Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Kathleen McGurl · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl (@KathMcGurl) @HQDigitalUK @HQstories @rararesources

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of Kathleen McGurl’s latest novel The Forgotten Secret with you today.

Thank you to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to HQ, Harper Collins for sending me an e-copy of the book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Scroll on for a taster of the book and to read my review.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

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 can’t believe I am only just reading Kathleen McGurl’s stories!! I am sure I say this every time I review a book by an author whose books I haven’t read before, but I can’t!

The Forgotten Secret has everything I love in a story: contemporary and historical fiction, a mystery, characters I can easily connect with, well researched, beautifully told.

The story is told as a dual time frame, set between 1919-1920 and the present day. In the historical thread, Kathleen McGurl pulls us into Ellen O’Brien’s life and the War of Irish Independence. I warmed to Ellen instantly and the love she has for her childhood sweetheart is beautiful. Ellen’s story was not easy to read at times and there were instances where I wanted to jump into the page to hug her.

In present day Ireland, we accompany Clare Farrell on her journey to independence from her broken marriage. Having inherited a run-down farmhouse from her uncle, she seizes the chance to leave her husband, Paul, and start a new life. Gosh, I hated Paul. Even after a week, he still hasn’t redeemed himself. Well done to Kathleen McGurl for a writing a character who provoked this emotion in me! I did however really like Clare and was championing her on to really make a new life for herself.

I do love it when a house throws up a mystery to be solved and the farmhouse in this story is no exception. I will say no more for the risk of spoiling the story so you will have to read The Forgotten Secret to find out more.

I love how Kathleen McGurl intertwines both women’s stories, answering questions raised in one era in the other, tying it all up nicely at the end.

I do love reading the acknowledgements at the end of a book. Often, the author will give us an insight into where the idea for the story came from. The seed for The Forgotten Secret was a small nugget of conversation which became this great story.

~ Where to find The Forgotten Secret ~

The Forgotten Secret was published as an eBook by HQ Digital, Harper Collins, in March 2019 and will be published in paperback in May 2019. It can be found at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ About 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.

~ Where to find Kathleen McGurl ~

You can find out more about Kathleen on her website https://kathleenmcgurl.com/ and connect with her on Twitter @KathMcGurl, on Facebook @KathleenMcGurl, and on Instagram @kathleenmcgurl.

~ Follow the tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other blogs on the tour!

Books · Recommended Reads · Reviews · Ronnie Turner · The Riviera Woman

Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner (@Ronnie_Turner) @HQDigitalUK ~ Recommended Read ~ The Riviera Woman

I regularly share my top reads from this blog over at The Riviera Woman.The Riviera Woman

The Riviera Woman, run by Anna Fill, helps women living or working on the Riviera live life to the full with it’s inspirational people and interesting articles.

For November, I have chosen Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner. You can read my review here.

Lies Between Us

 

Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Review Copy · Reviews · Ronnie Turner

Blog Tour: Review of Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner (@Ronnie_Turner) @HQDigitalUK

I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Lies Between Us by fellow book blogger, Ronnie Turner. Thank you to Ronnie for inviting me and to HQ Digital for sending me a copy of the book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Before I share my thoughts with you, here is what Lies Between Us is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

The past is always watching . . .

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . . .

A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Clare Mackintosh, Shari Lapena and Lisa Jewell.

~ My thoughts ~

It is always a pleasure to see a fellow book blogger follow their dream and when Ronnie Turner announced that she had signed with HQ, Harper Collins, I was fighting for a chance to read her debut psychological thriller Lies Between Us – and what a debut it is!

Lies Between Us is a chilling, tense and calculated story of extreme obsession that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it. Ronnie Turner’s insightful reading as a blogger is evident here as the thriller is extremely well written and cleverly crafted. The plot is very ambitious for a debut author: told from 3 characters points of view at varying points in time with so many twists, turns, shocks and lies along the way. I did find the jumps between dates a bit confusing at first but it’s worth sticking with it as the story is superb.

The characterisation is accomplished, especially in Miller, the first character we meet. He is highly disturbing and really got under my skin. Some of the horrible activities he gets up to are unbearable to read and at one point, I wondered how far Ronnie Turner would go with his story. I even had to stop reading part way through and go back later, such was Miller’s effect. It was as though his every word jumped off of the page and played with my mind. He certainly had me looking over my shoulder. Even so, I found him the most intriguing character. His creepiness sets the tone for the entire book.

The second character we are introduced to is John. Married to Jules and a writer, we live with them through the hardest time of their lives when their daughter Bonnie goes missing. I wasn’t sure what to think of John and I even wondered if he was responsible for Bonnie’s disappearance. But that’s the skill in Ronnie Turner’s writing. She plays with your head. Just as you think you’ve worked it out, she takes you on a completely different path.

The third character is Maisie, a nurse in an ICU Department who has a few secrets of her own. It is interesting to see how she fits into the story.

