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Synopsis: 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.

My thoughts

I have so many good thoughts about this book. Firstly lets talk history and politics. I grew up in 70’s England and remember the Troubles as they were then but as with most British history lessons in schools they tend not to focus on things that don’t go well so I don’t recall learning about the history of how the Troubles came about. There’s an analogy in here about relationships that gave me more insight then any school lesson. Now if only the next book I read will explain the Brexit Backstop! The other bit if history is around the Magdalene Laundry scandal. Again something that I saw briefly in the newspapers but explained so much better in this book. So I loved it to start with just for that. 

For me, if a book covers two time frames I tend to find one better than the other but here I really enjoyed both stories. Characters from both eras are drawn so vividly and each story would stand alone as an enjoyable read. As a reader you can’t help but wonder how things will turn out as you read and start imagining potential endings as you go along. I was trying to work out how the two stories would join up at the end and I found the way it was done so sweet and a bit different from the usual ‘they were related all along’ cliche. 

It was all just so delightful. I loved Clare’s journey. I found I had  a few things in common with her and funnily enough my step-mum was re-upholstering an antique chair as I was reading about Clare doing it so in my head now Clare’s chair looks like the family one! I’m a little bit in love with Ryan the book shop owning silver fox. I could quite do with a Ryan myself. 

Ellen’s story back in 1919 is dramatic and filled with sadness and you can’t help rooting for some good to happen to her and again the time period is so richly described. 

I could go on and on. It’s just such a  wonderful book and easily the best book I’ve read so far this year. I’m looking forward to reading the authors other books.

Purchase Links
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-
US – https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-

Author Bio – 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
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