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Kathleen McGurl

**BLOG TOUR** The Lost Sister by Kathleen McGurl

In 1911, Emma leaves the family home to become a stewardess onboard the ocean liner Olympic. Leaving her two sisters, Lily and Ruby, behind, she promises to be back soon. Nothing ever goes according to plan, however, and soon the sisters’ lives are changed for ever. In the present day, Harriet finds her late grandmother’s travelling trunk in the attic. Finding a photo of her grandmother with her sisters, she is confused. She knew that her grandmother had a sister who died young but who is the other girl? She soon finds herself learning about the three sister ships Olympic, Britannic and Titanic and discovering what tore the sisters apart.

It is always a pleasure to feature on a blog tour for a Kathleen McGurl book and more so when the subject is something that I have a great interest in – RMS Titanic. The story of the Titanic has been well documented but the fate of her sister ships is less known and it was clear to see the research that has been undertaken by the author in order to tell their stories. Most fiction about the Titanic tends to focus on the passengers, so it was pleasing to read about a member of staff, giving a different perspective of life at sea.

The two time frames each have their own plot, linked neatly together by a family connection. We also see the common theme of complicated sibling relationships running throughout both eras. There were many parallels between the two sets of characters, Ruby and Davina being headstrong with no concerns about how they are perceived by the outside world and the more staid personalities of Emma and Sally.

I am a fan of genealogical fiction and so I particularly enjoyed reading about Harriet’s desire to find out about her family and her use of DNA testing. This gave the story another superb layer, helping to contribute to the several twists and turns that the author has included, one of which, in particular, knocked me sideways!

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Kathleen McGurl’s dual timeline novels and this one is another wonderful read. An accurate portrayal of family relationships with a plot that is both heartwarming and heart wrenching, I thoroughly recommend reading The Lost Sister.

With thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources, Net Galley, H Q Digital and Kathleen McGurl for my copy and for organising the blog tour.

Take a look at my reviews of some of Kathleen McGurl’s other books:

The Emerald Comb 
The Pearl Locket
The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall
The Girl from Ballymor 
The Drowned Village
The Forgotten Secret
The Stationmaster’s Daughter
The Secret of the Chateau

The Forgotten Gift

Monthly Round Up – April 2021

I’ve been meaning to start listening to more audiobooks so, this month, I’ve been making use of my local library which has a decent selection online. I find it easier to listen to non-fiction than fiction as I find I don’t need to concentrate as much! I’ve also been trying not to start any new series but when Bloodhound Books made some of their titles available on Kindle for free this month, I couldn’t refuse!

Books I’ve Read

The Girl on the Platform by Bryony Pearce

When a woman witnesses a child being abducted, nobody believes her. Did she really see it or is her mind playing tricks? After initially feeling this was going to be a bit like The Girl on the Train, the plot took a sudden twist, making it one of my favourite reads of the year so far.


The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This retelling of the classic Sherlock Holmes story for younger readers is another faithful version of the original with great illustrations. Ideal for children who are wanting to start to read classic crime fiction.


Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

The fourteenth book in the Kim Stone series is one of the darkest to date. When the body of a man is found horrifically tortured, Kim and her team know that they are on the track of a particularly sadistic killer who is seemingly out for revenge. Another fantastic book from the wonderful Angela Marsons.


The Lost Sister by Kathleen McGurl

Another great dual timeline book from the author, this time dealing with the Titanic tragedy and the story of her sister ships. Two stories, over a hundred years apart, link together to provide a heartwarming yet heartbreaking tale of sibling rivalry. Review will follow as part of the blog tour.


The Doctor Will See You Now by Dr Amir Khan

The TV doctor, who is also a full time practitioner, recalls situations from his time as a GP that will make you laugh and cry in equal measures. Definitely a love story about the wonderful NHS.


Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun

I first read this when it came out but when I saw it was available as an audiobook from my local library, I thought it was time for a re-read. Did Florence Maybrick, a young American, kill her older, cotton merchant husband, James, at their home in Liverpool? Kate Colquhoun provides all the evidence for you to decide.



Books I’ve Acquired

Quiet Places hide dark secrets…

In a small Scottish university town, what links a spate of horrible murders, a targeted bomb explosion and a lecturer’s disappearance? Is a terror group involved? If so, who is pulling the strings? And what does something that happened over forty years ago have to do with it? 

Having recently returned to Castletown in the hope of winning back his estranged wife, DCI Jim Carruthers finds himself up to his eyes in the investigation.

