The Colour of Secrets by Vanessa Wiggins – Book Review

The Colour of Secrets by Vanessa Wiggins – Book Review

The Colour of Secrets by Vanessa Wiggins

The Colour of Secrets

Author – Vanessa Wiggins
Publisher – Createspace
Pages – 518
Released – 12th July 2017
ISBN-13 – 978-1548848934
Format – ebook, paperback
Reviewer – Linda
Rating – 5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book


Growing up in an English shires village in the late 1950s, Robbie Bradbury and his friends enjoy a carefree childhood. One summer, into their midst comes a wild and burdened child from London, who touches all their lives and yet remains an enigma.

Against the quiet order of their rural upbringing, the six friends slowly uncover the complexities and tragedies that underlie the seemingly calm and ordered world they inhabit. Fifteen years later, as adults, two of the friends meet by chance and set out to track down their strange childhood playmate.

Review 2017

I absolutely loved reading “The Colour of Secrets” by Vanessa Wiggins. The innocence of children growing up in the 1950’s in an idyllic village just connected with me as I was a child at that time and it brought back lovely memories, but also how some things have changed dramatically whereas people basically are the same.

Vanessa Wiggins has done a brilliant job of drawing us in to the daily lives of the six friends living in Moreton Steyning. Their backgrounds slightly different but united as friends.

As a historical fiction the Ms. Wiggins has set it in the right timeline, and the settings are true to form. The story relates the adventures of six friends who are 8 years old, how they make their own fun and games, playing out all day in the safe environment of their village, where generations of there families had done before.

The summer of 1957 a lad from London stays in the village for the summer holidays and the adventures and friendships change. The boy, John, is described as ” furtive and unnaturally alert “.

A well written story with beautiful language and turn of phases. A paragraph near the beginning sets the tone. “The ticket collectors aggravated expression as he struggled to disentangled his fingers from the well worked chewing gum that enveloped John’s ticket”.

The author also touches on a difference in working class and upper class, when Robbie’s dad, a gardener at the Big House, felt out of his depth mixing in with the owners.

The book had great descriptions of all the characters, which really made them come to life. A very easy read with a natural flow, a real page turner.

The book is set in two parts with part one being the children from 8 to 11 years old. Part two picks up 14 years later and we find out how the children turn out in adulthood, with some real surprises.

I would definitely recommend this lovely book and would be happy to read other books from this author.

Reviewed by Linda

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About the Author

Vanessa Wiggins

‘The Colour of Secrets’ is my first novel. It’s not the novel I thought I’d write; it’s probably not even the novel I should have written. But it’s the best sort of novel – the one that did actually get written. And the one that, I’m delighted to say, is now published.

I grew up in west London, in John Betjeman’s ‘Metroland’ of mock Tudor houses and tree-lined streets – largely unrecognisable as such now – but I’d always loved the countryside that we visited on Sunday afternoon trips. And it’s where I live now, in a small north Buckinghamshire village. It was only a few years ago that I learned that near here is where generations of my family came from, only leaving for London during the nineteenth century rural exodus, when farm work was in short supply. A curious kind of full circle.

The Vale of Aylesbury and its hill villages is also the location for ‘The Colour of Secrets’, set during the years of my earliest memories of it; a nostalgic and bitter-sweet recollection of a world that’s now disappeared. None of the people in my novel are real, and neither are any of the situations, although it began as a short writing exercise based on my father’s stories that he, as a young lad from working class Alperton, was often sent to stay in Quainton during the summer holidays. He never knew why, although fortunately lived long enough for me to discover our family link and tell him.

So, on to the next story … I’m researching, and beginning to write again.

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