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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
After their parents’ deaths, siblings Elizabeth and Francis are invited to a seaside holiday at Aycliffe. Long-time friends of their late mother have asked them. Elizabeth in particular was intrigued by the invite as she knew her mother had corresponded regularly with these friends. Only, she didn’t know why and there was no trace of the correspondence in her mother’s effects. Although Francis, her over-protective brother, was uneasy by the sudden invite, neither sibling was expecting what they discovered. The seaside holiday was an unraveling of shocking family secrets and a community full of deceitful vices. They will soon discover why their father despised the mention of Aycliffe and forbade anyone in the family from visiting the place.
Vicki Hopkins’s novel, The Seaside Affair (Venturous Hearts Series Book 1), is a compelling story of unexpected and complex, hidden secrets. With a touch of romance, mystery, and intrigue, coupled with considerable family drama, the plot develops gradually as the siblings are introduced to the permanent residents of Aycliffe. They’re not sure what to make of many of the characters, whose vices and strange behaviors baffle and complicate the unfolding plot. The characters are well developed. There is some descriptive narrative, but most of the story is carried along through dialogue. The story has the detailed characteristics of the mid-1800s, from the costumes to the multiple layers of the English class system of the time and the position and value of a woman in this society. The Seaside Affair by Vicki Hopkins makes for an interesting read.