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The Forgotten Secret

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Can she unlock the mysteries of the past?

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 her

Kindle Edition
Published March 1st 2019 by HQ Digital
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  101 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, 2019-ng, blog-tour
An Absorbine tale that exquisitely weaves together present and past!

Kathleen McGurl has skillfully threaded together an intriguing story that truly captivated me. This book introduced me to a lot of Irish history that I had not previously known. I love when a book educates me about something and how appropriate for me to learn more about Ireland in the month of March. Although I’ve been told st. Patrick’s Day is more of a holiday in the US then in Ireland? Or maybe that Cinco de Mayo? Yes I kno
Dash fan
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 h
Kirsty 📚📖❤️
I have so many good thoughts about this book. Firstly lets talk history and politics. I grew up in 70's England and remember the Troubles as they were then but as with most British history lessons in schools they tend not to focus on things that don't go well so I don't recall learning about the history of how the Troubles came about. There's an analogy in here about relationships that gave me more insight then any school lesson. Now if only the next book I read will explain the Brexit Backstop! ...more
Karen Kay
I received this from in exchange for a review.

Set in dual timelines, present day Clare stumbles upon a long hidden secret when she inherits her families old farm house.

A fairly quick read, I never deeply attached to either timeline and found current day Clare unrealistic and older timeline Ellen to be extremely naive and immature.

3.25 stars
Robin Loves Reading
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Clare Farrell has inherited an old farmhouse in County Meath, Ireland. The timing couldn't be more perfect because she had been looking for a way to end a very unhappy marriage. She takes control and leaves her husband for Ireland and is determined to make a go of it. As she starts to reupholster a chair, she finds something that looks like it might be the key to discovering her past.

The timeline shifts in this story to July 1919 with Ellen O'Brien, young, idealistic and in l
Paula Sealey
This was a pleasant, dual timeline read. In the present day, Clare is left property in Ireland and leaves her manipulative husband behind in Britain to start afresh. Items she discovers in the house prompt her to research the history of the house and people connected with it. Her investigations lead to the early 1900's, and housemaid Ellen's story unfolds as she finds herself caught up in the fight for independence from Britain.

Past and present combined nicely to offer a quick read, but I didn't
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this author's writing and this book is no exception. I know very little of the history of Ireland and this book provided quite an insight into it.
The book is a dual timeline story and although I enjoyed both timelines (which are linked together) I did enjoy the modern one slightly more. I thought the characters well rounded, and I felt I got to know them very quickly.
I liked how the author has drawn in quite current news stories into the book, for example the recent stories surrounding t
A century apart, this dual timeline story tells of two very different women, living in Ireland, and the secret from the past that links them. The insight into Ireland in 1919, the abuse of power by those seeking to annihilate those striving to free the country from the rule of England and the turmoil, devastation and destruction which ensued is brought vividly to life.

One of the people caught up in these turbulent times is Ellen O'Brien and it something she hid that is discovered a century late
Zoé-lee O'farrell
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tf

I must say I seem to be enjoying the historical fiction genre at the moment and this one is told in a dual timeline. I found it so easy to lose myself in 1919 and 2016, and when the main character in 2016 has a very similar surname as me, well that’s me done. I have to read it!!

In 1919 with Ellen, with the excitement of her new job as an upstairs maid in a small Irish town, in the height of the resistance against the British, it reminded me of Downton Abbey (which I love). In 2016, Clare Farrell
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pensive, interesting, and insightful!

The Forgotten Secret is an intriguing tale predominantly set in County Meath during the summer of 1919, as well as present day, and is told from two perspectives, Clare, a middle-aged woman who stumbles across long-hidden family secrets after moving to Clonamurty Farm to rediscover herself and start afresh, and Ellen, a young girl in love who finds herself unexpectedly caught up in her country’s fight for self-identity and independence against Anglo rule.

Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*I voluntarily reviewed this book from Netgalley

THE FORGOTTEN SECRET by Kathleen McGurl is an absorbing, dual-timeline story that packs an emotional punch which I was not expecting.

