An Echo of Scandal by Laura Madeleine

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In the dead of night, with blood on her hands, she made her escape.

Accused of murder, Alejandra flees her home, escaping to the southern edge of Spain, where she faces a life of poverty and destitution.

Seduced by the power of the rich and the anonymity that waits across the water in Tangier, Ale makes a bid for a new start. But it will come at a cost: a life of deception. Because Ale’s new friends want to know what she is running from, they want to know who she is and whether they can trust her.

Fifty years later, a young American writer wanders the streets of Tangier, searching for inspiration. When he stumbles across a trace of Ale’s life, he finds himself tangled in a story of scandal, love and danger that has not yet reached its end.

My Review

Historical fiction at its very best. As the heat shimmers off the pages, travel back in time to a mystery as exotic as its location.

Set in two different times, told by two very different points of view, it takes us down two different paths, paths that ultimately end up crossing in ways that are both as unexpected as they are satisfactory.

Tangier, 1978 – Samuel Hackett, a down on his luck writer, living hand to mouth as he takes in the local culture whilst waiting for inspiration to strike. As luck would have it, fate steps in and hands him a real life mystery in the form of an old fashioned leather writing case. Needing money fast to pay his rent, his only option is to sell his prized possession, his Hermes typewriter, to his friend and shop owner, Abdelhamid, and it was this friend that sold him the writing case. From that case the only clues he has to go on are the initials A.L that are engraved on the case, a small silver key and a leather tag, both of which were tucked away inside the case and the 50 year old calendar also contained within. With some help from his local friends and a new associate, an English journalist, Ellis Norton, he starts to investigate who the case belonged to, and as he begins to uncover details it fires up his imagination, turning the case and the cases owner into a novel of his own.

1928 –  Alejandra Exposita, Ale for short, a young kitchen porter, apprentice chef lives and works at the Hosteria del Potro, doing everything in her power to blend into the background. The other women that work there are paid for more than just serving drinks, so being a young, female virgin is not something she wants the punters to notice. Although life mightn’t be ideal at least she has a roof over her head and food in her belly making her more fortunate than some. That is until one evening an incident occurs at the hotel leaving one of the male customers dead at the hands of the owners daughter. With the finger of blame pointed to her she has no choice but to disappear. Disguising herself as a man, a haircut and change of name, Alejandra is reborn as Alejandro del Potro. And after an encounter with a well healed English gentleman, Arthur Langham, Ale follows him across the boarder and manages to instal herself into his life with a surprising outcome.

As the story switches between Ale and Sam, they take us on their own personal journeys and as each situation plays out it becomes apparent that their stories are interwoven with some surprising turns of events, of which keep you in the dark right up until the very last pages. This is a clever, complex, multi layered historical mystery with characters that come to life off the pages, you can feel the heat simmering as you are transported all the way to Tangier and the unlocking of the mystery surrounding the 50 year old writing case.

This is a must read for fans of historical suspenses, historical romances, women’s fiction or fans of really great stories! So in essence, for everyone!

An Echo of Scandal will be published on 19 Sep 2019 and is available for pre-order now

A massive thank you to the author Laura Madeleine, publishers Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest and independent review.

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