~ The Summer of Secrets  ~

Sydney journalist Chloe Brown is painfully aware that her biological clock isn't just ticking, it's booming. When her long term boyfriend finally admits he never wants children, Chloe is devastated. Impulsively, she moves as far from disappointment as she can - to a job on a small country newspaper in Queensland's far north.

The little town seems idyllic, a cosy nest, and Chloe plans to regroup and, possibly, to embark on single motherhood via IVF. But she soon realises that no place is free from trouble or heartache.

 

The grouchy news editor, Finn Latimer, is a former foreign correspondent who has retreated after a family tragedy. Emily, the paper's elegant, sixty-something owner, is battling with her husband's desertion. Meanwhile, the whole town is worried when their popular young baker disappears.

 

As lives across generations become more deeply entwined, the lessons are clear. Secrets and silence harbour pain, while honesty and openness bring healing and hope. And love. 

All that's needed now is courage...

 

'It's a pleasure to follow an author who gets better with every book.' Apple iBooks, 'Best Books of the Month'

'In beautiful fluid prose, Hannay once again puts together all the ingredients for a real page turner.' The Chronicle

 

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Release Date  

 

PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE  

- AUSTRALIA July 25th  2018 -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
     

 

 

   Read an Excerpt

                                                              

Burralea's main street consisted of a row of quaint shops circa 1920s, many of which were painted in pretty pastels and fronted by footpaths adorned with pot plants and hanging baskets that spilled bright flowers. The Burralea Bugle, housed within one of these shops, was like no other newspaper office Chloe had seen.

Her previous office at Girl Talk had been on the fourth floor of a multi-storey glass and steel building and protected by a huge Polynesian guard at the front door, while the inner doors had coded keypads. By contrast, The Bugle's pale blue and white panelled door was closed, but not locked, and when Chloe gave it a tentative push, it swung open with an ominous creak, not unlike the sound effects in a horror movie.

A tremor whispered down her spine. She turned back to Jess who sent her a cheery wave and drove off.

So. It was early afternoon, a grim, grey afternoon. The clouds had rolled in as Chloe and Jess approached Burralea, bringing a misty, drizzling rain that added to a sense of gloom. To add to the weirdness, there were no lights on inside the newspaper office, but Chloe could see a lone figure in the middle of the room. A man. Slumped at a desk, folded forward, his head resting on his arms.

Dear God.

Alarmed, she flipped the nearest switch and light flooded the otherwise empty office. Instantly, an agonised groan erupted from the apparently comatose man. 'What the -!'

Chloe's spirits, which had been rapidly sinking, now took a headlong dive through the floorboards. What the hell had she got herself into? Cautiously, she closed the door, set down her suitcase and laptop and unhappily stepped forward.

The room reeked of alcohol, probably whisky, and to make matters worse, she recognised the slumped figure. There was no mistaking the shock of black shaggy hair and the forbidding, stubble-covered visage that seemed threatening even when he appeared to be asleep.

Somehow, some-crazy-how, Finn Latimer, the famous foreign correspondent was here. At The Burralea Bugle. Dead drunk, judging by the almost empty bottle of scotch, plus the greasy tumbler on the desk beside one of his outstretched hands, as if he'd passed out before he could pour the final snifter.

Chloe's first instinct was to turn and run. This was also her second instinct, which was damned disappointing considering the gusto with which she'd embraced the whole idea of heading north to a new job and a new life.

She might have acted on her new escapee impulse, if Finn Latimer hadn't stirred at that moment. With another groan, he lifted his head and squinted as if the light was blinding.

From beneath an untidy fall of black hair, he took a cautious, sideways glance in Chloe's direction and winced, as if any small movement hurt. 'Who are you?' he growled, his voice as deep as a gravel pit.

Chloe lifted her chin and pushed her shoulders back. 'Chloe Brown.'

He shook his head and winced again. 'Doesn't ring a bell. What do you want?'

'I believe I'm expected to start work here today.' She was probably foolish to have admitted this. Surely a wise woman would have left immediately, while she still had a fighting chance.

