Book review and cover for The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

March has arrived with the daffodils, some gorgeous days interspersed with storms. With the rain and wind outside, I have been enjoying snuggling in the warm reading. I am pleased to share my review for The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl. When I am out I love seeing old doors, the quirkier or unusual the better and always wonder about the secrets that lie behind them. The image on this cover with the protagonist standing in the entrance of green weather beaten door caught my imagination making me want to follow her so I was thrilled to be offered a place on this tour with Rachel Random Resources.

Book Review: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

cover from fb

Title: The Forgotten Secret

Author: Kathleen McGurl

Genre: Women’s Fiction, historical

Publisher: HQ Digital

Release date: 1st March 2019

Purchase Links

UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-ebook/dp/B07H2PMPR3

US  – https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-ebook/dp/B07H2PMPR3  

Blurb

A country at war

It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

And a long-buried secret

A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.

For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.

My Thoughts

I do not know much about Irish history, the formation of Northern Ireland and its complex relationship with Britain except from the odd bits I have picked up from the news and books. In the present day political climate it has never been more important to learn and I’m grateful for the insight this book gave me into the War of Independence and beyond. I appreciated the summary of events at the beginning which helped in the understanding Ellen’s story.

The Forgotten Secret has a dual timeline. One story is set in 1996 with Clare finding her feet as she claims her independence from her overbearing husband after she inherits a tumbling down cottage in Ireland. The other follows Ellen as she gets a job as a maid in 1919.  Clashes between the Irish volunteers and the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) turn her life turned upside down. Loyalties between family and friends are stretched to the limits. Reading about the past events and people’s lives in Ireland was shocking and left me reeling.  It started many conversations which is always a good by-product of a well researched novel.

Both characters intrigued me; they were both stronger than they thought they could be and working towards independence but it was Ellen and the increased tension building in her life which drove the novel forward. From the beginning, I needed to know what happened to her and her childhood sweetheart. Kathleen McGurl captured the fear of the time with her words. It was only as Clare’s story unfolded and the farmhouse revealed the keys to the mystery in her family I formed a solid connection to her. By the end, I was hooked on both timelines.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is an emotional, thought-provoking read with strong women finding their own way. The blend of history, love and mystery makes it a good book for reading under the duvet or in the garden enjoying the sun. I have never read any of the author’s book before so I am delighted to add some more books to my TBR.

Author Biography

 

Kathleen McGurl author of The Forgotten Secret

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

Social Media Links –

Website:  https://kathleenmcgurl.com/

Twitter: @KathMcGurl  https://twitter.com/KathMcGurl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathleenMcGurl/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathleenmcgurl/

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and Kathleen McGurl and HQ Digital for giving me to read an advanced copy so I could give an unbiased, honest review.

Have you read any books based in Ireland about the Troubles? Let me know in the comments below as I would love to know more about this subject.

Happy reading!

Love

Katie signature pink

 

P.S If you would like to know more about the book and author, why not pop over to the other blogs on the tour. Info given below.

The Forgotten Secret Full Tour Banner

Blog Tour: Book review for The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer

It is the start of a new week and there are rumours the weather is turning bitterly cold so I am pleased to bring you a review for Jenni Keer’s debut The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker. You may be tempted to stay under the duvet, in the warm with a cup of tea and read.

Book Review: The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker

the hopes and dreams final cover

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker Book Cover

Title: The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker

Author: Jenni Keer

Publisher: Avon Books UK

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 10th January 2019

Blurb

Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours and unlikely friends.

Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.

79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.

Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker will be the most charming, heart-warming and feel-good novel you will read this year, perfect for fans of Ruth Hogan and Gail Honeyman.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hopes-Dreams-Lucy-Baker-heart-warming-ebook/dp/B07DQ7HKPX/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Hopes-Dreams-Lucy-Baker-heart-warming-ebook/dp/B07DQ7HKPX/

My Thoughts

When Brenda with her purple hair, mystical air and cheeky side arrived in the first few pages I knew I would love this book. The warm, honest writing style drew me into Lucy’s life and kept me there until the last page.

This charming, quirky story is driven by the characters Jenni Keer has created; I loved them all from the main ones Lucy, Brenda and George to the men in the warehouse where Lucy works and Scratcat the stray. They all have distinct personalities and feel real. Where I could relate to Lucy with her tendency to prefer romantic books and knitting to experiencing life or rock the boat by saying “no”, it was Brenda who captured my heart. She is who I would like to be when I am older; full of life, humour and kindness with a penchant for magic. I did not want the book to end because I did not want to leave her behind. Maybe a prequel of her youth is needed, I am sure she will have an interesting tale to tell. Her battle with dementia is heartbreaking but the topic is dealt with sympathetically and gives an insight into the pressures of caring and the challenges it creates. The love and deep friendship between Lucy and Brenda shines and proves age does not matter when you are friends.

The introduction of Scratcat, George and the locket created many memorable moments and I will never forget the knitted Poldarks which also feature in this tale of friendship, love and personal growth. I enjoyed Lucy’s journey as she tackles the insecurities at work, her colleagues and potential relationships. This debut has got under my skin and I am still thinking about the characters a couple of weeks since I read The End.

I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

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Knitted Poldark one of the stars of the book

Would I recommend?

This beautiful story is perfect for snuggling down under the duvet with a cup of tea or on the beach in the summer. The humour and strong characterisation means I will revisiting this book in the future and needs to be on my forever shelf.

Author Biography

the hopes and dreams jk mono 2

Author Jenni Keer

Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.
Social Media Links

FaceBook Jenni Keer Writer

Twitter @JenniKeer

Instagram jennikeer

Website – https://jennikeer.co.uk/

Competition

I am pleased to share with you the chance to win a bundle of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker goodies (UK only – sorry)*. The prize contains – Thornton’s fudge, a Nu notebook, a Hopes and Dreams bookmark and a set of five “Scratbag” blank greetings cards designed by Jenni Keer.

the hopes and dreams giveaway prize

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker prizes

Enter here

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for inviting me on this blog tour and the opportunity to read this book early. This my honest, unbiased review.

Happy reading!

Love

the hopes and dreams of lucy baker full tour banner

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.