The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice.
Set in the 1950s, in an England still recovering from the Second World War, this is the enchanting story of Penelope Wallace and her eccentric family at the start of the rock'n'roll era. Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love, but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother, a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother Inigo, currently incapable of concentrating on anything that isn't Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte's sardonic cousin Harry...
I missed this book when it was first published in 2005 and it was a Richard and Judy book read at the time. Now ten years later it has been re published with a new cover and a short story and the end which could be called a prequel.
I have to begin by saying it took me a while to get into this book and begin to enjoy it. Halfway through the book I started to become more interested in it.
Penelope, her mother and her brother live in an old country house estate. They have not long moved back into it as during the war it was requisitioned by the army and they moved into the Dower House.
Their house was not looked after by the army and is falling to pieces and costing them every penny they have. Penelope's widowed mother has not recovered from losing her husband and does not seem to be much use to anyone.
Penelope meets Charlotte while waiting at a bus stop and accompanies her to her Aunt Clare's house for tea. Charlotte is more worldly wise than Penelope and a friendship is formed . Charlotte has a brother, Harry who has split from his girlfriend. He persuades Penelope to pretend they are together to make his girlfriend jealous and win her back.
I thought most of the story was rather predictable and I was proved right. I did enjoy reading about post war Britain and it was written beautifully. There was a good satisfying ending which I thought rounded the story nicely.
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets on Amazon in paperback or kindle.