In 1919, Ellen O'Brien has gotten a job up at the big house and the boy who claims her heart returns home from school where they can finally be together. Life is hard work but she is happy. But things are about to change drastically for Ellen and she will experience hardships and heartbreaks like no other. Will she ha
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book centres around two different woman from two different eras.

Clare is living in our modern age and is about to turn 50 and living London , she inherits her uncle Padraigs farmstead in Ireland. When she first visits a seed is sown and she imagines a new life in Ireland away from her increasingly controlling husband.

Ellen lives in Ireland around 1919..She is 18 and has just started her first job as an upstairs maid in a big house. Her childhood friend has returned from school and they di
“You can research ancestry all you like, but how people actually felt and what they thought is lost in the mists of time.”

THE FORGOTTEN SECRET is the first book I've read by Kathleen McGurl and it won't be my last. It is difficult to place this in just one genre as it has so many facets to it. It's a touch of women's fiction, a touch of mystery and a wonderfully historical!

I must say I LOVE dual timeline stories as it brings to life two stories into one. And this one is no different. Centreing a
Debbie Littley
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a sucker for a great cover and it was that along with the tag line ‘For fans of Kate Morton’ that drew me towards this book and I am so glad it did. The cover also had the same feel to it as Laura Madeleine’s brilliant book The Secrets Between Us and Nikola Scott’s My Mother’s Shadow. Both outstanding novels by authors in the same stratosphere as Kate Morton and now Kathleen McGurl will be another worthy author to add to that list.

If you have never read either of those books and you enjoy t
Kerry Robinson
This novel is delightful, fascinating and engrossing demanding complete attention from the reader. 

Two women, two time periods, two stories.

Ellen, a young girl in 1919 working as a maid in a larger country house.  Set in County Meath in the midst of a growing war between the Irish and the English, Ellen is almost coerced into choosing a side despite being unsure of her feelings.  Swept up by love and loyalty, Ellen finds herself becoming involved and doing things she never dreamed of.

A hundred y
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Forgotten Secret
By Kathleen McGurl
4 stars
Reviewed on behalf of 3 Degrees of Fiction Book Blog

The Forgotten Secret was really enjoyable read which had me intrigued the whole way through. I really like historical fiction and this book was a great example. It is also the first book that I have read by this author and I really enjoyed her detailed writing style. I loved the dual timeline to the story and at first I wondered if I would be lost and confused but I wasn’t at all, her writing was jus
Jena Henry
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“You can research ancestry all you like, but how people actually felt and what they thought is lost in the mists of time.”

This quote from The Forgotten Secret is why I enjoy reading historical fiction. Fictional stories let us part the curtain to the past, to a past that is more than dates and monuments, to show us a time filled with real people trying to live their real lives. Author Kathleen McGurl succeeds in giving us two different women, living at two different touchpoint times in their li
Sally Coles
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Clare has been stuck in a controlling marriage with her husband Paul and so when she receives a legacy of an old run down farmhouse in County Meath it is the answer to her prayers, so with the support of her sons she ups and leaves for Ireland. Hoping to find out something about her ancestors she strikes lucky when she decides to upholster an old chair. In 1919 Ellen is just starting her new job as a maid during the period of history when Ireland was fighting England for independence, her boyfri ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl is a wonderful historical Novel of Ireland. It is told in two time periods by Clare in 2016 and Ellen in 1920. The characters are realistic and the settings well described so the reader will feel a part of the story. This book has so many interesting details of history, real life struggles, joys, tragedies, war, mysteries, even an element of genealogy.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are comple
Kari Marie
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book sucked me in. There was some emotional impacts and insights that were phenomenal. I will say at times the characters were hard for me to connect to. I really did not feel the impact of Mary Ellen's life but Clare and her struggles pulled me in immediately. For me personally there was no real twists or suspense but this was a solid read. I liked the background knowledge and the history. I would rate this 3.5 stars with a round up to 4 because I liked how the author emphasized the emotio ...more
Kathy Sandlin
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arc
A historical fiction story rich with Irish history. I was thankful that the author included a little history lesson before the story began. This novel jumps from the past to the present. Usually when the story goes back and forth there is a tie to the stories. It felt like this one was a very loose tie to the past. The real story was Ellen’s that started in 1919. I loved learning about the war in Ireland. . I enjoyed Clare’s story but it seemed secondary. The author did a nice job tying up the l ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to HQ DigDigital uk and netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest review
Iam totally lost for words, this book blew me away spanning 100 years this book Covered the troubles of 1916 the Magdalene laundry and many issues as I live in Ireland it was all very relevant the book slipped seamlessly between the two periods in time I can't praise this book enough and will be telling family and friends to read This ROLLER COASTER EXTRAVAGANZA OF A BOOK
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked this book because I love historical fiction, my father-in-law is (directly) from Ireland, and the description seemed intriguing. In the end, the book paid me back with intrigue and an interesting story, but it took a while to get there.