Struggling with a very different personal problem, DS Andrea Fletcher assists Jim in the hunt for the murderous perpetrators. To prevent further violence they must find the answers quickly. But will Jim’s old adversary, terror expert McGhee, be a help or a hindrance?



A detective on the edge. A killer on the loose.

When DCI Bran Reece is called to the bloody crime scene of a murdered woman, he thinks the case is his. 

But the new Chief Superintendent has other ideas. She sees the recently widowed Reece as a volatile risk-taker and puts him on leave, forcing him to watch from the sidelines. Or so she thinks. 

DS Elan Jenkins soon realises her boss’s replacement is out of his depth and takes matters into her own hands. But Elan unknowingly puts herself and others in grave danger.

Can Reece and Jenkins overcome their personal issues and solve the case? 

The truth might be closer to home than either of them is willing to admit…


Katerina Rowe, a Deacon at the church in the sleepy village of Eyam, has a fulfilled life. She is happily married to Leon and her work is rewarding.

But everything changes when she discovers the body of a man and a badly beaten woman, Beth, in the alleyway behind her husband’s pharmacy.

Drawn to the young woman she saved, Kat finds herself embroiled in a baffling mystery.

When Beth’s house is set on fire, Kat offers the young woman sanctuary in her home and soon the pair begin investigating the murder, with some help from Beth’s feisty grandmother, Doris. But neither the police, nor Leon, nor the criminals want Kat and Beth looking into their affairs and the sleuths quickly find themselves out of their depth…

Can Kat and Beth solve the mystery and walk away unscathed?


How can you find someone who doesn’t want to be found?

When Detective Garda Sergeant Mike West is called to investigate a murder in a Dublin graveyard, suspicion immediately falls on a local woman, Edel Johnson, whose husband disappeared some months before. But then she disappears.

Evidence leads West to a small village in Cornwall, but when he checks in to an Inn, he finds Edel has arrived before him. Her explanation seems to make sense but as West begins to think his suspicions of her are unfounded, she disappears again.

Is she guilty? West, fighting an unsuitable attraction, doesn’t want to believe it. But the case against her is growing. Back in Dublin, his team uncover evidence of blackmail and illegal drugs involving Edel’s missing husband. When another man is murdered, she, once again, comes under suspicion.

Finally, the case is untangled, but is it the outcome West really wants?


When a nurse is murdered, Detective David Grant recognises the hallmarks of a serial killer called Travis.

Twenty-five years ago, Grant caught Travis for the murder of five women and the murderer has been incarcerated ever since. The problem is, Travis was at the hospital when the nurse was murdered but he was in the constant custody of two police officers.

Determined to solve the case, Grant recruits a specialist to his team, Ruby Silver, a top criminal profiler. But Ruby is hiding something from her colleagues.

Who is the killer and what is their motive?

Grant and the team must work quickly to solve the case as the body count rises…




MY DAD SAYS BAD THINGS
HAPPEN WHEN I BREAK IT…

Daniel is looking forward to his birthday. He wants pie and chips, a big chocolate cake, and a comic book starring his favourite superhero. And as long as he follows The Rule, nothing bad will happen.

Daniel will be twenty-three next week. And he has no idea that he’s about to kill a stranger.

Daniel’s parents know that their beloved and vulnerable son will be taken away. They know that Daniel didn’t mean to hurt anyone, he just doesn’t know his own strength. They dispose of the body. Isn’t that what any loving parent would do? But as forces on both sides of the law begin to close in on them, they realise they have no option but to finish what they started. Even if it means that others will have to die…

Because they’ll do anything to protect Daniel. Even murder.


Quite a few new authors for me to read in the coming months. Has anyone read any of these books? What did you think?

Monthly Round Up – March 2021

March has definitely been one of my leanest months, reading-wise, as for some reason, it seems to be taking me an age to read a book. Hopefully April will bring a better ability to concentrate!

Books I Have Read

When the Evil Waits by M J Lee

After the cliffhanger in the previous book, we see DI Thomas Ridpath adapting to new circumstances whilst investigating the murder of a young boy. A great addition to a very readable series and I recommend them highly if you have not yet started to read them.


The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall by Jessica Thorne

A multi-genre time travel novel which sees new employee Megan Taylor trying to alter the course of history. Just what did happen to Lady Eleanor Fairfax in 1939, and can Megan stop it from happening? With a touch of history, magic, science fiction and romance, there is something here for everybody!


Judas Horse by Lynda la Plante

The second book in the Jack Warr series sees the detective investigating a spate of violent burglaries in his own inimitable way. After getting to know Jack in the first book in the series, we start to see more of his policing in this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it and my review will follow as part of the blog tour.


