Open Secrets

Romance - Suspense
273 Pages
Reviewed on 09/29/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I am a research analyst who works at a community college.

'Open Secrets' is my fourth novel and the third novel of the 'Secrets' series. My first book, 'the Missing Motive', is actually of novella length and was a challenge to myself to find out if I could actually produce it. The second, 'Secrets', is the first novel of the 'Secrets' series. It started as a 1500-word entry for a short story contest, but I found that I was unable to contain it, and it became the work that it is.

In continuing the story for other characters in 'Secrets', 'Chain of Secrets' was the result, and subsequently 'Open Secrets'. These are of standard length.

If I were to describe what I expect readers to experience from my novels, I would say that I wish for them to think of my books as a way to get away for a while to exotic places with story lines that suspensefully energize the intellect, bring out a spectrum of emotions, and allow for an enjoyable and impactful visit between the pages.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ronél Steyn for Readers' Favorite

Lucille Skelton brings us a suspenseful romance in Open Secrets. Verna North has decided to return to her home on the island of Grand Pinnacle. Her brother is getting married and has asked her to help with the planning. She hasn’t really been back in the 10 years since graduation. Not for longer than a week, and then only with the utmost secrecy. Not after what happened at the graduation party. Not after the majority of the community joined in the gossip. Not after Marcus Strong. Representing the firm of Gentles & Worth at a board meeting of Grand Pinnacle University, Verna is surprised that Marcus is present as well. Are they able to build something more this time around while dealing with the interference of old high-school rivals?

Author Lucille Skelton has created a wonderful combination of romance and suspense in the third book of the Secrets series with Open Secrets. I appreciated the fact that I was given the relevant information within the first two chapters to get a sense of the series. This means that the book can be read as a stand-alone. However, do not deprive yourself of the full story written by a superb author! I really loved the incorporation of the agricultural preservation element as well as the treasure-hunt-like theme. Also, who wouldn’t adore the descriptions of the mazes? The characters are likable and relatable, and a good balance is placed on enticing all the readers' senses. Relevant focus is placed on the strength of the sibling bond and will make you treasure the ones you do have.

Stephanie Chapman

Lucille Skelton’s Open Secrets is a story of forgiveness and second chances. At a high school party, Verna spilled her drink on Dottie. Dottie became angry and announced that Verna was easy. The gossip that Verna was intimate with Marcus spread across the island, causing Verna to decide to leave the island. Therefore, when she visited her family, she didn’t stay very long and remained low-profile. After ten years, her brother Ryan convinces Verna to help him plan his wedding. Verna agrees, and her supervisor at G & W requests Verna present an investment program to a collaboration between the local university and the Sustainable Land Use Association (SLUA). Meanwhile, Marcus has become a professional landscaper. However, Marcus still feels guilty about what happened to Verna. He wants to find her and apologize for his actions. When Mr. McCord, an influential investor, asks Marcus to attend the SLUA meeting. Marcus agrees. His surprise turns to joy when he discovers the presentation is being given by Verna. Can Verna forgive the man who broke her heart?

Lucille Skelton set the stage for conflict by giving the perspectives of several characters beyond just Verna and Marcus. The transitions from one view to another were seamless. It integrated a focus on environmental preservation without overwhelming the plot. By using a confidential job offer filled with clues, Marcus’s fortune hunt adds intrigue. The vivid detail in the setting was impressive. I could smell the roses and envision the garden maze of hedges. The dialog added a relatable feeling of being present in the conversation. Adversaries appearing from Verna’s past added suspense. It featured a theme of overcoming trauma and resilience throughout the entire storyline. I recommend Open Secrets to readers who enjoy romance novels with unpredictable outcomes.