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Her Mother's Secret

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  132 ratings  ·  36 reviews
It’s 1969 and free-spirited artist Elin Morgan has left Wales for a sun-drenched Greek island. As she makes new friends and enjoys the laidback lifestyle, she writes all about it in her diary. But Elin’s carefree summer of love doesn’t last long, and her island experience ultimately leaves her with a shocking secret … 
Twenty-two years later, Elin’s daughter Alexandra has i
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published April 21st 2020 by Ruby Fiction
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Average rating 4.52  · 
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Kirsty ❤️
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This books is delightful. It brought a tear to my eye towards the end and the Greek Islands have shot up quite high in my post-lockdown to-do list after reading how beautiful Jan makes everything sound. 

We have a story of 2 parts. When Elin dies, her daughter takes possession of her art journal and diary and sets off to to follow in her mothers footsteps and find out what happened in 1969 and why her mum stopped painting forever. She does find those answers but to say more would be to give away
Frankie (Chicks, Rogues and Scandals)
What a wonderful debut!! I can guarantee from reading this emotional, heart-wrenching and feel-good book, that Jan Baynham will have a long career in writing and I cannot wait to see what other beauties Jan is going to gift to us all.
The story is split in two different era’s and two different but connected women; the story opens in 1991 with Alexandra who after losing her beloved mother; Elin she is trying to come to terms with her life without the woman who meant so much to her, she feels like
Judith Barrow
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I looked forward to reading this debut novel by Jan Baynham for quite a while and I wasn’t disappointed. The author has an easy writing style that I really like, I love the story, which has a brilliant dramatic opening and, unusual for me, I read the book in one fairly long session.

Her Mother’s Secret is set against the background of the Greek island of Péfka during completely different eras; 1969 and 2011 .These two time frames are linked by the two main characters, Alexandra and her mother, El
Lucy Mitchell
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very Enjoyable!

Loved this debut.

This fabulous book will take you on quite a journey. I actually feel like I have experienced something with this book. I also had a little cry at the end.

It has a great premise; grieving daughter follows in her late mother's footsteps and uncovers the secrets from her mother's time in Greece in 69, which have remained hidden in a diary for years.

What I loved about this book was the split between the two different eras; 1969 and 1991. This really worked well as
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely bittersweet novel, which kept me turning the pages until the early hours of the morning. The story alternates between 1969 and the present, and follows a mother and daughter who both travel to the same place trying to respectively find their way in life and some answers. There are two poignant love stories, with heroines you really empathise with. The secondary characters and really well-drawn too and you feel you get to know them. This is perfect armchair travelling as the sett ...more
Stephanie Wood
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this dual timeline story of love and self discovery with memorable characters and a stunning Greek backdrop to bring it all to life.
I always prefer the older story in these split narratives, but in this case both sections were equally compelling and the mother/daughter relationship was fully explored to reveal a strong familial bond which explained a lot about the emotional decisions made in both eras.
Jan’s descriptions of the Greek lifestyle and the detail in her portrayal of i
Natalie Normann
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
I've spent hours now on a beautifully described Greece Island, following the heartbreaking and uplifting stories of Alexandra and her mam, Elin. And I was lost in the descriptions of the landscape, of Elins attempts at painting what she sees and how she struggles to manage a difficult choice. The characters are engaging and interesting, and the stories of these two women are elegantly paced. The plot is so good, with so many twists and turns – it was impossible to predict! It was the perfect esc ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous summery read, particularly as we're not being allowed out of our homes at the moment. Captain Corelli's Mandolin but without the sobbing at the end.

I was once at a week-long house party in Tuscany and was chatted up with the line: "would you like to join me on my yacht in the Aegean?"

Call me shallow, but it worked. This book brought back all sorts of lovely memories...
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. 1969 was a pivotal time in Greek history and Jan Baynham captures the mood perfectly. I love fiction that allows you to escape to another place and if that place is my beloved Greece then so much the better. It is far more than a travelogue or even a reflection on history as Erin's daughter traces her mother's journey to discover what really happened in 1969. Just as Greece gets under your skin, so does this book. You will want more. ...more
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Her Mother's Secret is a book I found very intriguing right from the beginning. We meet Alexandra who is grieving the recent loss of her mother and has had a furious row with her father. While staying at her grandmother's she discovers a diary that her mother Elin kept when spending the summer of 1969 at a painting school in Greece. Alexandra had no idea that her mother had been in Greece, let alone that she was an artist. She decides to go to Greece herself to try to uncover what happened all t ...more
Karen Mace
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are looking for a getaway from the safety and comfort of your own sofa, then look no further! This book transports you to Greece with ease as you follow the story of Elin and Alexandra and I was utterly enthralled by their absorbing story.