The Girl in the Painting by Steve Robinson

The eighth in the Jefferson Tayte series (although this could be read as a standalone) sees the genealogist now teaching family history. He can’t resist helping with some research, however, when one of his students asks for help in identifying the subject of a painting. In true JT style, it’s not long before danger heads his way… Review to follow.


Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.

Books I Have Acquired

When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate, Detective Kim Stone arrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.

But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman’s reaction.

Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.

Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.

Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.

A secret that some police officers are also protecting.

Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.  

Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?

A portrait painting is stolen from a London home. Shortly afterwards, the owner, Nat, calls on genealogist Jefferson Tayte for his help. She believes the subject of the painting, a young girl called Jess, is a past relative and wants to learn more about her. The problem is that Nat’s research has hit a brick wall – Jess appears to have vanished from the slums of Victorian London soon after the portrait was painted.

When Tayte learns that the theft is connected with a recent murder, he’s right to be wary, but solving crimes through genealogical research is what he does best. He quickly becomes intrigued by the girl in the painting and agrees to help. What became of her? Who stole the painting, and why would they kill for it all these years later?

As Tayte and Nat go in search of the answers, can they solve the mystery and bring the murderer to justice? Or will they become the killer’s next victims?


Three sisters. Three ships. One heartbreaking story.

1911. As Emma packs her trunk to join the ocean liner Olympic as a stewardess, she dreams of earning enough to provide a better life for both her sisters. With their photograph tucked away in her luggage, she promises to be back soon – hoping that sickly Lily will keep healthy, and wild Ruby will behave. But neither life at sea nor on land is predictable, and soon the three sisters’ lives are all changed irrevocably…

Now. When Harriet finds her late grandmother’s travelling trunk in the attic, she’s shocked to discover a photo of three sisters inside – her grandmother only ever mentioned one sister, who died tragically young. Who is the other sister, and what happened to her? Harriet’s questions lead her to the story of three sister ships, Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, and a shattering revelation about three sisters torn apart…


2004

The discovery of a body in the Liverpool docklands unearths long forgotten secrets. Reporter Anne McCarthy is keen to prove herself and dives into the case with abandon. There she finds Michael, an old Irish caretaker who knows far more than he’s letting on and may have 
a connection to the body.

Vinny Connolly is starting a postgrad degree, researching Liverpool’s migrant history and a burgeoning Scouse identity. But Vinny has been neglecting his own family history and stranger Michael might know about 
his father’s disappearance in the 70s.

1955

Escaping poverty in Ireland and fresh off the boat, Michael falls in with Wicklow boys Jack Power and Paddy Connolly, who smuggle contraband through the docks, putting them at odds with the unions. While organisers rally the dockworkers against the strikebreakers and rackets. A story of corruption, secret police, and sectarianism slowly unravels. 
But will the truth out?

As the conflict heightens, Michael questions the life sprawling out ahead of him, while in the present, Anne races to solve the mystery, but is she prepared for what she’ll find?

I shall now reveal the truth of the legend behind the hound of the Baskervilles. No Baskerville should ever cross the moor at night. With a deadly phantom hound on the loose and a mysterious man living on the moor, Devon is a dangerous place to be. But Holmes and Watson must put their fears aside. The country’s favourite crime-fighting duo need to unravel the strange case of Sir Charles Baskervilles murder before his nephew meets the same fate.


The Wheel Spins is the novel about young and bright Iris Carr, who is on her way back to England after spending a holiday somewhere in the Balkans. After she is left alone by her friends, Iris catches the train for Trieste and finds company in Miss Froy, chatty elderly English woman. When she wakes up from a short nap, she discovers that her elderly travelling companion seems to have disappeared from the train. After her fellow passengers deny ever having seen the elderly lady, the young woman is on the verge of her nerves. She is helped by a young English traveler, and the two proceed to search the train for clues to the old woman’s disappearance.


Hopefully I’ll also get my head round the changes WordPress have brought in by next month too!

**BLOG TOUR** The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl

1861

When George first sets eyes on Lucy, one of his household’s servants, he is smitten and is soon making plans for his future. After being rejected, however, his hopes are further thwarted when Lucy dies, seemingly the victim of a poisoning. Distraught, George knows that someone at home must have killed her, but who?


Present

Cassie is quite content with her life: a job she loves, friends she can rely on and doting parents who would do anything for her. All this is turned upside down, however, as research into her family history makes her question everything she thought she knew about her life.

