#BlogTour The StationMaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Stationmaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl.

About the Author

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband. 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.

Follow @KathMcGurl on Twitter, on Facebookon Goodreadson Amazon, Visit kathleenmcgurl.comBuy The StationMaster’s Daughter

About the book

As the last train leaves, will life ever be the same?

Dorset 1935

Stationmaster Ted has never cared much for romance. Occupied with ensuring England’s most beautiful railway runs on time, love has always felt like a comparatively trivial matter. Yet when he meets Annie Galbraith on the 8.42 train to Lynford, he can’t help but instantly fall for her.

But soon the railway is forced to close and a terrible accident occurs within the station grounds, Ted finds his job and any hope of a relationship with Annie hanging in the balance…

Present day

Recovering from heartbreak after a disastrous marriage, Tilly decides to escape from the bustling capital and move to Dorset to stay with her dad, Ken. When Ken convinces Tilly to help with the restoration of the old railway, she discovers a diary hidden in the old ticket office. Tilly is soon swept up in Ted’s story, and the fateful accident that changed his life forever.

But an encounter with an enigmatic stranger takes Tilly by surprise, and she can’t help but feel a connection with Ted’s story in the past.

Review

The story has a nostalgic feel to it, perhaps because McGurl is very good at giving her readers the feeling as if they are right there experiencing everything with the characters. Tugging on the heartstrings is one of her talents, which is reflected in the way she builds the characters and their emotional turmoil.

The story moves from Tilly in the present to Ted and Annie in the past. At first glance the only connection between the two appears to be the railroad and the station. As we learn more about all of them the how becomes clearer.

Tilly is damaged and suffering, and has returned to her parent to gather herself and reboot her life. She carries immense trauma around with her, which has been magnified tenfold by the way she has been treated by her husband. Her path brings her to Dorset.

In the past we meet stationmaster Ted. His life is filled with trains, railways and schedules, at least until the day he meets Annie. What looks like obsession to one person is merely unrequited love to Ted. His fascination with Annie is the beginning of a heart-wrenching secret – a secret that leaves a trail of destruction all the way into the present.

McGurl likes to combine history and mystery to create captivating stories. In this case England’s railway gets in on the action, and I enjoyed learning more about that aspect of history.

It’s a mystery come historical fiction with a modern flair. Splitting the story into past and present gives it a two genre feel. It’s a story with an authentic feel to it.

Buy The Stationmaster’s Daughter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 7 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of The Forgotten SecretThe Girl from Ballymor, The Emerald Comb, The Pearl Locket and The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl.

#BlogTour The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl. It’s historical and women’s fiction with a strong political storyline, and yet McGurl contains the turbulence and focuses on the people, their lives and emotions.

About the Author

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.

Follow @KathMcGurl @HQDigitalUK on Twitter, Visit kathleenmcgurl.com

Buy The Forgotten Secret

About the book

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.

Review

The story tells the tale of two women, of Clare in the 21st century and Ellen in 1919, with Ireland and its last few centuries of troubled history at the core of both stories.

The reader meets Clare when she inherits a dilapidated property in Ireland and uses this inheritance to free herself from under the oppressive thumb of her husband. After many decades of marriage and two grown children, she finally plucks up the courage to free herself from his constant verbal abuse and abusive control.

I think it’s important to note that the author makes a deliberate attempt to show that abuse doesn’t always mean something physical. Sometimes it means someone controlling,  who isolates and verbally abuses a person, an aspect of abusive relationships which has only just become punishable by law.

Even Clare feels as if she has to say sorry for not not being physically abused and only abused in a non-physical way. This strange feeling of guilt and not being worthy of a concern is also the reason many don’t feel able to report non-physical abuse, because they think they won’t be taken seriously.

Ellen on the other hand finds herself in the middle of a question of loyalty. Not just any loyalty either. In a time of great upheaval and the seeds of later violent discord, rebellion and terrorism are sown and begin to sprout in the proud inhabitants of the Irish Isles (choosing not to use a political term which could be construed as hinting at political overlordship).

It’s historical and women’s fiction with a strong political storyline, and yet McGurl contains the turbulence and focuses on the people, their lives and emotions. The result is a tale of mystery, heartbreak and forgiveness, which intersects when the past meets the present in the form of a well hidden secret.

Buy The Forgotten Secret at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; Ecopy pub date 1 March 2019, Paperback pub date 16 May 2019.

Read my review of The Daughters of Red Hill Hall, of The Emerald Comb, The Pearl Locket and The Girl from Ballymoor by Kathleen McGurl.

The Girl from Ballymor by Kathleen McGurl

ballymorMcGurl does love playing with the past and the present, especially in relation to genealogy. She hones her craft, which is evident with each new book.

The author takes us from the present with Maria in Ireland to the past with Kitty and Michael in the same village.

Maria suffers from doubt and insecurities, a theme which plays a pivotal role in the story. The relationship with her mother is strained and complicated, which has repercussions in her own life. She thinks the lack of maternal instinct is genetic rather than learned behaviour.

She has decided to combine a few days off with her family research. Following the trail of her famous ancestor she ends up in a remote Irish village trying to discover what happened to the mother he left behind.

McGurl has incorporated an important part of Irish history in her story. The potato famine or Great Famine (an Gorta Mór) of Ireland decimated the population. Over a million men, women and children died of starvation and over a million more emigrated to escape the situation in Ireland. It is fair to say that it not only changed the population, it also changed the political climate and set a path of opposition between the English and Irish that still exists today. The Irish started to oppose English Rule in earnest and rise up against the injustices thrust upon them by their English masters.

Maria finds comfort in the present by trying to uncover the secrets of the past and solve a mystery at the same time. It is an emotional read, especially because the scenarios are down to earth and realistic, both the ones in the present and in the past.

McCurl knows how to create the kind of characters readers can relate to. She writes stories that make you ponder and feel for the people you are reading about.

Buy The Girl from Ballymor at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @KathMcGurl  @HQStories @HQDigitalUK

Visit kathleenmcgurl.com

Read The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl

Read The Emerald Comb by Kathleen McGurl.

Read The Pearl Locket by Kathleen McGurl.

Read about Kathleen McGurl here.

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.