Hot Gossip is the sequel to Hot Property. Susanne has done an outstanding job of enabling it to stand alone, with well-thought-out references to its prequel.
Also set in the beautiful Irish countryside, Hot Gossip features Janine Marchand, a rather enigmatic (and charismatic) young and beautiful Frenchwoman, with an intriguing and colourful past. She seeks to escape the more unsavoury aspects of that past in a small, quaint village in Ireland, backdropped by austere and stunning landscape. Her endeavours to stay incognito are not helped by two men in the village, who are captivated by her, and the daughter of one of them, twelve-year-old Nelia, whose impressionability and somewhat hasty immature actions lead to near tragedy.
The story weaves expertly back and forth from a heady time in Egypt, back to the sleepy Irish village, the times and events a sharp contrast to each other. As with Hot Property, it’s obvious the fondness O’Leary has for her adopted Ireland: she sells it better than any Lonely Planet guide!
Janine, Nelia, Jake (the significant other from her time in Egypt), and Mick (Nelia’s father) are all strong, know-their-own-minds characters. Makes for some delightful ‘fireworks’, and it’s wonderful to see Polish Beata and her big-bear husband, Boris, (from Hot Property) making a reappearance.
Wonderfully written, as always by this author, this is a ‘fine romance’.