I am a huge fan of Kathleen McGurl’s dual timeline novels, my favourite being The Daughters of Red Hill Hall. I was thrilled, therefore to see that the author has revisited my favourite era of historical fiction, the Victorian period, in her latest book, The Forgotten Gift.

As with her other books, we have two different plots set in two different time frames with a common theme running through them. The issue of family secrets is very much at the forefront here and the lengths some people will go to in order to stop these secrets from being revealed. I had great sympathy for George, who came across as a lovely young man, shunned by his family through no fault of his own. By starting the book with George’s will, I immediately became invested in his story, and was desperate to know what had happened in his life. This also provided a good link between the two time frames as Cassie tried to discover the same things.

As a fellow genealogist, I could relate a lot to the character of Cassie and loved how an enjoyable evening for her was one sat reading old documents, trying to make sense of the past. The discovery of scandal is an occupational hazard for a family historian, but Cassie manages to open up several cans of worms that have a profound effect on her life. I won’t give any spoilers, but I felt that this was sensitively handled, showing very real reactions from all involved parties.

I have, recently, been struggling to read books at my usual pace and I knew that a Kathleen McGurl book would help me out of my slump. I was so right as I raced through The Forgotten Gift, desperate to know what had happened in George’s life and how had overcome his problems. (Although I loved Cassie’s story, it was George who tugged at the heart strings for me!)

This is a wonderful read which, although fiction, gives a real insight into aspects of Victorian life. I have sung the praises of this author many times and I will continue to do so. If you haven’t read any of her work before, then please do – you won’t be disappointed!

With thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources, Kathleen McGurl, Net Galley ad HQ Digital for my copy of The Forgotten Gift.

Take a look at my reviews of other books by Kathleen McGurl:

   The Emerald Comb 
   The Pearl Locket
   The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall
   The Girl from Ballymor 
   The Drowned Village
   The Forgotten Secret
   The Stationmaster’s Daughter
   The Secret of the Chateau

I was hoping to read a few more books than last month, but I’ve really struggled even though I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read. Hopefully you’ve had a more productive month than me!

Books I Have Read

Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper of Whitechapel by M K Wiseman

As a fan of the original Conan Doyle books and someone who has an interest in the Jack the Ripper case, this was right up my street! Written very much like a Conan Doyle, we see Holmes investigating the famous case, fearing that the perpetrator may be his friend, Dr Watson. Review will follow as part of the publication day push.


A Song For the Dark Times by Ian Rankin

The latest in the Rebus series is another fantastic read from Ian Rankin. When his daughter’s husband goes missing, the ex-detective finds himself involved in a case that is very close to home. This is a series that is showing no sign of losing its touch.


The Body on the Island by Nick Louth

When an unidentified body is found, Detective Chief Inspector Craig Gillard has his work cut out with not only working out who the man is, but trying to determine the cause of death. With the most bizarre MO I have read about in a while, this is a great addition to a brilliant series.


The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl

Another superb dual timeline novel from Kathleen McGurl takes us back to the Victorian era and an incredibly dysfunctional family. A great plot with some heart-wrenching moments, I really enjoyed this book. Review will fllow as part of the blog tour.


Books I Have Acquired

It has been three years since the death of Sherlock Holmes. Watson is now solving mysteries solo and he’s about to face his toughest one yet: the impossible murder of Mr Adair. What Watson doesn’t know is that this curious case will unearth secrets from beyond the grave …

The Sherlock Holmes Children’s Collection: Creatures, Codes and Curious Cases:

Sherlock Holmes returns! Facing beastly creatures, catching curious criminals and uncovering deadly secrets from beneath the sea are all in a day’s work for this world-famous detective and his faithful biographer, Watson, as they face their final (and most dangerous!) cases.

HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO BE SOMEONE ELSE?

Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.

That’s how it started: looking round houses she couldn’t possibly afford. Harmless fun really. Until it wasn’t.

Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.

And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him…

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide


Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .


THEY KNOW WHAT YOU DID
You receive a call, an email, a text – someone knows your secret and they want to ruin you.

AND THEY’RE OUT FOR BLOOD
If you don’t do what they say, they’ll tell everyone what you’ve been hiding.
They will come after you, destroy you, and they aren’t afraid to kill.

IT’S TIME TO PLAY THE GAME


I’m currently reading The Searcher by Tana French which I’m really enjoying. A slow burner and I can’t wait to see where it leads.

Keep safe everyone!