Frowning at her, Finn Latimer took his time to respond. 'So you're Dolly?' he said at last.

'Um - no. My name's Chloe. Chloe Brown. Emily Hargreaves interviewed me for a job as a journalist with this paper.'

'Yeah, yeah.' He let out a heavy sigh, then rubbed at his grizzled jaw with a large, long fingered hand. He was wearing scruffy blue jeans and a white business shirt, rather crumpled and grubby, with the sleeves rolled back to the elbows. 'Emily warned me, of course. She said she'd signed up a reporter from Dolly.' He glared at Chloe through dishevelled strands of hair. 'You are from one of the women's magazine, aren't you?'

'Yes,' Chloe said, although she was rather proud of the fact that Girl Talk, despite its frivolous sounding name, catered for a far more serious and mature audience than this man obviously imagined.

'I'm sorry,' Finn Latimer said next. 'You've caught me on a bad day.'

The apology surprised Chloe. She wondered how many bad days Finn Latimer normally experienced in any given week. If he had a drinking problem, she supposed that might explain why he'd left his high profile post as a foreign correspondent to work on a tinpot weekly in a tiny country town that no one had ever heard of.

Perhaps he'd had no option?

Finn was now looking glumly at the bottle and glass on the desk in front of him. 'Shit,' he said almost, but not quite under his breath. 'Is it -' He paused for a moment and frowned again, as if he was struggling with a difficult problem. 'Is it Tuesday?'

'Yes,' said Chloe.

'Shit,' he said again. 'Was I supposed to collect you from the airport?'

'I - I think so.'

'Damn. How did you get here?'

'A hire car.'

Finn closed his eyes, propped his elbows on the table and let his head sink into his hands. The pose seemed to draw inappropriate attention to how wide his shoulders were.

'How late is it?' he asked.

'Well, it's afternoon.' Chloe pulled her phone from her jacket pocket. '2:53pm to be exact. Actually, no. My phone's still on Sydney time, so it's 1:53.'

He let out another ragged sigh, ran a large hand over his face. He looked terrible, his face too pale in contrast with the midnight hair, his cheeks lined by deep parallel creases that disappeared into dark stubble flecked with grey. 'I've got to get this bloody paper out.'

Chloe was aware that The Bugle was a weekly, but Emily Hargreaves hadn't mentioned which day it came out. 'When's your deadline?' she asked.

'Tonight. Six o'clock.'

Gulp. Chloe had no idea how much work still needed to be done, but after almost a decade at Girl Talk, her instincts to meet a deadline were deeply ingrained. Pushing aside any lingering tiredness from her early start and long journey from Sydney, she said, 'Perhaps I can help?' Not that this oaf deserved her help.

'Thanks. Be a good girl and get me a coffee?'

At this, she bristled and, again, she was tempted to walk out. Her days as a junior and general office dogsbody were well behind her, although this probably wasn't a useful time to try to set Finn Latimer straight.

Still smarting, she scanned the office, but she couldn't see anything that looked remotely like coffee making facilities. 'Is there another room with a kettle?'

His mouth tilted in what might have been a grotesque attempt to smile. 'Cafe on the corner. They know how I like it. Put it on my tab.'

'Oh. Right.'

'And make sure you get a coffee for yourself, too.'

'How kind.' This time, the sudden gleam in Finn's dark eyes showed that he hadn't missed her sarcasm. 'Would you like anything to eat?' she asked as her stomach gave a small rumble. It felt like ages since she'd had a coffee and croissant at Cairns airport.

Finn placed a tentative hand against his stomach, which Chloe couldn't help noticing was surprisingly flat. But then, alcoholics didn't eat much, did they? He grimaced. 'No, no food, just coffee.'


 


 

 

 

   

 

       
     

 

           
       

 

 

From: The Summer of Secrets

By: Barbara Hannay

Michael Joseph

Penguin Group Australia

ISBN 9780143783473 (pbk)

Text copyright Barbara Hannay 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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