The Family Secret

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Member Reviews

This book will appeal to anyone who likes historical novels 
The setting, the pace and the plot of this book are very good but it’s the characters who make this book so enjoyable 
This is the second book in a series but could be read as a stand-alone book 
An amazing read
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A great read, loved the way the characters intertwined. The mystery and intrigue kept you wanting more. My first novel by this author and I will definitely be looking out for more. Thoroughly enjoyable!
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This was a fun, well written mystery. I enjoyed it very much, I thought the characters were well drawn and the mystery was engaging. A perfect light read for the beach.
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Well-written and suspenseful, Terry Lynn Thomas tells the intriguing tale of Cat Carlisle and Thomas Charles who descend upon a small English village to solve a murder under the guise of writing a book about rural architecture.  Set just before WWII and the second in a series,  Thomas’s The Family Secret, can be read as a stand alone without sacrifing an appreciation of the context or the characters.   It is an easy and effortless book to read and fits well within the cozy mystery/light read category or genre.  I am now a fan and look forward to reading more of Terry Lynn Thomas’s work.  

Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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I recently finished The Family Secret by Terry Lynn Thomas.  It's the second title in the Cat Carlisle series.  It was easy to read as a standalone, but I think you would understand more of the characters' histories if you read the first novel, The Silent Woman (which I have not yet read.)  I was vaguely expecting this to be "historical drama", and was surprised when it actually was a bit more mysterious.  It focused on an investigator and his romantic interest, in their small town escape from London.  Rather than being the main backdrop for the events and going-ons, the war actually loomed distantly on the horizon, influencing decisions (i.e. evacuating from London.)  (This surprise is all on me - it was definitely touted as historical mystery.)

All that said, I was not disappointed in this read.  It was well-written and colourfully descriptive.  Characters were developed enough that even though you were invested in their doings, you didn't necessarily love them.  Spoiled teens, entitled adults, nosy neighbours... you'll find them all.   The plot - the actual mystery - was engrossing and intriguing, the character backgrounds giving them a bit more depth, and I loved the dramatic climax. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley with thanks to the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.   Full review posted on my blog 4/16/19:
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The Family Secret is a great mystery that is well written and I enjoyed the characters. I didn't read the first book, but it didn't really of too much. I will go back and read the first.
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I didn’t have the opportunity to read The first Cat Carlisle book in this series but that wasn’t a problem. First, I got a recap of the other story what made it easy to follow the series. This book is perfectly readable as a standalone.

I loved the historical setting in this book. Through the mystery I got a glimpse of life in war-time. In 1940 places are bombed , people can die and dreams have to change. Cat Carlisle is one of the key players. Cat is asked by Thomas Charles to leave London to run away from the danger and to escape back to her hometown Cumberland. When her friend Beth Hargreaves is a suspect of murder Cath can’t do nothing. As a strong, independent and brave woman she is back at an investigation to find out what actually happens. Cat couldn’t know in what a hornet’s nest she will end. In this little village gossip and rumours are so important that people will do anything to avoid negative comments.

A real intriguing character that stood out in this narration was Carmona.
She is a young woman with a dream in a very difficult and even unpleasant situation. The way she struggles and has to cope with truth was courageous and I loved her. The way she evolved through the story from a bit naïve to a very mature and responsible woman was very engrossing.

The family secret is well-written and has vivid characters and some mystery. I didn’t advice it just for the detective stuff, but the combination of history, adventure and well-developed personalities are the reason it’s a good story. I am looking forward to the new escapades of Cat Carlisle and her “crew”. I hope the next supporting players are even brilliant as this one!

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay
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I really enjoyed reading The Family Secretby Terry Lynn Thomas!
I loved her main character, Cat Carlisle, what a vivacious name, and vivacious she is! Her personality keeps the story moving and her attention to detail and helping others makes her admirable.  
There’s a bit of romance woven into the story as well with Cat and Thomas.  Thomas seems a great fit for Cat due to their shared interests and desire to work a lead.  
There are many family secrets hidden from the reader and they play out through the young adult children of the families.  I found myself trying to read as fast as possible to find out what the secrets are in each of the storylines!

I would rate this book as 5 stars, it was extremely enjoyable to read and was paced well with endearing characters.  

I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review.
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The Family Secret by Terry Lynn Thomas.
It would have been so helpful to know that this was the second installment in a series.
I went into this book completely unaware and unfamiliar with the characters,
I found myself really wanting this book to end.  It wasn't bad at all, just not really that interesting to me.
Characters were likable, the story was good. Just not my cup of tea.

three stars.
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WWII London is turning into a dangerous place, Cat Carlisle is eager to get out. But the mysteries in her childhood village of Rivenby make for a more interesting stay. Not having read the first installment, I was not familiar with these characters, but they are well developed and sensitive. I may look for the first book.
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I really enjoyed this novel and found it intriguing and a very easy read, which isn’t a bad thing. This isn’t your usual Detective story. Set at the break out of the 2nd World War, Cat Carlisle returns to her home town and , having been in the press for investigating and uncovering her husbands killer, she is soon asked to investigate the suspicious car accident of a local resident. Although this is the second book in the Cat Carlisle series, I didn’t feel as though I was missing out on anything, however I do now want to read the first installment as I’d like to know a little more about the Cat and Thomas and their relationship. 