Monthly Round Up – September 2020

I’ve found it difficult to read books this month although the ones I have read I have enjoyed immensely. I’m going to be, hopefully, working my way through some books for blog tours in October so am looking forward to reading those!

Books I Have Read

Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante

The sixth in the Tennison series, sees Jane working in a much quieter environment than she has been used to – that is until the body of a disembowelled man is found at his home. A slow build-up leads up to an unexpected conclusion with, potentially, the opportunity to revisit part of the plot at a latter date.

 

When the Past Kills by M J Lee

The fifth book in the Ridpath series takes the detective back to his most famous case – the capture of the Beast of Manchester. With people close to the case being killed, this is very personal to Ridpath. With an absolutely explosive ending, this is the best in the series so far.

 

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths

The second book to feature Detective Harbinder Kaur is another fantastic novel by the superb Elly Griffiths. Full of wonderful characters, The Postscript Murders is an investigation into the death of an elderly woman known as a ‘murder consultant’. Brilliant!

 

The Thief on the Winged Horse  by Kate Mascarenhas

This novel idea for a book merges a whodunit with magic and, while it is not generally the sort of book I would read, I loved it! Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

 

Books I Have Acquired

He was never truly gone, only biding his time…

Late on midsummer’s night there is a splash in the river Thames. A body is found on an island, asphyxiated and laced with strange markings. For DCI Craig Gillard it’s a baffling case. The victim’s identity is elusive, clues are scarce and every witness has something to hide.

Meanwhile one of Britain’s deadliest serial killers is finally up for parole after a deal to reveal the location of two missing bodies. The felon has his own plans to get even with witnesses, accusers and the officer who caught him thirty years before. And who was that? A young trainee, by the name of Gillard.

 

The most difficult position in football? Being a goalkeeper. That’s what they say, right? You must be mad to stand between those posts and bat away shots and crosses all game long.

Neville Southall should know. He was the goalkeeper for one of the best teams of the 1980s and became an icon of the game during his 20-year career between the sticks. But what did it take to prepare himself mentally for the difficulties of the position? How did he dig so deep on the biggest occasions and in the highest-pressured moments? What scars were left at the end of his long career – a tenure that saw the highs of winning trophies, but also the lows of losing games, making mistakes and feeling the full weight of club and country on your shoulders. And how has he used his post-playing career to campaign for a better future for the next generation?

In this unique book, one of football’s greatest cult players reflects on the travails of the modern game, how some of society’s problems are reflected within it and draws upon his own experience to tackle one of its final remaining taboos: mental health. On fear of failure, confidence, sexuality and homophobia, suicide, social media and many other talking points – Neville doesn’t hold back on the biggest subjects and gets stuck in to some of the most important topics surrounding the beautiful game.

 

What would you do to protect the ones you love?

1861. George’s life changes forever the day he meets Lucy. She’s beautiful and charming, and he sees a future with her that his position as the second son in a wealthy family has never offered him. But when Lucy dies in a suspected poisoning days after rejecting George, he finds himself swept up into a murder investigation. George loved Lucy; he would never have harmed her. So who did?

Now. On the surface Cassie is happy with her life: a secure job, good friends, and a loving family. When a mysterious gift in a long-forgotten will leads her to a dark secret in her family’s history she’s desperate to learn more. But the secrets in Cassie’s family aren’t all hidden in the past, and her research will soon lead her to a revelation much closer to home – and which will turn everything she knows on its head…

 

You have to stop me from hurting anyone else. I don’t want to do these horrible things. Help me before I’m forced to do it again. And I will do it again because I have no choice. I’ve never had a choice.

In a busy shopping centre, a little girl clutches a teddy bear, clinging to it in the absence of her mother, Katrina. Hours later, Katrina’s body is discovered in an abandoned building. For Detective Kim Stone, it looks like a quick, functional murder. But Kim’s instincts tell her there’s more to this senseless murder than meets the eye. What was the motive for killing a young mother out shopping with her child?

Days later, a second victim is found in a local park, her neck broken just like Katrina’s and her six-year-old son missing.

But with her colleague, Detective Stacey Wood, working on another unsolved crime and a member of the team grieving the loss of a close relative, Kim is struggling to make inroads on what is fast becoming a complex case. And when a handwritten letter from the killer lands on Kim’s desk addressed to her, and pleading for help, she knows time is running out to bring the little boy home alive.

With the support of a handwriting analyst and profiler, Kim and the team begin to get inside the mind of the killer and make a shocking discovery.

Some of the victims have scratch marks on their wrists.

But these are no random scratches. The killer is using them to communicate with someone. The question is… with whom?