Set in 1969, and 1991, this is the story of Alexander who is grieving the loss of her beloved mother Elin. She feels that her father and sister are moving on too fast and she feels out of place. Her grandmother then shows her a different side to her moth
Marsha Keeper Bookshelf
Reviewed at Keeper Bookshelf

Since I’m currently living in a world gone a bit crazy where my “normal” is so far removed from that ideal, picking up Her Mother’s Secret was a refreshing journey with a far different worldview point told by a mother and her daughter several years apart through the, now deceased, mother’s diary. While I’d call this story more mystery than anything else, there are several layers to Alexandra’s journey as she follows in her mother’s footsteps by returning to Greece and
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
For a story that, on the face of it, might appear to be a light summer read, Her Mother's Secret is as dramatic as it is entertaining. In her debut novel, Jan Baynham lends an assured confidence to the traditional 'love story'. Yes, it's very much a love story, but there are dark dealings & darker agendas lending the book a crucial edge; a sense of excitement that never lets up.

In 1969, Elin Morgan, an art student, arrives on the Greek island of Péfka to attend a painting school run by a famou
Isabelle D
With this novel, readers are invited to visit a beautiful Greek island in two different years - 1969 with Elin, then 1991 with her daughter Alexandra. Both parts kept my attention easily and I really enjoyed them even if the first few chapters introducing Alexandra before we're transported to 1969 while she reads her mother's old diary made it clear that Elin's story wouldn't end well. I found it interesting that readers are given more information than Alexandra in that part (instead of reading ...more
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Be transported to a summer on a Greek island

In 1969 Elin spends the summer on a small Greek island where she has enrolled in a class to study art tutored by a famous artist.

Two decades later and shortly after Elin's death, her daughter Alexandra unexpectedly acquires her mother's diary. As Alexandra reads the diary she realises it contains an account of the time her mother spent in Greece. The journal ends abruptly when Elin suddenly returns to England, leading Alexandra to suspect there was a
Joanna Lambert
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Told in two time frames – 1969 and 2011 - the story covers mother and daughter’s experiences when they travel to the Greek island of Péfka. Young artist Elin travels to join a summer school hoping to improve her talent. She records her time there in a diary which her daughter Alexandra inherits after her death. After reading the contents, twenty two years later Alexandra travels back to the island hoping to find someone who remembers her mother and can provide the answers to some unanswered ques ...more
Sally Coles
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When Alexandra's mother Elin dies she is devastated and feeling like an outsider in her own home where she feels her father is already moving on with another woman and obliterating all memories of her mother. Feeling for Alexandra her Nan gives her a diary that Elin kept in the summer of 1969 when she went on an art course on a Greek island. Feeling that she never really knew her mother she decides to follow her footsteps and go to the island and see if she can uncover her mother's secrets.