All three character’s voices are so unique that I didn’t need to know who’s story I was reading when it was introduced, as I already knew.  I am not sure I’ve read a book where the voices are that distinct.

Lies Between Us is compelling, fast paced, and highly emotional from the beginning. The story’s denouement is one that I certainly didn’t see coming and it fitted perfectly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this brilliant debut and I would highly recommend it. I am so looking forward to seeing what Ronnie Turner comes up with next.

~ Where to find Lies Between Us ~

Lies Between Us was published as an e-book and audiobook by HQ Digital, Harper Collins on 1 October 2018 and is due to be published in paperback on 13 December 2018. It is available via the following links:

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ About Ronnie Turner ~

Author Photo 2

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family.

At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Find out more:

Twitter: @Ronnie_ _Turner

Facebook: @RonnieTurnerAuthor

Instagram: @ronnieturner8702

Website: www.ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/RonnieTurner

~ Follow the Tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other blogs on the tour!!

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Books · Fiona Harper · Recommended Reads · Reviews · The Riviera Woman

The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper (@FiHarper_Author) @HQStories ~ Recommended Read ~ The Riviera Woman

I regularly share my top reads from this blog over at The Riviera Woman.The Riviera Woman

The Riviera Woman, run by Anna Fill, helps women living or working on the Riviera live life to the full with it’s inspirational people and interesting articles.

For October, I have chosen The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper. You can read my review here.

 

The Memory Collector cover

Advanced Review Copy · Books · Fiona Harper · Recommended Reads · Review Copy · Reviews

Review: The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper (@FiHarper_Author) @HQStories @HarperCollinsUK

I am delighted to share with you my review of The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper.

Thank you to Fiona Harper for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Before I share my thoughts with you, here is what The Memory Collector is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Heather Lucas lives her life through other people’s memories.

Heather doesn’t want to remember her childhood, not when her mother’s extreme hoarding cast her family life into disarray.

For Heather’s mother, every possession was intimately connected to a memory, so when Heather uncovers a secret about her past that could reveal why her mother never let anything go, she knows there’s only one place she’ll find answers – behind the locked door of her spare room, where the remains of her mother’s hoard lie hidden.

As Heather uncovers both objects and memories, will the truth set her free? Or will she discover she’s more like her mother than she ever thought possible?

~ My thoughts ~

Why am I only just discovering the delights of Fiona Harper’s writing? Fiona’s last book, The Other Us, has been sitting unread on my shelf for a year. Well that will shortly change because if it is anything like The Memory Collector, it will be brilliant!

The Memory Collector is a powerful and poignant story about mental illness, love, loss, hope and moving on.

The story starts with a young girl, her memory of a trip to the seaside and a red coat. It is a troubled memory rather than one of a nice day out and the reader instantly knows something isn’t quite right. The story then switches to the present day and we meet Heather Lucas in a situation that both Heather and the reader knows she shouldn’t be in. I just wanted to jump into the page and stop her. It’s not until we read further on, that we understand why Heather is in this situation to begin with.

In The Memory Collector, Fiona Harper explores the issue of extreme hoarding and the life-long impact that this can have not only on the hoarder themselves, but also on those around them. Fiona Harper cleverly tells Heather’s story and the impact of her mother’s hoarding over two time frames: ‘Then’ which is Heather’s childhood up until she was 16 and ‘Now’, the present day. The ‘Then’ chapters are based around a particular object which was significant in her mother’s hoarding and tells the memory which goes with it.  The ‘Now’ chapters belong to Heather and her journey of coming to terms with how her upbringing has shaped who she is today and the choices she makes. It is hard hitting at times but touching and uplifting too.

The Memory Collector is a beautiful story, sensitively told and I am so pleased I got the chance to read it. I cannot wait to explore more of Fiona Harper’s work.

~ Where to find The Memory Collector ~

The Memory Collector will be published by HQ, Harper Collins on 6th September 2018 and is available via the following links:

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ About Fiona Harper ~

As a child, Fiona was constantly teased for two things: having her nose in a book and living in a dream world. Things haven’t changed much since then, but at least she’s found a career that puts her runaway imagination to use!

Fiona HarperFiona’s first book was published in 2006 and she now has twenty-five published books under her belt. She started her career writing heartfelt but humorous romances for Mills & Boon, then went on to writing romantic comedies for Harlequin/Mira and now writes uplifting stories about love, life and relationships for HQ, part of Harper Collins. She is a previous winner of the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Scheme Award, and her most recent book, The Other Us, won a Romantic Novel Award (RoNA) in 2018.

Fiona lives in London with her husband and two teenage daughters (oh, the drama in her house!), and she loves good books, good films and anything cinnamon flavoured. She also can’t help herself if a good tune comes on and she’s near a dance floor – you have been warned!

Find out more at https://fionaharper.com, follow Fiona on Twitter @FiHarper_Author  and visit her Facebook page @FionaHarperBooks