Thanks to NetGalley for my advance copy of this publication.
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Cat Carlisle's friend Thomas Charles returns into her life and suggests she move back to Rivenby, her childhood village, While the request is cloaked with her safety in mind, Cat learns that Thomas has other intentions in mind. In fact, he's investigating a murder and suspects Cat's friend Beth. Cat joins in the investigation to clear her friend's name, but she's also caught in the midst of a village secret. Who is guilty? Who is innocent? 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Cat Carlisle is a very likable character, and the book is a fun read with an interesting angle, tying into WW2 and refugees. It's also fast-paced and well written. However, it isn't super engaging. And there are numerous characters to keep track of, which was confusing. "The Family Secret" does stand alone, but it might have been easier to get into if I had read the first book in this series. Note: the book contains some mild cursing.
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I found this book an easy read, it was pleasant. 
The main protagonists were likeable characters. 
It didn't excite me, but I found myself wanting to see how it all wrapped up in the end. 
The ending was adequate. 

I can see that there's a market for this style of books. Agatha Christie style mysteries, easy to read, clean mysteries. 

Thanks to NetGalley, Terry Lyn Thomas and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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A compelling story with engaging characters, THE FAMILY SECRET by Terry Lynn Thomas is sure to please historical fiction and WWII fiction fans everywhere.

​On the brink of war, Thomas Charles has been given another assignment by Sir Reginald which appeals to Thomas for one reason - he gets to whisk Cat away from the dangers of London to the country village of Rivenby where she grew up. He loves Cat and will do whatever it takes to be near her. But this quaint little place is not as quiet as he had hoped when murder rears its ugly head again and again. 
Cat is delighted to see Thomas again and jumps at the chance to spend more time with him and return to her childhood home. But as she becomes embroiled in a murder investigation, can she uncover the truth before it is too late?

The setting, plot, and pace of this story are excellently handled but it is the characters that really make THE FAMILY SECRET shine. While this is the second book in this series, you can easily read this book independently as their backstory is deftly woven throughout. All of the characters have their own unique history that pulls you in but I really loved the two young girls, Edythe and Carmona, and their friendship which is so genuine and heartfelt. There is plenty of mystery, subterfuge, and lies to keep readers on their toes and there is never a dull moment in this gripping read.

THE FAMILY SECRET by Terry Lynn Thomas is an excellent example of how captivating and absorbing historical fiction can truly be and I highly recommend it!
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No longer just the threat of war – it’s now a reality, and London’s a dangerous place to be. We’re still in the world of espionage and dirty deeds though, and although Thomas might be rather keener on pursuing his historical and literary endeavours, as well as rebuilding his relationship with Cat, it’s a tangled web that won’t let him go. But that world is really a backdrop and catalyst, sometimes making its presence felt, for a quite different story.

The setting this time is rural Cumbria and the village of Rivenby, barely impacted by war except by the influx of evacuees, a safe retreat for Cat and her ward Annie, and a return to the familiar surroundings of her childhood. But there’s been an unexplained death, and sinister goings-on continue and multiply – and, Cat being Cat, she just can’t stop herself becoming involved.

In some ways, this is a quite different book from the first, maybe more of a “cosy” mystery (and why does it always sound rather rude to describe a book in that way?). If I could make a TV comparison, I thought it was a perfect cross between the best of Midsomer Murders crossed with Foyle’s War, and that’s not a bad pedigree. In other ways, it isn’t different – it’s full of wonderfully drawn characters (undoubtedly one of the author’s many strengths), and the whole story is every bit as gripping, filled with unexpected twists and turns that frequently catch you by surprise as it races to its dramatic climax.

Cat isn’t really the focus for this story, although her sleuthing constantly moves the story forward and she’s the catalyst for many of its more dramatic moments. At its centre is Carmona Broadbent, with her controlling and overbearing mother and doormat father, who develops a totally unsuitable attraction for the rather sleazy Phillip Billings, and with far-reaching consequences.

But this is a story with a large cast of characters, many of whom take their turn to behave badly or to begin a course of action that’s unlikely to end well. There’s real drama, a few life-threatening moments, unexpected relationships, shocks and surprises galore – and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment, racing through it in a single sitting.

Do you need to have read the earlier book to enjoy this one? I’d say no (although I’d really recommend it on its own merits) – this really is a self-contained story. The author does an excellent job of touching lightly on the events of the past – in fact, I think others could learn from the way she handles it – and that outline is more than sufficient.

So have we seen the last of Cat Carlisle? Oh, I do hope not! I rarely read a series, but this is one I’m thoroughly enjoying…

(Review copied to Amazon UK, but link not yet available)
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The Family Secret is a fantastic cosy mystery with some wonderful historical detail. I’ve always been a huge fan of books set in WW2 and the author does a great job of evoking the atmosphere of that period. I felt transported back to that time with the vivid descriptions helping the reader to picture the era in their mind.

