Cover Image: The Forgotten Secret

The Forgotten Secret

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Ellen O’Brien has started working as a maid for Madame Emily Carlton at her grand house and her father’s happy she’s bringing in a wage. The future looks promising for Ellen, James Gallagher has returned home to Clonamurty Farm and the young couple are in love. But, Ireland’s on the brink of war, and there's lots of hushed and secret talk about Irish Independence. The Black and Tans are prowling the area, people are in hiding, others have been arrested and had their property damaged. 

Clare Farrell has inherited an old rundown farm house called Clonamurty, and it’s in County Meath, Ireland. Her extremely controlling husband of twenty five years Paul, he plans to quickly sell the farm and invest the money. He’s that full of himself, Paul hasn’t noticed Clare’s unhappy and she knows this is her chance to leave him. Her sons Matt and Jon support their mother, they want her to be happy and financially independent. Paul doesn’t take Clare leaving well, she doesn’t care and she’s excited to start her new life in Ireland. The house and out buildings need to be thoroughly cleaned out and refurbished. Clare finds a birth certificate and a communion medal hidden in an old arm chair and she wants to solve the hundred year old mystery. 

The Forgotten Secret has a dual timeline, a century apart, the story is about Irish history, secrets, family, starting over and lost love. I really liked the characters of Ellen and Clare, two strong women, and both had to overcome adversity and controlling men. 
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, my favorite book by Kathleen McGurl and five stars from me.
I have shared my review on Goodreads, Twitter, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Amazon Australia.
Was this review helpful?
The description of this one sounded great, and the reviews were mostly all positive. I couldn't get into this one, and I didn't not finish.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoy historical fiction books that have dual perspectives and time frames. This book was a decent read, but was very predictable in both time perspectives. I was hoping to be surprised by something, but all the different major plot lines were predicable and nothing really stood out in this book that wowed me. Although there was nothing crazy in the plot, the characters were easy to love or hate. And the book was an easy read. I am happy that it has gotten so many positive reviews, but for me, it was just a standard predicable read. It may be because I read a lot of historical fiction or I that I enjoy dual perspectives so I had higher expectations for this novel, but on most levels it just fell a bit short.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, this story literally grabbed a hold of me and sucked me in. I was gripped and sitting on the edge of my seat with ever chapter, right to the very end.
Was this review helpful?
A great read, couldn't put it down! I'm fast becoming a big fan of the author and looking forward to reading from her in the future.
Was this review helpful?
This is such a great book and I love the way the author writes. It was amazing and fun to read and kinda creepy and all the things. Check it out today!!
Was this review helpful?
Wow, this story literally grabbed a hold of me and sucked me in. I was gripped and sitting on the edge of my seat with ever chapter, right to the very end. 

It didn't take me long to be drawn into the stories of both Ellen back in 1919 and that of Clare in present day 2016, I was captivated right from the first few chapters. I loved how the story went back and forth from 1919 to 2016 which was done so seamlessly. 

It was highly captivating, dramatic and emotional read in places, I literally could not turn the pages fast enough, with wanting to find out what happens next and as to how it would all end. 

I thought the story was brilliantly well written and the characters are all so very well portrayed and believable. I truly felt for Ellen, everything she had to deal with as a young woman and the effects it all had on her future. 

I enjoyed this book so much that I just didn't want it to end. I also learnt a lot from it, as in the historical side of things, as I knew nothing of the troubles/politics that took place in Ireland back in 1919. So was very insightful.

As always, I'm very much looking forward to Kathleen's next book.
Was this review helpful?
I really, really enjoyed this book.  The parallel lives of Claire and Ellen living 100 years apart as they navigate through hard times in their lives was fantastic.  The book was instantly captivating and I didn't want to put it down.  I especially enjoyed Ellen's story and learning more about Irish history.
Sometimes the story felt very fabricated and there were a lot of predictable points and 'oh, what a coincidence' times with Claire, but it was a great book for escapism.,
Was this review helpful?
The Forgotten Secret is compelling, intriguing, and haunting. It’s told in a dual-timeline and held my attention and got to me emotionally the entire way through.

Kathleen McGurl’s writing is excellent here. There was some telling rather than showing, however, Ireland’s harsh past is well-depicted, and the story is moving.

I enjoyed the dual-timeline. Not every book that attempts this succeeds, but The Forgotten Secret does this so well. I loved both Claire and Ellen’s stories and how they were brought together in the end.