And if Kim doesn’t find them soon, another innocent soul will die.

 

Here’s hoping for a good October. Have you read any of these? What did you think?

**BLOG TOUR** The Secret of the Chateau by Kathleen McGurl

It is the end of the 18th century and Pierre and Catherine Aubert, the Comte and Comtesse de Verais, have fled the privileged life they lead at the court of Versailles to set up home at a chateau, the ancestral home of Pierre. With attitudes towards the aristocracy changing rapidly, will the couple manage to start a new, more bourgeois life or will their aristocratic life catch up with them?

In the present, Lu and her husband, along with three of their friends have upped sticks to France to start a new life as joint owners of French property – the chateau Aubert. When people start to talk about the ghost that is known to live there, Lu’s interest is piqued and she begins to research the history of their house, revealing a secret that has remained hidden for centuries…

As always, it is a privilege to be part of the blog tour for one of Kathleen McGurl’s books as this is an author whose work I always eagerly anticipate. As in previous books, the story is told in two time frames: the present and, in this case, the lead up to and the aftermath of the French Revolution. It soon became apparent how much research the author has done into this turbulent time, not only with her historically accurate account of the events In France but also with the descriptions of the Alpes Maritimes. It was easy to visualise the setting such was the description, Kathleen McGurl painting a very picturesque view of this area of south east France. (If you want to see some pictures that inspired the book, take a look at https://www.pinterest.co.uk/kathmcgurl/future-novel/) .

In the two main characters, we see contrasting personalities. Lu is someone who is in need of a purpose in life after retiring from work to care for her mother. The death of her mother has left her at a loose end and so the opportunity to relocate to a chateau in France with her husband and friends seems like an ideal opportunity. Her uncertainty about the venture, however, is the complete opposite to Catherine, a woman who, despite her tender years, knows her own mind, even though her desire to emulate Marie Antoinette could end up being her downfall.

As someone who researches my family history, I liked reading about the discoveries made by Lu as she attempted to find out about the previous occupants in the chateau. This was where the two story lines converged, leading to a harrowing revelation about what actually happened to Pierre and Catherine Aubert. I found this very moving and, although I won’t give any spoilers, I was pleased that there could be closure for characters in both time frames.

As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret of the Chateau and loved the slow, mysterious build-up leading to a heart-breaking yet satisfying conclusion. This is a standalone, but I can definitely recommend all of Kathleen McGurl’s previous dual time frame books:

The Emerald Comb

The Pearl Locket

The Daughters of Red Hill Hall

The Girl From Ballymor

The Drowned Village

The Forgotten Secret

The Stationmaster’s Daughter

With thanks to HQ Digital, Net Galley and Rachel’s Random Resources for my ARC and for my spot on the blog tour.

 

Monthly Round Up – April 2020

Well, it’s definitely been a very different sort of month. I hope that all of you are managing to keep well and that books are giving you a few moments where you don’t have to think about what is happening in the world. Working from home has given me a bit more reading time and I’ve also started to listen to some audio books courtesy of my local library.

Books I Have Read

The Death Certificate by Stephen Molyneux

It’s been a while since I read the author’s first book so I was pleased to see he’d finally written a second! Set partly in the present day and partly in the Victorian era, this is a great read and I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait as long for the next book!

 

Strangers by C L Taylor

From the start when we meet three characters, unfamiliar to each other, standing with a dead body, I was hooked! I loved her last book, Sleep, but I think I enjoyed this one even more!

 

The Body Under the Bridge by Nick Louth

The fifth in the Craig Gillard series is just as good as the rest. There’s a particularly clever serial killer and, for some of Craig’s team, he might just be someone the already know…

 

 

Remain Silent by Susie Steiner

This is the third in a series that continues to go from strength to strength. DS Manon Bradshaw investigates the death of an immigrant worker, dealing with many prejudices along the way. A superb read.

 

 

The Secret of the Chateau by Kathleen McGurl

Another historical timeslip novel from Kathleen McGurl takes us to the time of the French Revolution. Mystery, death, history, intrigue – this had it all! I always look forward to Kathleen McGurl’s books and this one did not let me down. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

The first in the series introduces us to Ellen and her family. In these worrying times, this gave me a much-needed bit of light relief due to the many laugh-out-loud moments.

 

 

Killing Mind by Angela Marsons

I’m still amazed as to how Angela Marsons keeps this series going with such a high standard! In Killing Mind, Kim Stone and her team investigate a cult, putting a member of her team in danger in the process. Fans of this series are going to absolutely love this! Review to follow.