One of my pet peeves when reading is when the prose *tells* rather than *shows* and I'm sorry to say that was a frequent distraction in my mind while reading this book. It had a compelling enough story, but the characters felt flat until about halfway thr
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
* ARC Review*

The story was written as a narrative with dual first person point of views. The conflict was characters, self, and society. The characters are described in a direct characterization method. The theme includes popular ones such as war and peace, survivale, courage and heroism, love, death, coming of age, and power and corruption, but all in a way of mystery for two different women in two different time frames.

There are two main protagonist in this story one in 1919 and one in 2019. T
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and will definitely look for more from this author.So what's it all about?The historical element centres on the relationship between Ellen O'Brien & Jimmy Gallagher - she's an upstairs maid, he's a Volunteer, fighting for a free Ireland. They've known each other since childhood, and everyone agrees they are made for each other. While Jimmy is off fighting, Ellen moves into Carlton House as a maid, sharing a room with another girl, Siobhan. Ellen is trusted by ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
I like to read a wide range of books – you’ll find a bit of all sorts here on Being Anne. But if you ever pinned me in a corner and asked me to whisper the kind of books I enjoy the most, you might just get me to say “books like this one” – a well researched historical thread, a contemporary one of equal strength about fresh starts and new beginnings, a story I could escape into, a touch of romance, something that ignites the imagination and engages your emotions. And I was delighted to find tha ...more
Lynn (Ellesea Loves Reading)
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
With duel timeline, The Forgotten Secret, set in Ireland follows Clare Farrell who inherits a run-down farmhouse in Co. Meath and Ellen O'Brien, living in the same area one hundred years earlier.

When re-visiting the farm her Uncle Pádraig left her in his will, Clare's filled with nostalgia, whilst looking at the potential the run-down building has. A view not shared by her husband. Back home, with the support of her grown-up sons, she decides to seize an opportunity to build a new life for hers
Nicola Smith
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been meaning to read a Kathleen McGurl book for ages and there just hasn't been the right time, so I'm really pleased to have been able to read The Forgotten Secret. I do love a dual timeline story.

The book begins with a historical note and I was really pleased that it was there and not at the end as it gives a brief overview of Irish political history, the rebellions and the wars, right up to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. I found this invaluable as I was largely ignorant of the detail
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a lovely story. From war with its heartbreak and loss, there was also survival. There was love both in the past and present and always a hope for things better.

Told in two separate time frames from 1919 the story of Ellen and her love for Jimmy set against the Irish war for independence and then fast forwarding to an Irish woman of 2016 and her quest to build a life away from a manipulative and emotionally abusive husband.

Ellen was a simple girl who found employment as a maid. Her empl
Cheryl M-M
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story tells the tale of two women, of Clare in the 21st century and Ellen in 1919, with Ireland and its last few centuries of troubled history at the core of both stories.

The reader meets Clare when she inherits a dilapidated property in Ireland and uses this inheritance to free herself from under the oppressive thumb of her husband. After many decades of marriage and two grown children, she finally plucks up the courage to free herself from his constant verbal abuse and abusive control.

I th
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Kathleen McGurl lives in Bournemouth with her husband and cat. She has two grown-up sons who have now left home. She always wanted to write, and for many years was waiting until she had the time. Eventually she came to the bitter realisation that no one would pay her for a year off work to write a book, so she sat down and started to write one anyway. Since then she has sold dozens of short storie ...more