Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Monday, 21 October 2013

Sophie King - Second Time Lucky - Guest post & Writing competition

Today I am pleased to share an author guest blog post by writer Sophie King, plus news of a romantic fiction short story writing competition!

Guest blog post by Sophie King

AM I THE ONLY ONE to have secrets from my children? I do hope not.....

The other day, my newish husband (who knew me as a friend for thirty years before we married), let slip that I had smoked during my university days.

The effect on my three children was electrifying.

'But you've always told us not to,' spluttered my youngest.

'You said you'd be furious if we tried it,' said the middle one, her eyes narrowing with suspicion at me.

'Why didn't you tell us?' demanded the eldest.

All three nodded vigorously. 'Why didn't you tell us?', they chorused with crestfallen faces.

In vain, did I try to explain that I only smoked for six months and that I haven't had so much of a whiff since (apart from sniffing my eldest son's jacket when he's been out for the evening).

No. It was the fact that I had omitted to tell them that I had done something which I've spent years advising them not to.

Their faith in me had been dented and I felt gutted...

Then I got thinking. How much should we tell our children about our previous lives? Isn't it, after all, our own affair? Not long after the smoking bust-up, I read a problem page letter (don't you just love them?) in which the writer, a grandmother, was deeply distressed because her ten year old grandson had found some revealing pictures of her from her teenage years, hidden in an old shoebox at the back of her wardrobe.

'He'll never see me in the same light again,' she'd wailed. I could almost hear her pain through the page. 'What should I do?'

It was one of those problem pages where readers are invited to write in with their solutions for the next issue so I don't know what was suggested. But I nearly wrote in myself to point out that actually it wasn't the grandson's business. If his gran had had a bit of a wild life in the past, good on her. In fact, if she hadn't, maybe the grandson wouldn't be there now...

Personally, I think we're entitled to some secrets, no matter how old we are. I wouldn't dream of checking anyone's text messages in our family. That, in my book, is as bad as reading your daughter's diary - something that my own mother did when I was 17. As a result, she insisted that I broke up with my then boyfriend. I was made to feel shameful, even though I was, by today's standards, extremely conventional.

Still, it's all good material for my novels. In fact, secrets play a big part in SECOND TIME LUCKY. And no - I can't reveal what they are or they wouldn't be secrets!

What's the biggest secret you've hidden from your children and why? Write to me at and you could win a prize. Look forward to hearing from you!

Look out for more AM I THE ONLY ONE posts on my blog at

About the novel

Second Time Lucky by Sophie King

Second Time Lucky: Another engaging tale of love and life from Sophie King, the bestselling author of The School Run. Meet the residents of Bridgewater House, once a grand stately home, but now converted into apartments which house a host of colourful characters, each with their own desires and secrets.

Louise thought she had everything, then suddenly finds herself as a single mum with an uncertain future. Can she build a new life for her and her children? And has real happiness been right under her nose all along?

Roddy was once the heir to Bridgewater House, but now he's a drunken lord who's fallen on hard times. Can he prove to his ex-wife that he has cleaned up his act, or is he about to risk everything in a desperate scheme to show how much he loves his kids?

Molly is a famous actress, coming to terms with retirement and the recent death of her actor husband Gideon. But dare she tell anyone that Gideon still comes to visit her? And how will she react to some unexpected messages from beyond the grave?

American Marcie always fantasised about marrying an English gentleman, just like one of her Jane Austen heroines. But will two resentful stepchildren, and failed attempts to have a baby of her own, get in the way of her dream happy ending? And what would her husband David make of her secret shame from the past?

As each of these neighbours faces their own challenges, their lives are about to become entwined in ways they never could have expected.

Second Time Lucky – doesn't everyone deserve a second chance? 

Romantic fiction short story competition! 

The Sophie King Prize

This romantic fiction short story competition aims to discover a great new romance short story. The winning story will be chosen by best-selling novelist and short story writer Sophie King.

The competition is free to enter, and is open to both published and unpublished writers worldwide. The winning story will be recorded by a professional actor, and broadcast from a dedicated online audio player. The winner will also receive a pair of Silver-Plated Life Long Champagne Chalices and £50 (approx $79) gift voucher courtesy of One runner up will receive a £25 (approx $39) gift Handpicked Collection voucher.

The Sophie King Prize is now open for entries. Entrants must submit a short story of between 1,500 to 2,500 words with a romantic theme. The submissions deadline is January 10th 2014 and the winner will be announced on February 14th 2014. To enter, go to:


  1. This book looks great, I will have to give it a read. Interesting guest blog too, I will spread the word about the writing competition too.

  2. Entertaining guest post. We plan to buy our sister-in-law a copy of this for Christmas as she is a big fan of Sophie's books. As for the Sophie King prize I'll be happy to share the details via this post.

  3. I love the questions she poses...I think the same can be asked of how much we should share our pasts with our spouses too...and how much is just TMI.


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