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Secrets We Keep by Valeriya Goffe is a Book Series Starter Event pick #womensfiction #newrelease #mustread #giveaway

Title: Secrets We Keep


Author: Valeriya Goffe


Genre: Women’s Fiction


Book Blurb:


A rising star that fell...


Anna Levenko was set to become the next "it girl" in tennis. The first Ukrainian prophesied to win a Grand Slam… And then everything changed. Years later, with a business degree behind her, an unpaid job keeping her busy, and a family that means well, Anna can't help but dream of something bigger. What's one little white lie in the grand scheme of things?


But her dream job isn't just sunshine and roses. Her first project takes her to Tanzania, and everything that could go wrong, does. Not to mention her woeful love life. Will she ever reach the life she's worked so hard for? Or is success just not in the cards for Anna?




It was now about ten minutes before departure, and other tourists started getting onto the boat. In the end, there were about fifteen passengers—a few couples, some single travelers and one family with two kids. That was reassuring. At least other people were willing to try this boat and some even brought their kids.


Finally, the trip began, and Anna got a bit distracted by the spectacular landscape. The Indian Ocean was gorgeous, with its bright and clear turquoise waters, and they were  passing a lot of different, interesting vessels. Some of them were ordinary boats and yachts which Anna was used to seeing in the States, but others had triangular lateen sails and sharp bows. These boats were both big and small, and some were tiny with just one fisherman sitting in them.


“These are called dhow boats,” Jean said, pointing at a few of the traditional vessels sailing by. “It is a typical East African boat. In the past, merchants were traveling in such boats all the way to and from India carrying all kinds of heavy items—fruit, water, different merchandise—”


“I love these,” she interrupted with excitement. “They are so beautiful and romantic. They look like the vessels from fairy tales.”


By now, Anna was no longer scared; she even got up and walked around the boat, enjoying the scenery around her. The boat was moving at a good speed and would be reaching the destination in no time.


Anna tried not to look at Jean but eventually she could not help taking a peek at him sitting on the bench, totally in his element, relaxed with his blond hair flowing in the wind. He took his T-shirt off, and Anna was able to see he had a deep tan and was muscular—maybe a couple of inches shorter than David and also thinner.


How would David carry himself in Tanzania? Anna laughed at the mere thought of having David on this boat. Of course, he would never set his foot on it and never in a million years allow Anna to take it. David would also never be saying “jambo” and embracing the captain. It was hilarious even to imagine that.


In fact, Anna could not even tell David she went on this day trip. David belonged in his glass house in D.C. and at holiday destinations like Jekyll Island, Miami, Nice, Venice, and the like. Well, David does not need to know anything about today. No point in worrying him unnecessarily. It is just one trip.


The boat finally got to Bongoyo island and everyone was safely transported to the shore. Anna and Jean settled in the shade under a nice umbrella. It was now time to go explore the island.


“I bought two snorkeling masks at the hotel shop last night,” said Jean, handing one of them to Anna. “I figured these will be very handy. You can spot a lot of coral and many colorful fish in the water. Let’s go!” And with that, Jean dove right in with a big splash.


Anna smiled and followed Jean with a lingering gaze. She spent a minute standing in the warm water, listening to the subtle sound of waves gently touching the shore, just savoring the moment. Up till today, she had only been to the Black Sea, which was quite lovely, but certainly not nearly as striking as the Indian Ocean in front of her. Hands down, this was the most impressive body of water she had ever seen.


So this is what paradise looks like—golden sand, robin’s egg blue sky, and shiny turquoise water? Anna put on her snorkeling mask and submerged into the crystal-clear ocean which quickly enveloped her like a soft warm blanket. She immediately spotted a school of colorful fish passing by, as well as coral of all shapes and sizes. A bunch of starfish also quickly caught her eye.


They looked like lovely red flowers growing on the bottom of the ocean.


“Can the starfish move, or do they just stay in the same place?” Anna asked Jean, who was snorkeling nearby.


“Oh, these guys move quite fast, when they want to,” Jean explained. “They have tiny little feet on each of their arms… Once I saw a starfish laying next to one of these beach umbrellas. I was wondering if I should take it into the water, but it crawled there by itself in no time.”


Jean later took Anna on a walk around the island, which had quite a few interesting birds and lizards. Then they had a seafood lunch in the island’s café. The fresh seafood was simply exquisite—huge shrimp, juicy lobsters, and kingfish, grilled to perfection and nicely arranged all together on a big platter. Jean took a few selfies of them sitting at the wooden benches, smiling widely, and chomping at the delicious food.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):



What makes your featured book a must-read?


If you like to travel, this book is definitely for you. “Secrets We Keep” will take you on a tour of my favorite spots on Earth. You’ll visit the historical city of Kyiv (my hometown) which is a delightful place full of architectural masterpieces and wonderful, warm people. They believe in liberty and peace and look towards the West. You will also travel to Tanzania and explore Dar es Salaam, its commercial capital, and Zanzibar, an enchanted island in the Indian Ocean. I visited Tanzania many times for work and it impressed me so much that I had to write a novel inspired by it. Well, not just one novel- a whole trilogy! Zanzibar is a true paradise. Imagine swaying palm trees, golden sand, robin’s egg blue sky, shiny turquoise water... And watching the sunset there is completely out of this world! As my heroine discovers, it’s impossible not to fall in love when seeing such a gorgeous sight.  


Giveaway –


Enter to win a $40 Amazon gift card:



Open Internationally.

Runs January 9 – January 21, 2024.

Winner will be drawn on January 22, 2024.


Author Biography:


Valeriya Goffe was born and raised in Ukraine and spent most of her adult life in the USA. She works for a large international organization leading developmental projects in various countries. During her career, she has traveled extensively in Africa, Middle East, Europe, and Asia. She holds a PhD degree in finance from the Kyiv National University of Economics in Ukraine and an MBA degree from Kogod School of Business, American University in Washington DC. She is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder. Valeriya is trilingual in English, Russian, Ukrainian and also speaks French and Spanish.


Social Media Links:


Twitter: @GoffeValeria

Instagram: valgoffe_author

Pinterest: valeriyagoffe


Jan 15

i like both but prefer standalones.


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Jan 10

Thank you, Valeriya, for sharing your book in our Book Series Starter Bookish Event!

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