 

Love Me To Death by Susan Gee

A creepy tale of a warped killer plying his trade in Stockport. In a town full of secrets, who exactly has something to hide? Review will follow as part of the blog tour.

 

 

Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries by John Taylor

Highly recommended for fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, especially as the audio book is narrated by Shelock himself – Benedict Cumberbatch!

 

Books I Have Acquired

Two sisters on trial for murder. They accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?

‘911 what’s your emergency?’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Sofia killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Alexandra killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

One of them is a liar and a killer.

But which one?

 

Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.

The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They’re grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house’s dark, dusty corners. Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour – and the law – don’t seem to apply.

But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds. And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.
Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .

 

Bubbles of cold sweat trickled down Faye’s spine. The hole wasn’t empty. Before she could turn and run, she caught the two sightless eyes staring up at her. Only then did she scream.

When Faye Baker discovers a fragile child’s skull behind the walls of her new home, Detective Lottie Parker is called to investigate. The house has been owned for years by the family of Faye’s boyfriend Jeff, so when Jeff starts acting suspiciously, Lottie wonders what he might be hiding…

Lottie doesn’t have long to dig deeper before a child’s bones are found by eleven-year-old Gavin on nearby railway tracks. The bones don’t match the small skull behind the walls, but Lottie can’t ignore the coincidence. Someone out there must be missing their loved ones and it’s up to her to put right a terrible wrong.

Unable to shake a feeling of foreboding, Lottie goes to speak to Faye, and discovers that she hasn’t turned up for work. When Faye’s body is found stuffed in the back of her car, Lottie needs to find out who wanted her to keep quiet.

As Lottie hunts for Faye’s killer, the case takes a darker turn when Gavin goes missing. Faye and Gavin are connected only by the grisly body parts they discovered. But who are these little victims and why has their killer come back? Can Lottie find the answers before another precious life is taken?

 

You don’t want to play their games…

All around Albuquerque, New Mexico, young women are going missing, seemingly vanished into thin air. With no link between the victims, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is quickly plunged into a horrifying case with no obvious clues.

And when Jersey Andrews, the best friend of Alyssa’s teenage daughter, Holly, joins the list of vanished girls, the case becomes personal.

But this investigation will lead Alyssa and partner Cord into the most sinister depths of humanity; an evil place where life is expendable, and where the depraved can fulfil their darkest desires – if they have the money to pay for it.

As the first bodies appear, abandoned on the streets, Alyssa is forced into a frantic hunt to track down the killers – before more innocent women lose their lives. But when the truth comes out, it seems that the key to solving the case was hiding in the last place anyone expected…

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Hopefully, May will bring a less scary month for us all.

Monthly Round Up – March 2020

Well, what a month! I hope you are all keeping well and that you are finding some good books to read in these uncertain times. I thought I’d have read more than I have done, but don’t seem to have had the time! There are some great-looking books on Net Galley at the moment and so my TBR list has grown considerably…

Books I Have Read

Buried by Lynda La Plante

A new series from one of my favourite authors introduces us to a complex new paragraph, DC Jack Warr. When the body of a badly burnt man is found along with the remnants of millions of pounds worth of stolen bank notes, the detective finds himself embroiled in a cold case where he may find himself more involved than he realises…

 

The Silent House by Nell Pattison

An interesting concept – a murder takes place in a house full of people but no one hears anything due to the residents being deaf. An enjoyable book which taught me an awful lot about the deaf community. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Where the Innocent Die by M J Lee

The fourth book in the DI Ridpath series is, arguably, the best so far. When a woman dies in an Immigrant Removal Centre, the coroner’s officer must try to work out how this could have taken place in such a high security establishment. This is becoming one of my favourite crime series.

 

Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins

The first in a new series introduces us to Detective Megan Thomas. Relocating due to trauma in her past, she finds herself involved in two tricky cases – the murder of an unknown man and the rape of a schoolgirl. A great start to what promises to be an interesting series. Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

Everything is about to change…

1789. Pierre and Catherine Aubert, the Comte and Comtesse de Verais, have fled the palace of Versailles for their château, deep in the French Alps. But as revolution spreads through the country, even hidden away the Auberts will not be safe forever. Soon they must make a terrible decision in order to protect themselves, and their children, from harm.