A lov
Yvonne Greene
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful read. Escape from everything to a sunny Greek island where you can share the adventures, love and traumas of Elin and her daughter Alexandra. I was worried it might be a copy of Mama Mia or Shirley Valentine but it definitely was not - a very original story with twists and turns. Elin and Alexandra are both totally believable women who experience unusual circumstances far from home. I loved my journey with them as they learnt about themselves, their dreams and reality. Couldn’t put the ...more
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. There are sad bits, mystery bits, travel bits, romantic bits, happy bits, artistic bits and more besides, something for everyone! I particularly liked the way the story was told, going between the diary entries and the full, realistic events. The book made you feel the sun of the island and see the views. I could really feel for all of the characters, it was like reading the story of things I had been part of, people who I'd known. The ending was well crafted, and again, so ...more
Carol Thomas
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With the dual timelines of 1969 and the present day, this story transports you to the beautiful island of Pefka in Greece. The descriptions of the sumptuous settings are as vivid as the pictures painted in the little art school. The people and community are mostly warm and welcoming, but there is a hint of threat and danger rippling as an undercurrent, building intrigue into the story. With secrets to be revealed and love lost and found, the story holds you to the end. I read it over a weekend a ...more
Anni Rose
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a time slip novel, we visit Greece in 1969 with Elin. Jan Baynham manages to create a great read. Who wouldn’t love the setting, the people Elin meets, including the gorgeous Stelios and enjoy the wonderful location that is beautifully described. It came across as so real, I felt like I was there with the art students. We then revisit the same area 22 years later with Elin’s daughter Alexandra who having found her mother's diary goes looking to experience some of her mother’s 1969 experi ...more
Jill Barry
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a hugely enjoyable book. Who doesn't enjoy a secret? There's a lot of joy in Her Mother's Secret, plenty of action, beautiful Greek island backdrop... and so much more besides. A compelling, poignant read from an accomplished debut author. ...more
Anna Shenton
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was looking forward to reading Her Mother’s Secret as my mother had one too. The cover and blurb were equally tempting and some of my friends had mentioned in a writing group what a beautiful story this is by Jan Baynham.
The author’s writing style was another draw, easy to follow, and dual timelines clearly explained. The wonderful descriptive scenes gave me a sense of being there on the beautiful Greek island of Pefka, painted affectively in my mind’s eye especially the art school. I was int
Jessie Cahalin
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeous dual time narrative about a mother’s secrets. The narrative is cleverly structured and kept me hooked until the very end. This mesmerising debut novel is a triumph.

The story has romance, secrets and mystery and the writing has a lovely, unique quality. There are many twists and turns and a couple of surprises. Reading the novel is a voyage of discovery into Elin and Alexandra’s lives and is packed with emotions. As Alexandra discovers her mother’s secrets, she also unlocks her
Luisa A.
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was interested in this book for a few reasons: firstly, as the owner of a classic VW camper van I was drawn to the camper van on the cover. Secondly, the author lives not far from me in South Wales, and the main characters in the novel were Welsh. Thirdly, my grandfather was Greek and so I was curious to read a story that was partly set in Greece.
I certainly wasn’t disappointed by this story. It intrigued me from the start and although o guessed at one major aspect of the story, it took severa
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a dual-time story, which shows what happened to an artist one summer back in the ’60s and then, years later, how her daughter follows in her footsteps to try to uncover the truth of what took place that fateful summer. It is an engrossing, well-paced story, with characters to care about – a love story with dark undercurrents. But for me, there was an additional character – and that was the Greek setting itself. This wonderful book gave me a sense of the Greek landscape that I last experi ...more
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I always enjoy dual timeframe books - this one is set in 1969 and present day and is written from the viewpoints of mother and daughter Elin and Alexandra.
I enjoyed reading this book in the garden on a sunny day. I found this a fantastic escape from the lockdown situation.
So well written, I was transported to Greece with such vivid descriptions and great charatcerisation. A story of self discovery, mystery and romance.

I recommend this book - perfect for a sunny afternoon in the garden or a co
Donna Morgan
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading the story of Lexi who is mourning the recent loss of her mother Elin. With the help of her Nan (and the family solicitor) she discovers a hidden side to Elin's life. After reading her mother's diary, Lexi travels to Greece to find out more about that fateful summer. The scenic descriptions make you feel like you are in sunny Greece and, coupled with the gripping storyline, is a blissful distraction from current times. ...more
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Alexandra’s lost her mother and feels like an outsider in her own family. When she receives her mother’s diary detailing her adventures in Greece, Alexandra can’t help retracing her steps and discovering why her mother never spoke of her time there.

This was a great book. So rich in details – the author does a great job describing the location, you feel like you are right there. I highly recommend this book!
Julie Cordiner
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Heartwarming and immersive

I love discovering a new writer who can transport me to a destination, and Jan Baynham certainly fulfils this with a delightful story that conjures up all the colour and charm of a Greek island.

The dual narrative in two different eras skilfully weaves in the themes that link the mother Elin with her daughter Alexandra, while pulling you into the lives of a fascinating set of characters they come into contact with on the island.

A heartwarming, immersive read that provid
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