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.
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.
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.
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.