Title: The Three Miss Allens
Author: Victoria Purman
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: 24th October 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction / Romance
Roma Harris has made the life-changing decision to move to the sleepy beachside suburb of Remarkable Bay where she is determined to renovate an old guesthouse. Concerned about her state of mind, Roma’s brother Leo asks their distant cousin, and Roma’s former best friend Addy, to check up on her. Addy has problems of her own she wants to escape, and gladly helps.
During the renovation, the two women discover an old guestbook, and the fact that their great grandmothers Ruby and Adeline Allen were former guests. Curiously, there was a third Allen sister, Clara, recorded amongst the names – an Allen sister their family appeared to have forgotten.
In 1934 it was fashionable for the more exclusive of Adelaide’s social set to spend the summer down south at the beach. Ruby and her sisters Adeline and Clara are holidaying at Remarkable Bay. During their stay at the guesthouse, Ruby meets the tall and handsome Cain Stapleton and falls in love. But Clara has been keeping a secret, one which will change the future of the Allen sisters forever.
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The Three Miss Allens is different from Victoria Purman’s usual contemporary romance, though there is still plenty of that to keep romance readers happy. This story contains a few more heart wrenching and hard hitting themes than her normal stories, but I won’t discuss them at length here because I think it’s better to discover them yourself as you read in this instance.
Roma, Addy, and Ruby’s viewpoints are all captivating enough to hold your attention, with their unique voices and problems distinct and interesting enough to keep the pages turning. On a few occasions in Ruby’s storyline, her name was accidentally changed to Roma, but that aside, I didn’t have any trouble understanding which viewpoint I was in. As usual, the characterisation was extremely well written. I felt drawn to Roma’s predicament, and sympathy for Addy, even more so towards the end of the novel when the truth about her life is finally revealed.
Very little information was given regarding the mysterious Clara, even in Ruby’s viewpoint, so I was a little perplexed when it seemed to take a long time to find out much about her and why she disappeared. I had guessed her big secret early on, but I wasn’t prepared for the twist at the end. I love it when an author can keep me on my toes.
Another great read by Victoria Purman, and highly recommended. 4★