This is a gripping and emotional story. I recommend checking it out!
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely adored this novel! The author, Kathleen McGurl, set the scene brilliantly and masterfully created a superb plot that really appealed to my imagination. I loved her characterisation and the people she created were real, flawed and wonderful. I was completely invested in their lives as I devoured each chapter. Very highly recommended and worth each one of the five stars.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from HQ Digital via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
Was this review helpful?
The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl stole my Sunday afternoon, and I'm perfectly fine with that! For hours I was lost in the gripping lives of both of these women, and I can't help but admire this author's lovely storytelling skills.

First Line:

"We rounded a corner, turned off the narrow country lane and onto a gravel track, drove past a little copse of birch trees and there it was.".

My Thoughts on The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl 

I snapped this book up because of the 1919 setting during the Irish War of Independence, and that storyline was brilliant. As you might expect, it spilled over with tension and tragedy, and made me feel all the emotions. 

Ellen becomes entangled in the War for Irish freedom, though at times her thoughts were conflicted about what she believed in. Her journey and her storyline was the one I literally couldn't put down.

However the 2016 storyline was just as captivating. Clare has inherited a dilapidated house in Ireland from her uncle, and seizes the opportunity to make an escape from her emotionally abusive husband. Watching Clare learn to become dependent was a joy.

I LOVED how the storylines linked together, and thought they weaved together skilfully and wonderfully.

Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
This was an excellent mystery novel that definitely made me stop and think, with some red herrings thrown in along the way. Absolutely loved it!
Was this review helpful?
*Thank you to the publisher for an ARC in return for a fair and honest review. 
     Perfect for fans of historical fiction! Overlapping stories of two women, one present day and one at the time of the Irish fight for independence. McGurl weaves these two together seamlessly with the result that the reader is caught up emotionally in the lives of both women. This one is a winner. Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful?
A contemporary tale interwoven with the past. As her marriage falters Clare sets out to become independent and write her own future leaving England for Ireland.  She struggles at times with whether she has made the right decision but she  becomes interested in the history of the house she has inherited and its previous occupants who lived through very dark times in Irish history.
A really interesting and thought provoking novel which gives an insight into the violence of the conflict as well as the horrors endured by unmarried mothers In early 20th century.
Was this review helpful?
This was an engaging read set during two different time periods and centred around a farmhouse in Ireland. In the past there is Ellen and her experiences of life and love during the Irish Uprising of 1919 and the war of independence. In modern day there is 50 year old Clare embarking on a fresh start after leaving her critical and overbearing husband. The link, apart from the farmhouse, is personal documents discovered in a old armchair being reupholstered by Clare and she embarks to find their rightful owner.

Apart from solving the above mystery, the stories are separate with the only common theme centring around two women trying to get by. Both tales are easy to follow which can often be difficult in dual narratives. There are quite a few twists in both storylines - some realistic others, not so much.  I felt that the historical story held more appeal with the history of the IRA deftly woven throughout Ellen’s story. 

I like the mystery Clare embarked on and how the author used the artifacts to link the narrative from the past. Ellen’s story is interspersed with rich historical detail of Ireland’s struggle for independence with solid experiences and is a rather sad tale. Clare’s story itself was not as strong. Whilst I appreciated having her older in age and questioning life’s meaning,  it all played out a little too conveniently with her actions to leave a bad marriage after so many years. 

‘There’s something funny about being at my stage of life. OK, spare the jokes about the big change, but being 49 and having the big five-oh looming on the horizon does make you reevaluate who you are, what your life is like, and whether you’ve achieved your life’s dreams or not. Ever since my last birthday I’d been doing a lot of navel gazing. What had I done with my life?’

Overall, the story moved along at a good pace and I recommend this book to anyone who likes stories set in Ireland, with a strong focus on Irish independence.

‘The forgotten secret, buried in the depths of that old chair, now revealed and resolved.’


This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.
Was this review helpful?
5☆ Unputdownable, Mesmerising and Stunning read, that Stole My Heart.

WOW! I can't begin to find the right words to describe just how much I adored this beautifully compelling and poignant read.

Two very different women connected by different eras.
So brave and strong.
Standing up for what they believe in.

I don't want to give anything away.
But what I will say is, I enjoyed Clare's story.
After 25years of being belittled by her husband, she decides to take a stand and run away to Ireland, to live in her Uncles House that was left to her when he passed away.
Clare grows in confidence and strength, makes friends, and it's such a joy to see.

