londoner, Charlotte Ferris, who has a "great gift for circumnavigating normal behavior," when they both reveal their passion for American singing sensation Johnnie Ray. After agreeing to accompany Charlotte's aspiring magician cousin, Harry Delancy, to his former girlfriend's engagement party to make her jealous, Penelope begins her journey through a world of smart parties, fashionable teas and simmering romance. With ?lan and insight into human foibles (and postwar Anglo-British relations), Rice, daughter of lyricist Tim Rice, ties the Wallace and Delancy families together with a surprising, bittersweet plot twist. Rice's remarkable gift for creating singular characters in this memorable story underscores her presence as a fresh new voice in fiction. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-Rice's third novel cannot quite make up its mind whether it is a true coming-of-age story or a comedy of manners. The story centers on the friendship between Penelope and Charlotte, two teens in post-World War II England. Penelope lives in a crumbling mansion with her mother and her rock-and-roll-loving brother, Inigo. Charlotte and her cousin, Harry, quickly draw the pair into the London social scene. When Penelope reluctantly agrees to pose as Harry's girlfriend to make the American socialite who broke his heart jealous, it comes as no surprise that the two end up developing real feelings for one another. The rise of the rock-and-roll era serves as a backdrop to the romantic goings-on, and readers get a thorough education in Elvis Presley precursor Johnnie Ray. The champagne flows freely. This glimpse into the high society of a bygone era is charming and witty enough to gain a following among lovers of British literature.-Kim Dare, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

So good we can hardly speak - ObserverUtterly fabulous. You will love this book - Miranda HartA delight of Nancy Mitford-esque trials and tribulations - VogueIf you like your green tea loose and your thank-you notes from Smythson, you'll love this modern vintage classic ***** - HeatEndlessly brilliant. Am irrevocably in love with all the characters - Katherine RundellA blissful read - ScotsmanIf Jane Austen were still around, she'd be writing books like this. Rice serves up a slice of vintage lit so yummy, you'll want to eat it all in one go - CosmopolitanElegantly and intelligently written - Elle

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