Can she unlock the mysteries of the past?
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.
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.
I am a sucker for a great cover and it was that along with the tag line ‘For fans of Kate Morton’ that drew me towards this book and I am so glad it did. The cover also had the same feel to it as Laura Madeleine’s brilliant book The Secrets Between Us and Nikola Scott’s My Mother’s Shadow. Both outstanding novels by authors in the same stratosphere as Kate Morton and now Kathleen McGurl will be another worthy author to add to that list.
If you have never read either of those books and you enjoy this one I highly recommended adding all three to you TBR lists, just be prepared to lose a lot of sleep! I have now lost another night of beauty sleep to this little beauty of a book, I literally read it in one sitting right through the night.
Set in Ireland switching between Clare in 2016 and Ellen in the 1920’s it is two women’s stories of love, loss, hope and courage in two very different ways and two very different times yet converging to an ending that would make a grown man weep!
Ellen’s story by far and away is the star of the show for me, her character dances off the pages and is instantly relatable, we have remember what it is to be young and in love for the first time, and that is how we first meet her, meeting up with her childhood sweetheart after his return from boarding school.
The history of Ireland is also brought to life through Ellen’s story, a lot of which I hadn’t known and was presented in a non glorified interesting way that shows both sides of the ‘Troubles’ in Ireland at that time.
Clare’s story at times had me shaking my head in disbelieve and others chuckling to myself but didn’t grab me quite as fully, but I was still rooting for her and her new-found independence. Her husband makes my ex husband seem like a prince and that’s saying something 😂 And I dare you to read the word ‘eejit’ without doing it in the voice of Agnes Brown! (Mrs Brown’s Boys) Her voice kept creeping in through some of the dialogue! Sorry if I have now put that voice inside your head too as you read this book!!
A clever page turner of a book that will whisk you away to Ireland and leave a part of your heart back there with it.
The Forgotten Secret: A heartbreaking and gripping historical novel for fans of Kate Morton will be published in the UK on 01 March 2019 and can be pre ordered now from Amazon UK
A big thank you to the author Kathleen McGurl, publishers HQ Digital and NetGalley for my digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest and independent review.