The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl

daughtersMcGurl certainly does love to combine history, genealogy, the past and the present in her stories.

In The Daughters of Red Hill Hall the reader follows two stories. Gemma and Nat in the present, and Sarah and Rebecca in the past. The four of them have a lot in common. It’s almost like a repetition of history.

Rebecca and Sarah have been close friends for many years. They have grown up together in the same house and are like sisters. Rebecca is the daughter of the house and Sarah merely the daughter of a servant. Rebecca’s father treats them both as equals, which causes feelings of jealousy and envy. Sarah has built up a lifetime of anger against her ‘sister’ and anyone who doesn’t fit into her plans. She will literally do anything to get what she wants. The two of them become rivals, and their animosity towards each other ends in disaster.

Meanwhile in the present, best friends Gemma and Nat have a similar unequal relationship, or at least one of them thinks so. Jealousy leads to rash decisions and betrayal.

A old case with two duelling pistols connects the four women like a cold withered hand reaching from the past to grab the present to pull two more into the dark curse of Red Hill Hall. Question is whether it will end with another disaster.

There is a legal inconsistency, but that is actually pointed out by Charles towards the end and sheds a light on how powerless women were in that era in regards to having no voice and no rights. McCurl focuses on the relationships and emotional turmoil, and allows for a flexible interpretation of the era she writes in. As always a spirited read.

Buy The Daughters of Red Hill Hall at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @KathMcGurl  @HQStories @HQDigitalUK

Visit kathleenmcgurl.com

Read The Girl from Ballymor by Kathleen McGurl

Read The Emerald Comb by Kathleen McGurl.

Read The Pearl Locket by Kathleen McGurl.

Read about Kathleen McGurl here.

The Pearl Locket by Kathleen McGurl

download (26)

This story actually reminded me a lot of my own genealogy research. Similar to Ali and Kelly, I also found out that my grandmother had secrets she had kept from her children and grandchildren, during her entire lifetime as a mother and grandmother.

In Ali’s case the secrets seem to be embedded in the house she has just inherited, almost as if something or someone there is still waiting to be acknowledged or to get some closure.

The presence is so strong that it starts to cause changes in the family. One specific person starts to melt back into the memories, behaviour and emotions of the mysterious presence.

The author takes us from the past to the present, from one chapter to another, letting the story of the past unfold into the lives of those in the house. The reader gets a glimpse of the love and also despair that once vibrated through the walls.The young girl surrounded by family and yet completely alone, oppressed by the strict father and his rules, which ultimately leads to unexpected and tragic events.

Ali has very sexist views when it comes to Kelly. She has to keep herself from blaming her daughter for the fact Kelly’s boyfriend broke up with her, because of her taste in clothes. Dressing like a girl from the 1940’s, ergo too fuddy duddy and not fashionable enough for him to remain interested.

That isn’t the kind of message you want to relay to a daughter, as a mother. Even the fact Ali thinks that way, even if she doesn’t voice it, is quite strange. Perhaps Ali is more like her grandfather than she realises or is history repeating itself on a very subtle level? Is there more than one ghostly echo in the property?

McGurl really likes to weave her stories within the folds of family relationships, secrets and genealogy. Mixing heartbreak with romance to create a pleasant and inviting read,
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author and Carina UK.

Buy The Pearl Locket at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read The Emerald Comb or The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl.
Read about Kathleen McGurl here.

Follow @KathMcGurl  @HQStories @HQDigitalUK

Visit kathleenmcgurl.com

Read The Girl from Ballymor by Kathleen McGurl