Members of her family have made plans to holiday away from the family motel in the Clare Valley, South Australia, but 84 year old Lola Quinlan decides to spend a quiet Christmas at the motel alone. At least that is what she tells the family. Lola practices her newly acquired computer skills to advertise a special holiday package at the motel. Eight people reply to the ad and part of the book looks at the lives of these people. The rest of the book revolves around Lola's relationships with her family and friends, especially her two grand-daughters Bett and Cassie and their young families.
Lola's secret is a sequel to The Alphabet Sisters first published in 2004. The Alphabet Sisters are Anna, Bett and Carrie Quinlan who, when very young, form a singing group managed by their grandmother, Lola Quinlan. When the girls have a an argument resulting in them not talking to each other for three years their grandmother insists that they all come home to help her celebrate her eightieth birthday. What she does not tell them is her plan to bring the girls together again.
In both books Monica McInerney presents a study of often complex family relationships involving sadness as well as joyous times with Lola Quinlan as the catalyst or motivator for family and community events.