Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Romance

The Stationmaster’s Daughter Kathleen McGurl 5*#Review @HQDigitalUK @KathMcGurl #Timeslip #HistoricalRomance #Railways #SteamTrains #FamilyDrama #BlogTour @rararesources #Mystery

As the last train leaves, will life ever be the same?

Dorset 1935

Stationmaster Ted has never cared much for romance. Occupied with ensuring England’s most beautiful railway runs on time, love has always felt like a comparatively trivial matter. Yet when he meets Annie Galbraith on the 8.42 train to Lynford, he can’t help but instantly fall for her.

But soon the railway is forced to close and a terrible accident occurs within the station grounds, Ted finds his job and any hope of a relationship with Annie hanging in the balance…

Present-day

Recovering from heartbreak after a disastrous marriage, Tilly decides to escape from the bustling capital and move to Dorset to stay with her dad, Ken. When Ken convinces Tilly to help with the restoration of the old railway, she discovers a diary hidden in the old ticket office. Tilly is soon swept up in Ted’s story, and the fateful accident that changed his life forever.

But an encounter with an enigmatic stranger takes Tilly by surprise, and she can’t help but feel a connection with Ted’s story in the past.

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I received a copy of this book from HQ Digital via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

MyThoughts…

I’ve read most of this author’s timeslip novels, and they keep getting better in terms of mysteries to be solved, emotional, poignant life journeys to be explored, and believable characters that you empathise with from the first page. The genealogy connection between the past and present is always cleverly done and is the author’s unique selling point, something that makes her stories both engaging and original.

Both Ted and Tilly’s stories are very emotional and poignant, Ted’s tragic love story in the 1930s is particularly touching, his honesty and simplicity make him vulnerable, and whilst you empathise with him, you are also horrified by others manipulation of his innocence. Tilly is also on a knife-edge, after the abusive behaviour of her husband, whose lack of compassion is horrifying. Her emotional recovery with the help of her father Ken and friend Jo is heartwarming, and the railway restoration society plays its part too and connects the past and present in a believable, interesting way.

The story is complex but easy reading, as it slips convincingly and effortlessly from the present to the past. Connections are made, clues given, with insights into the time and place, moving the story on, but letting the reader enjoy the experience.

The perfect escape, which will appeal to a wide audience who like genealogy, history, mystery and romance.

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband. 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.

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Posted in Book Review

5* Review Kathleen McGurl- The Drowned Village –

A village destroyed
It’s the summer of 1935, and eleven-year-old Stella Walker is preparing to leave her home forever. Forced to evacuate to make way for a new reservoir, the village of Brackendale Green will soon be lost. But before the water has even reached them, a dreadful event threatens to tear Stella’s family apart.

An uncovered secret
Present day and a fierce summer has dried up the lake and revealed the remnants of the deserted village. Now an old woman, Stella begs her granddaughter Laura to make the journey she can’t. She’s sure the village still holds answers for her but, with only days until the floodwaters start to rise again, Laura is in a race against time to solve the mysteries of Stella’s almost forgotten past.

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My Thoughts…

Laura turns to her grandmother Stella when her boyfriend and best friend betray her. Life with Stella is quiet and safe, but her grandmother worries Laura is missing out. A TV news item brings Stella’s secret past to the present and Laura is easily persuaded to help her Grandmother solve past secrets and enjoy an escape to the beautiful English Lake District.

The destruction of villages through the creation of reservoirs must leave its community with latent resentment. Even though the villagers are usually financially compensated this doesn’t negate the sense of loss and destruction of a community. Stella village is resurrected after an exceptional drought and with it the chance to right a wrong and find the answers to some family secrets buried by the water.

The timeslip between the present day and the thirties is well written and adds depth to the story. The characters are complex and flawed but believable, and it’s easy to empathise with the choices most of them are forced to make. The gentle romance between Laura and Tom is lovely and the ending when family secrets are revealed poignant and satisfying.

I received a copy of this book from HQ Stories via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review, New Books

5* Review: The Pearl Locket – Kathleen McGurl

23484425Historical BlurbWhen Ali inherits her great-aunt’s house she immediately moves her whole family in, despite the warnings that there is something strange about the place. Unfazed, Ali begins redecorating, going through the rooms, making each one her own with the help of her daughter, Kelly. But when under the wallpaper in Kelly’s new room they discover a scrawled message from 1944 Ali begins to question the history of the house as she knows it.

Her family has always seemed so picture perfect, not a blemish or a secret to be found. Yet, this discovery throws her into confusion and Ali begins to question exactly what she knows about her family and the mysteries they have kept.

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Historical My Review

The Pearl LocketThe Pearl Locket’ is another delightful time slip story, which connects England 2014 with war torn England in 1944, when Joan met Jack and for a little while they found true love.

Ali wants to sell the house she inherited from her great aunt, even though it’s close to the seaside and much bigger than the rented accommodation where they currently reside. Pete her husband has other ideas and persuades Ali he can renovate the house so they can enjoy living in it, or sell it at a profit if they decide to. Ali agrees, with some reservations and the family move in.

Ali doesn’t worry about her daughter Kelly’s current obsession with the 1940’s until the past impedes on the future and threatens their family unity.

Joan and Jack’s wartime romance is poignant and gentle a reminder of sad times and sacrifice. The story within a story unfolds seamlessly and informs the present dilemma Kelly and her great grandmother Margaret experiences.

Kelly is sensitive to the house and its echoes of the past but Ali and Pete don’t understand what she is going through, until she takes drastic action. Kelly’s life parallels Joan’s, in many instances carefully interwoven into the story. There are plenty of unexpected plot twists and the empathy you feel with Joan peaks when her world falls apart.

Like The Emerald Comb’‘ the relationship between the female lead and her husband is strained and he comes across as a selfish individual, through her eyes.

This is classy women’s fiction with vivid characters and imagery, which bring the story to life; both in the contemporary setting and the past. This absorbing tale got me reaching for the tissues close to the end but it’s worth the tears.

Tragedy tempered with hope, connects the past with present in a realistically satisfying way and makes a great ending.

I received a copy of this story from Carina UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Read my 5* Review of ‘The Emerald Comb’

The Pearl Locket by Kathleen McGurl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Pearl Locket by Kathleen McGurl
Kathleen McGurl

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