The Secret Hours

Narrated by: Genevieve Swallow
Length: 16 hrs and 47 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Arethusa Clayton has always been formidable, used to getting her own way.   

On her death, she leaves unexpected instructions. Instead of being buried in America, on the wealthy East Coast where she and her late husband raised their two children, Arethusa has decreed that her ashes be scattered in a remote corner of Ireland, on the hills overlooking the sea. 

All Arethusa ever told Faye was that she grew up in a poor farming family and left Ireland, alone, to start a new life in America, as did so many in those times of hardship and famine. But who were her family in Ireland and where are they now? What was the real reason that she turned away from them? And who is the mysterious benefactor of a significant share of Arethusa’s estate? 

Arethusa is gone. There is no one left to tell her story.  

Faye feels bereft, as if her mother’s whole family has died with her. Leaving her own husband and children behind, she travels to the picturesque village of Ballinakelly, determined to fulfil her mother’s last wish and to find out the reason for Arethusa’s insistence on being laid to rest in this faraway land.  

©2019 Santa Montefiore (P)2019 W. F. Howes Ltd

What listeners say about The Secret Hours

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Stunning - both author and narrator

Once again Santa Montefiore has given us a beautifully written story set in both Ireland and the USA. Her descriptions take you right to the beautiful places she describes with characters so relateable you feel you know them personally. I loved her previous stories about this castle and family, and once again she hasn't disappointed. I have listened to all her stories, and also to all those narrated by the wonderful Genevieve Swallow, and in fact often listen to them more than once. Highly recommended.

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must read

Higjly recommend it Loved it! I hope there is a further saga of the Deverills

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  • Mrs J P Bowring
  • 02-20-20

Don’t waste your life

Despite my initial reaction to this book I thought I should listen to the bitter end before I wrote a review. I had a 1200mile journey in which to while away the hours, but there were many occasions when the noise of wheels rumbling along the tarmac were a welcome relief to listening to this banal, repetitive drivel. Was there any editing? I can’t believe there was otherwise the story would have been a third of the present length and that’s just removing the repetitions. Saying the same thing up to seven times in slightly different ways does not make the sentiment stronger. This author has obviously never heard of the power of a few well chosen words. Then there was the almost comical descriptions- using a blancmange and galleon in the same sentence to describe a greenhouse was breathtaking. Maybe the whole book was a spoof in which I failed to see the humour. Finally the inaccuracies were irritating - a wind blowing towards the east is not an east wind , the card game of bridge was not invented until a good 20-30 years after the period in which it was used in this novel. The narrator did as good a job as she could with this novel, I sympathise with her having to try a breath life into it. If I could give no stars to the story rating I would.

68 people found this helpful

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  • Marion
  • 03-16-20

Tedious

I kept going with this book because I hoped it would be a family saga. It turned out to be a load of romantic slush. The accents were dreadful I gather the reader was American. This is not how Irish or English people speak and was really tedious. This long book could have been condensed into a few chapters. I don’t normally write a bad review but felt that this was too boring to not comment

17 people found this helpful

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  • barbara
  • 08-01-19

Brilliant

Thank you Santa Montefiore for writing such a wonderful story, which I loved, and Genevieve Swallow for reading it so beautifully. I found the ending so emotional and was happy that everything turned out so well. Do listen and I am sure that you will enjoy it too.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Nancy C.
  • 07-25-19

Superb!

This is a lovely "stand alone" story, however on realising it is about one of the Deverill family from Castle Deverill in Ireland, it is amazing. The three books: Songs of Love and War + Daughters of Castle Deverill + The Last Secret of the Deverills The story takes place forty years later in1961 giving an insite into the later lives of some of the Deverill family members, staff and villagers. The storyline also takes the listener to a period before the Songs of Love and War book. An excellent story and lovely bonus for listeners of the three previous Deverill Castle books.

8 people found this helpful

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  • S J Hunter
  • 09-21-19

What a wonderful book....

Yet another wonderful book from Santa Montefiore read brilliantly by Genevieve Swallow. Could stand alone as a beautiful story but the fact that it includes characters from the Deverills series makes it even more special. This story goes back before the first Deverills book and introduces us to the life story of the younger sister of Bertie, Lord Deverill , who had run away to America when she was 18. A beautiful tale with the usual interesting characters that feature in Santa’s books so vividly. So lovely too to find out about the later years of Kitty, Bertie, Maud , JP and all..... very cleverly interwoven. The story starts in 1961 and takes the reader back in time to the 1890’s. I completely loved it and didn’t want it to end.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Paris
  • 03-09-20

Entertaining

This was entertaining and the overall storyline was quite good. However, it was a slow starter and the middle part quite wearing. It took me a while to latch on to the characters names, I found it a bit confusing. I enjoyed the last three hours the most. It passed the time, but probably not as good as other books by this author.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Loraine
  • 01-18-20

One of the best reads ever

Utterly brilliant, captured my imagination and I loved every second. Reduced me to tears and I will miss it very much. Congratulations to all concerned.

3 people found this helpful

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  • pamopal
  • 08-03-19

Wonderful.

Another of my favorite author's books that kept me reading long into the night. Beautifully read.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Paula
  • 07-22-19

totally enthralled

well written and beautifully narrated, I loved this book. lt was like a modern mills and boon but so much better.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Abbey
  • 07-27-19

A lovely summer's read

I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Secret Hours'. A little predictable, but nevertheless most enjoyable and very we'll narrated.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. Garvey
  • 09-14-20

fantastic story and performance

I really enjoyed this story line and the performance of the readers was also very good and involved you in the story.

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  • JILL GOFF
  • 11-02-19

Brilliant story and narration.

I Thoroughly enjoyed this intriguing story of family, loss and love. Beautifully written and read.