Let me introduce…

 

Let me introduce a few characters in my book, Love Secrets Lies.

 

First there’s Teresa, the protagonist. The story spans five years of her life. When it begins, in 1975, she’s twelve, and her storybook life has just been upended by a revolution that forces her to move to a country and a city where she feels like a foreigner.

 

Her grandparents worry too much about her, keep her under strict supervision and allowing her little freedom of movement. Her African-born grandfather is still reeling from the shock of losing his business, his properties, the beloved family home. Her grandmother, who may secretly pine for the birds and roses she left behind, is a loving, but austere woman who follows a strict moral code. They share a very narrow concept of what teenagers can or cannot do.

 

Neither Granny nor her husband trust this benighted Mediterranean country they’ve fled to, so they will do anything to protect Teresa from the dangers in their minds, often making her feel like a prisoner in her own home.

 

Teresa’s mother is more like an older sister; divorced from her father, she focuses almost entirely on her career, traveling back and forth between England and the North of Portugal. Having left a temperamental, domineering husband, she now enjoys life and freedom away from the scrutiny of her ever-vigilant parents. She desperately tries to find happiness in love again, but her memories rankle, and hold her back.

 

A few boys cross Teresa’s path. She dreams of a prince charming who will become the love of her life. But this is not an easy quest. From basketball player Fernando, the boyfriend who never was, to handsome, tall and green-eyed, near-perfect Paulo, who in the end is as human as everybody else – to name but two. Not forgetting her guy friends: the “band of reprobates” who help her light a bonfire in the school backyard.

 

She has a bunch of girlfriends, too. Friends like Isabel, the young lady with deep sadness inside her, who hates the revolution even more than Teresa does, because it took the person she loved the most and squeezed the life out of him. The poor little rich girl whom happiness eludes at every turn, and finds solace only in her beloved horse, Achilles.

 

A few others jog Teresa out of her privileged outlook on life. There’s Tina, the Douro Valley country girl Teresa meets during a wine harvest in Douro. She’s out of school and resigned to following in her parents’ footsteps, as generations before Tina have done. The confrontation makes Teresa realize the future she envisions for herself isn’t open to everyone.

There’s São, a carefree Madeiran, whose life takes a sharp turn when she decides to join a convent, seemingly out of the blue — to the shock, horror and wonderment of those around her.

 

All these people shape Teresa’s life.

 

You will get to meet these characters and so many more in Love Secrets Lies, the story of a girl who wanted to enjoy life on her own terms and have some fun in the process.

 

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