I’m back with another blog tour today with Rachel’s Random Resources for The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl. Thanks to NetGalley and HQ Digital for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the other bloggers on tour!
Goodreads: The Forgotten Gift
Release Date: 11 November 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction
What would you do to protect the ones you love?
1861. George’s life changes forever the day he meets Lucy. She’s beautiful and charming, and he sees a future with her that his position as the second son in a wealthy family has never offered him. But when Lucy dies in a suspected poisoning days after rejecting George, he finds himself swept up into a murder investigation. George loved Lucy; he would never have harmed her. So who did?
Now. On the surface Cassie is happy with her life: a secure job, good friends, and a loving family. When a mysterious gift in a long-forgotten will leads her to a dark secret in her family’s history she’s desperate to learn more. But the secrets in Cassie’s family aren’t all hidden in the past, and her research will soon lead her to a revelation much closer to home – and which will turn everything she knows on its head…
Discover a family’s darkest secrets today. Perfect for fans of The Girl in the Letter, The Beekeeper’s Promise and The Forgotten Village!
Kathleen McGurl lives in Bournemouth with her husband. She has two sons who have both 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 published several novels with HQ and self-published another. She has also sold dozens of short stories to women’s magazines, and written three How To books for writers. After a long career in the IT industry she became a full time writer in 2019.
The first thing that caught my eye with The Forgotten Gift was the beautiful cover followed by the fact that it’s a historical fiction that involved a family mystery! I liked the way that McGurl presented the story through two perspectives, timelines and writing styles, and I found it worked well in giving the story distinct character voices. I am a fan of the epistolary format, so I liked that half to the story was told through journal entries, plus the alternating dynamics made it a pretty fast read!
We’re first introduced to Cassie as she discovers some interesting information about a (very) distant relative, George Britten, when she dives deep into her passion for genealogy. I liked Cassie a lot at the beginning as she seems to have a good solid head on her shoulders. However, there’s some information about her that is revealed at one point, and the way she reacted surprisingly frustrated me. Is it so easy to forget a lifetime of unfailing support and love so easily? I haven’t been in her situation, but I found how her hurt eclipsed a very real and loving reality was quite hurtful and irrational. On the other hand, I started off not being too keen on George. There was this naïveté to his character that made me think he was much younger than his 18/19 years, but my heart went out to him and his sad upbringing with truly the worst parents. While I found his actions frustrating at the start, I could still understand why he reacted the way he did. He was so desperate for love and acceptance that he was willing to see it at even the slightest hint of. I eventually started really warming up to his character, and by the end I was really rooting for his happiness because he was so kindhearted and 100% deserved it!
Without going into too many details that could lead to spoilers, I will say that I enjoyed the exploration of what it means to be a family in this story. Through the dual timelines, we follow Cassie and George as they deal with many surprising family revelations, and we see them simultaneously unravel as well as try to put themselves back together while figuring out what really makes a family to them. It isn’t just your birth or adoptive parents, but it also extends to friends and other important people who’ve come through your life that have played a key role in your growth.
TL;DR: This was an interesting combination of historical and contemporary fiction that explores important themes surrounding family. Both main characters had distinct character voices, and the alternating formats made it for a quick and engaging read. Although the journey to get there was a little bit frustrating and irrational at times, I found the end to this story heartwarming and very positive!
Have you read The Forgotten Gift or is it on your TBR?