But Ellen's story BLEW ME AWAY!
I have always been fascinated with history, I can't say I remember dates etc... but I enjoy the stories.
So for me Ellen's story shone through and lit up the pages.
She tells of a story of the Irish Rebellion, falling in love, finding herself in turmoil, the trials and tribulations of war, family, heartache, loss and Love.
Her story had me deeply enthralled, and I shouldn't say This as i did enjoy Clare's story but I found myself eagerly turning the pages just to get another instalment.

The paced flowed between timelines seamlessly, as the story is told by Clare and Ellen in alternating chapters.
The plot was uplifting, mesmerising, thought provoking, heart warming and enthralling.
It's a story about love, heartbreak, danger, history, new beginnings, starting over, family, friendships, strength and heartache.
The Characters are strong, relatable, and both loveable, kick ass women that melted my heart.

The Forgotten Secret is an absolutely mesmerising and stunning read, that stole my heart.
It had me hooked from the first few pages, it was Unputdownable. 

Would I recommend reading this Gorgeous Book..... without a doubt.... 100% YES!!

Thank you to Rachel Random Resources for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
I want to start off by saying I really love the cover for this book, I’m not sure what it is about it but I’m definitely a fan! Now what really got me excited about this book was the fact it was told in dual timelines, I was a bit apprehensive that I wouldn’t be able to follow, or would get far too involved in one-time timeline and not want to go back to the other but that really wasn’t the case in this book.  I really wanted to know what was going on in both timelines so switching between the two seemed like a fair compromise!

Another great part of the book for me was seeing both Clare’s and Ellen’s confidence grow throughout their stories, there is no doubt about it that they are both facing very different situations but their personal growth and development shine through. I also liked how it all wrapped up, it a great sense of closure which I was concerned about. The only sort of downside to the book itself was that it was a bit short for my liking, I wanted more! Oh well guess it’s not the worst problem to have, I will just have to go find another book from this author!
Was this review helpful?
I went into Kathleen McGurl's The Forgotten Secret with almost no expectations (aside from excitement at both one of my favorite plot devices: dual timelines, and my favorite genres: wartime historical fiction).

Y'all, you need to pick this one up - I was so pleasantly surprised and will definitely be looking into more books from this author! I don't know as much as I would like about The Troubles (or Northern Ireland Conflict) and I found this to be such an interesting and thought provoking look into how this affected the lives of Irish citizens throughout the 20th century and beyond.

I really enjoyed reading from the perspective of a young girl that gets swept into the War of Independence after her love declares his intent to fight for Ireland's independence as well as from a middle aged woman fighting for independence from her emotionally abusive husband by returning to her family's home in Ireland.

If you like historical fiction, dual timelines, mysteries (there was a reveal I totally didn't see coming!), and strong female MCs, you should definitely check this one out on Kindle - it's only $4.99 and totally worth it.
Was this review helpful?
The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl. HQ Digital, 2019. 

This book links two stories set in a farmhouse in County Meath, Ireland.  In 2016, Clare considers leaving her critical, overbearing, unscrupulous husband of twenty-five years.  In 1919, young Ellen and her Jimmy become involved in the old Irish Republican Army (IRA).  Clare, having inherited the house once owned by Jimmy’s parents,  finds personal records in an old chair she is reupholstering.  Readers will be sympathetic to both women as their stories unfold in alternating chapters.  The  Irish history skilfully woven through Ellen’s story contributed to the book’s appeal.  

This book’s cover compares it to those of Kate Morton, but is about half the length. I enjoyed reading it more than I have enjoyed Morton’s books.
 
Disclosure: I received a review copy of  The Forgotten Secret via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Clare Farrell has inherited a house in Ireland. The old farmhouse provides her with the perfect opportunity to escape her unhappy marriage and build a new, happy life for herself.
The house is in much need of repair and as she makes a start Clare uncovers some mysterious items which bring us back to a different era.
In 1919, Ellen O’ Brien has her whole life ahead of her. She has her first job and she has found love with Jimmy. However, it is a volatile time in Ireland. A time where love and loyalty are put to extreme tests.
I enjoyed this book for the most part. Ireland’s history was extremely well researched. I was somewhat overwhelmed with the ending though, I think I expected just a little more from it.
Was this review helpful?