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The Forgotten Gift

**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?

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