Saturday, 16 March 2019

The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl - Blog Tour & Book Review

Today, I am thrilled to be a part of Kathleen McGurl's Blog Tour for her new book The Forgotten Secret, thanks to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources ... see my thoughts below .....

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.
Purchase Links

The Forgotten Secret is a dual time narrative one hundred years apart and begins in 2016 when we meet Clare in England who has just inherited an old farmhouse in Ireland.  Her husband is a selfish, controlling, manipulative man who has eaten away at her self-esteem over their twenty year marriage and I was cheering her on when she decided to leave him and start a whole new life in Ireland.

In 1919, just as the War of Independence in Ireland was escalating, 18 year old Ellen is also beginning a new life, she's starting a new job as upstairs maid at Carlton House and is in love with Jimmy who's joined the Cause as a volunteer fighting for Ireland's future.  As she looks to a future full of children, Jimmy has his own dreams of a future for a free Ireland.

I must confess that I knew very little about this time in Ireland's history, I grew up in fear of the IRA's bombing spree in England in the 1970's and 80's and didn't particularly want to know then about their cause, or indeed understand it.  But after finishing this I can now understand some of their reasons and beliefs.

Author Kathleen McGurl very cleverly tells us the story from the other side and is very careful not to manipulate the reader as we are shown, in 1919, how the people went undercover, helping the volunteers and what they believed in and how they were prepared to die for their cause.  

Overall, it is also a story of two women who seemed very different at the start but whose lives were both changed by circumstances which made them grow in independence. 

The Forgotten Secret has treachery, secrets and betrayal but also love, compassion and friendship.

With main characters that I cared about, the story is well-paced, painting a picture of Irish life that kept my attention throughout, and I learnt a good deal about their history.

Meet the Author

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 –
Twitter: @KathMcGurl

Check out the other bloggers on the blog tour for more reviews and interesting content

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