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 · 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

 

 

 

Blog Tours · Books · Extracts · Rebecca James

Blog Tour & Extract: The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James (@VFoxWrites) @HQstories

I am delighted to be featuring an extract from The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James as part of the blog tour.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Izzy Smith at HQ, Harper Collins for asking me to take part in the tour and for sending me a proof copy of the book to read. A review will follow on this blog soon.

Scroll down to find out more about The Woman in the Mirror and to read a captivating extract – it’s the Prologue!! Continue reading “Blog Tour & Extract: The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James (@VFoxWrites) @HQstories”

Blog Tours · Books · Jennifer Bohnet · Recommended Reads · Reviews

#Blogtour #Review The Little Kiosk by the Sea by Jennifer Bohnet (@jenniewriter) @midaspr @HQstories

I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for The Little Kiosk By The Sea by Jennifer Bohnet.  I am sharing this first stop on the tour with Clare over at A Book and Tea, so please do go and visit her blog too.

The Little Kiosk By The Sea was first published by Carina as an e-book on 18 August 2015 and, subsequently, published in paperback original by HQ on 15 June 2017.

Continue reading “#Blogtour #Review The Little Kiosk by the Sea by Jennifer Bohnet (@jenniewriter) @midaspr @HQstories”