The title of the story is a bit of a giveaway. Ursula has a secret. But Ursula, her mother’s guardian is dead, so Lexy, who is having to deal with her mother’s recent death at the hands of a hit and run driver, has to deal with twoÂ unexpected inheritances in a matter of days.
As anyone who has lost a parent knows, this is aÂ disconcertingÂ period, and to make things worse, Lexy has just split up with her boyfriend Â Danny, but discovering that you have a family in Malawi that you knew nothing about is even more unsettling.
Notwithstanding, the author, Mairi Wilson, tackles this subject with a touch more angst than is really necessary. I felt as though every character, not just Lexy, completely overreacts, slams down phones, slams doors, goes off in the huff and refuses to talkÂ just a bit too often. When we finally think we are going to get the story from Evie, who is very ill and needs ‘an operation’, she calls Lexy to visit her on several occasions, but always gets too tired just as she is about to get to the point.
The book is also lengthened by being written partly in the past and partly in the present. Members of the cast meet on the journey out to Malawi (each going for different reasons) and form a bond that creates loyalties â€“ and secrets â€“ that last a lifetime. Throughout the bookÂ LexyÂ wails, Why did no-one tell me? and the fact that she continues, even when she hasÂ discoveredÂ anÂ answer that would satisfy most people, tells us there must beÂ more.
There is a lot more and the plot is very cleverly put together, providing not just the emotional journey to discover members of her family, some well-meaning, some selfish and evil, and to try to do the right thing by the people who loved her, but also a mystery story and a miscarriage of justiceÂ that Lexy has the power to make good.
Ursula’s Secret by Mairi Wilson, is published by Black & White Publishing and is also available as a Kindle eBook