- Book: One Last Secret
- Location: Southern France
- Author: Adele Parks
Adele Parks is a hugely popular author and knows how to keep her readers’ interested. This novel has sun, sex and salacious living at its heart and it travels back and forth in time and from London to the South of France.
Dora is an escort who happens to fall into a doting relationship with a friend. They get engaged. He knows her history and feels nevertheless that they would be a good match and Dora is pretty ok about getting married. It would be such a novelty to be loved for her and not admired, per se, for the services she provides.
We learn about her lifestyle and how she came to work in the upper echelons of society until one encounter leaves her bloodied and bruised. And terrified out of her wits.
She is then asked to attend one last function at a stunning chateau in the South of France, simply to be there as staged arm candy, no intimacy required, only pretence where necessary. It happens to coincide with her fiancé’s absence on a work trip and feels it would be doing one last favour to an ex client. Yes, there is luxury, there are beautiful people hanging around the pool, the accommodation is stunning if perhaps a little austere, but almost as soon as she arrives she doesn’t feel herself and she can’t quite put her finger on what is going on. She also recognises one of the other guests and immediately goes into overdrive. It is someone she really would never want to meet again, yet her clarity of thought is letting her down – she is usually at the top of her game, astute and incisive when she needs to act. it is all undoubtedly turning weird.
As the narrative progresses, there are, of course, many secrets and surprises unleashed on the reader, which move the narrative to its conclusion.
You can admire Dora for her tenacity to get through life and get herself on track after life changing events. Most of the chapters are devoted to Dora’s point of view as she shares her story with readers.
The prose rolls along in very capable hands, there are a couple of turns that feel a bit preposterous but that never dints the tight storytelling, tension and good writing. The texture of France and the French chateau is palpable, and I think this will make a great pool-side read, especially if you are holidaying in the South of France.