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The Highland Hens by Judy Leigh #Review

  I am delighted to feature another uplifting romcom by Judy Leigh , The Highland Hens . It was published on 4th August by Boldwood Books .   In the imposing Glen Carrick House overlooking Scotland’s famous Loch Ness, lives eighty-eight-year-old Mimi McKinlay, cared for by her three adult sons. Hamish has inherited his mother’s musical talents, Fin is the responsible brother, and Angus has the complicated and brooding personality to match his dashing good looks. But what all the brothers share is a concern that their beloved mother is living in her memories of her days on stage, while letting her present days pass her by. Jess Oliver is at a turning point. Amicably divorced after years of being married, this trip to the Highlands is a first taste of independence. It isn’t long before the beauty and hospitality of Scotland captures her heart. When Mimi and Jess’s paths cross, a friendship is formed that will change both women’s lives.   And as together they find ways to look fo

The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen Mcgurl #Review

It is with great pleasure that I take part in the blog tour for Kathleen McGuirl's novel, The Forgotten Secret. Set in Ireland over two time periods, it covers a tumultuous time in Irish history. 


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.


My Thoughts

This is a well written novel which deals with two separate timelines with skill and insight. The two central female figures are both well- drawn and we see them develop as they gain a sense of their own self worth and ability to speak out and stand on their own two feet. Ellen is a young Irish girl who shows initiative and courage in her actions to support the fight for a free Ireland. At the beginning, she is under the thumb of her father and we see her branch out and mature. Clare maybe an older woman but she has been controlled by her husband and dominated by him. In her story, we see her wake up and begin to see the possibility that there is for an independent life.

    The background to the Irish Question has been well researched and you feel the authenticity behind the descriptions of events. Told from the perspective of those fighting for Irish independence, you get a sense of the desperation that was felt. You really do feel that you are looking through a peephole into the past. The central theme which emerges however is the force of family and friendship which can cross borders and uncover common ground.

In short:Secrets from the past are uncovered.

 
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.

You can follow Kathleen here: Website  |  Twitter    |  Facebook 
                                                |  Instagram

Book links: Amazon UK    |  Amazon US  

Thanks to Kathleen McGurl, HQ Digital and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

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