The main characters are all strong females which is always a hit with me and I enjoyed reading about them. They were very clever, together woman who fought against the sexism that existed at that time in order to break out of the more traditional roles woman usually took. They were all extremely likeable characters that I felt completely supportive of and wanted to keep reading to find out what happens to them.

The story is very gripping and well plotted with the story unfolding at a great pace . It read a bit like a classic murder story and I liked that it managed to keep me guessing until the end. This is the second book in the series and while it could be read as a standalone it is probably best to read them in order as I think you will understand more about the characters.

Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random resources for inviting me onto the blog tour and to HQ Digital for my copy of this book via Netgalley which I received in exchange for an honest review.
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This is the second book in the Cat Carlisle series, I haven’t read the first book but the story recaps enough to make sense of the characters so I don’t think it’s essential, although the story is well written, I felt it was lacking something and the characters didn’t really engage with me and the plot was easily worked out. I enjoyed her other series better (the Sarah Bennett mysteries)
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Terry Lynn Thomas is a writer I didn’t know anything about before I started reading The Family Secret, but after devouring this absorbing and intriguing historical mystery, I have certainly added this talented writer to my list of favourite authors.

In 1940, England is in the grip of another war that shows absolutely no signs of abating. Mothers, daughters and wives have sent their menfolk off to do their duty for king and country and to fight for their future. But it is not merely on the battlefield that the effects of war can be felt. With bombs falling at an alarming rate, houses, shops and buildings are destroyed in one fell swoop and lives are in jeopardy and threatened every single minute. In London, Cat Carlisle is not impervious to danger and indeed when, after a sudden disappearance, Thomas Charles reappears with a suggestion that she leaves London behind and heads back to her hometown in Cumberland, Cat finds herself acquiescing and leaving the capital. However, little does she realise that she is about to become embroiled in tangled and dangerous web of deceit, lies…and death.

When she discovers that her childhood friend Beth Hargreaves is accused of murder, Cat is determined to do whatever it takes to prove her innocence. As she begins to dig deep and investigate this perplexing mystery, she uncovers a shocking and twisted scheme that involves the entire village that puts Cat’s life in danger. An enemy with everything to lose is determined to keep Cat from discovering the truth and they will go to any lengths to silence her – even murder. But they hadn’t counted on Cat Carlisle…

Will Cat manage to exonerate her friend and find the real culprit? Or will she end up paying the ultimate price in her quest to uncover the truth?

The Family Secret is a beguiling, evocative and beautifully written mystery rich in atmosphere, intrigue and suspense. Terry Lynn Thomas is a wonderful writer who brings the past to colourful and vivid life and plunges the reader into a dangerous world that will keep them engrossed from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Cat Carlisle and admired her intelligence, inquisitive mind and determination to bring criminals to justice.

A stylish, suspenseful and meticulously researched novel full of outstanding period detail and nail-biting mystery, The Family Secret is a fabulous tale I highly recommend.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It was a bit difficult to figure the  characters and their relationships as I'd not read the first book in the series. 

Cat Carlisle has returned to her hometown in 1940's England to escape the bombing of London.  There she finds that her best friend from childhood is suspected in a murder investigation. As she works on clearing her friend she finds that the entire village is involved in a  cover-up.

An absorbing historical thriller!
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The Family Secret is a cosy, historical mystery set during WWII - one of my favourite eras to read about, especially in fiction. So, it should come as no surprise that I thoroughly lapped up every page of this book.The heroine, Cat Carlisle is a strong-minded redhead with a warm and caring streak. But, never think that Cat will lurk on the sidelines when there's a mystery to be solved or when a friend is highlighted as a suspect.When a former friend and colleague, Thomas Charles, asks her to move back to her hometown to help him with his next book - and, of course, to escape the bombings that are expected in London - she does so for two reasons. Firstly, she is looking forward to being around Thomas again (to whom she seems scared to confess her feelings), but also because Annie (her ward) is scared of bombs and air raid sirens.What Cat doesn't know is that Thomas is going there for reasons other than his next book. His real job is to investigate a murder. He can't tell Cat about this though, because she'll want to get get involved - and that could really mess things up. Cat is known for digging a little too deeply and for causing all sorts of drama - even when she thinks she has done an altogether amazing job!But, as I mentioned, Cat Carlisle is not going to take a back seat for anyone or anything. There may be trouble ahead!As the stakes intensify, other characters come into their own, bringing tension, drama, a touch of unrequited love, a lot of envy and plenty of vengeful desires. The twists and turns are plentiful, and the opposing viewpoints always keeps the mystery at the forefront.The Family Secret is the second book in the Cat Carlisle series, and despite not having read book one, this was an easy-to-follow story with enough information about the past to keep the reader up to speed in Cat's lifestory and, more importantly, her past behaviour and its impact.I'd definitely read more by this author in future, whether from this series or others.
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