Present day. When Lu’s mother dies leaving her heartbroken, the chance to move to a château in the south of France with her husband and best friends seems an opportunity for a new beginning. But Lu can’t resist digging into their new home’s history, and when she stumbles across the unexplained disappearance of Catherine Aubert, the château begins to reveal its secrets – and a mystery unsolved for centuries is uncovered…

 

Detective Superintendent Tom Harper senses trouble ahead when the prime minister plans a visit. Can he keep law and order on the streets while also uncovering the truth behind a missing child?

Leeds, September 1908. There’s going to be a riot. Detective Superintendent Tom Harper can feel it. Herbert Asquith, the prime minster, is due to speak in the city. The suffragettes and the unemployed men will be out in the streets in protest. It’s Harper’s responsibility to keep order. Can he do it?

Harper has also received an anonymous letter claiming that a young boy called Andrew Sharp was stolen from his family fourteen years before. The file is worryingly thin. It ought to have been bulging. A missing child should have been headline news. Why was Andrew’s disappearance ignored?

Determined to uncover the truth about Andrew Sharp and bring the boy some justice, Harper is drawn deep into the dark underworld of child-snatching, corruption and murder as Leeds becomes a molten, rioting city.

 

THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN
AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer. Having left a trail of bodies in his wake, and with the police hot on his heels, it seems like Thomas has nowhere left to hide. That is until he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he climbs up into the loft, he realises that the can drop down into all the other houses on the street through the shared attic space.

That’s when the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Thomas enjoys even more than killing, is playing games with his victims. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…

Do you fear The Resident? Soon you’ll be dying to meet him.

 

DCI Craig Gillard will be pushed to his limits… But will he break?

It seems like a routine disappearance, a case of musician’s stage fright. As a senior detective, Craig Gillard isn’t sure why he’s even involved. Until it turns out the woman’s father is the German Minister of Justice, and the British Home Secretary is on the case too.

But nothing about the case is simple. How does a woman on a train simply vanish? What do you do when a trail runs cold and the pressure is on?

Before long the perpetrator has another target: DCI Gillard himself. What if the detective isn’t just running the case, but is part of it? The victim merely a lure for a bigger fish.

The answer is under the bridge. The chilling setting for the biggest challenge of his life.

 

There is an explosion at a military ball. The casualties are rushed to hospital in eight ambulances, but only seven vehicles arrive. Captain Harry Peterson is missing.

His girlfriend calls upon her old friend Dr Augusta Bloom, who rushes to support the investigation. But no one can work out what connects the bomb and the disappearance.

When Harry is eventually discovered three days later, they hope he holds the answers to their questions. But he can’t remember a single thing.

 

 

A BIZARRE DISCOVERY

An unidentified cadaver is found in a freezer in an unoccupied luxury house. No-one seems to know or care who it is or who placed it there. When DS Alexandra Cupidi is handed the case, she can have no idea it will lead her to a series of murderous cover-ups and buried secrets. Namely the discovery of the skeleton of public-school boy, Trevor Wood, beneath a housing development.

A HISTORIC CRIME

His disappearance twenty five years earlier had almost passed unnoticed. But as evidence surfaces that his fate was linked to long suppressed rumours of sexual abuse, Cupidi, her teenage daughter Zoe and her friend Bill South find themselves up against powerful forces who will try to silence them.

A BURIED LIFE

Digging deep into the secrets that are held underground leads to Cupidi’s realisation that crime and power are seldom far apart. There are dangerous connections between the two cases, which are complicated by Constable Jill Ferriter’s dating habits, a secret liaison and the underground life of Trevor Grey’s only friend.

 

Something sinister stirs in Stockport…

The police find a young woman’s body in the woods the same week a couple discover a crude, handmade doll in Lyme Park. But are the two findings connected… or a strange coincidence?

In a town full of loners and unhappy families, nothing is as it seems…

All Mr Anderson wants is a family. After his elderly mother died, he was almost unbearably lonely. Now it’s time for him to claim his own.

All Jacob wants is for Maggie to love him back. She only has eyes for the Vincent twins – but maybe he can make her see just how much he cares.

And everyone is a suspect.

 

One summer. One stranger. One killer…

Two bad things happened that summer:
A stranger arrived. And the first girl disappeared.

In the wake of the crime that rocked her community, Felicity fled, knowing more than she let on.

But sixteen years later, her new life is shattered by the news that a second girl has gone missing in her hometown.

Now Felicity must go back, to face the truth about what happened all those years ago.

Only she holds the answers – and they’re more shocking than anyone could imagine.

The heatwave is back. And so is the killer.

 

Do any of these books appeal to you? Maybe you already have some of them and would like to share your thoughts! I’d better get reading!

Stay safe everyone. 

 

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