Sunday, 27 May 2018

The Last Secret of the Deverills by Santa Montefiore - A Wonderful End to this Trilogy!

Love and forgiveness are the main themes of The Last Secret of The Deverills by Santa Montefiore. It concludes the fascinating trilogy about Kitty and Celia Deverill and their childhood friend, the daughter of the cook at Castle Deverill, Bridie, who were all born in 1900, and this final instalment takes them up to the 1950s.
Each book has focussed on a different girl, although the stories of the others carry on at the same time, and in this one, it's Bridie.
Also, the story of Maggie O'Leary who put a curse on the first Lord Deverill, after he took their land, that he and his descendants would be confined to roam the castle after death until it is returned to the hands of an O'Leary once again, is played out.
Bridie has returned from New York with her new husband, Count Cesare di Marcantonio to buy Castle Deverill, a place that she has always wanted to make her appear as good as the Deverill girls. Although she doesn't know it, her daughter (who she was told had died at birth leaving her twin brother, JP, to survive) Martha Wallace, has also returned to Ballinakelly to find her birth mother. But she thinks that it is Grace Rowan-Hampton because that's the name on her birth certificate.
On the way, Martha comes across JP in Dublin, who has been brought up by Kitty and her husband, as he was her father's son. They are instantly attracted to each other. What will they do when they find out the truth?
Jack O'Leary, Kitty's childhood sweetheart, also returns to the town, but now he's married. How will Kitty be able to mend her broken heart that she's tried to live with all these years?
There is a wonderfully satisfying conclusion to these stories with love and forgiveness winning over all. But I can't tell you how!
I have loved reading all these books and I'm glad to know that Santa Montefiore is writing another novel about the Deverills, starting in 1885. I can't wait!

Sunday, 6 May 2018

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor is a Truly Magical Read for the Bank Holiday!

I've loved all of Hazel Gaynor's novels because although she includes all the historical details the story needs, she has the fantastic skill to weave them into the story, set the scene, and reflect her character's emotions without the facts getting in the way.
Through her magic, I have sailed on the Titanic with Maggie from Queenstown, Ireland, in The Girl Who Came Home; I've sat beside Flora and Rosie Flynn, selling violets and watercress around Covent Garden, in A Memory of Violets; and I've dreamt of being a star with chambermaid, Dolly, in The Girl from the Savoy. (You can read my reviews here, here and here!)
Now, at last, I've got round to photographing fairies with Frances and Elsie in The Cottingley Secret, Hazel Gaynor's latest novel which is based on a true story.
Just over one hundred years ago, Frances and her mother returned from South Africa when her father was sent away to war, to stay with her mother's sister, Aunt Polly, and her cousin, Elsie. Missing her home in South Africa terribly, Frances became enchanted by the bubbling beck at the bottom of her aunt's garden, the 'flash of violet and emerald', and the 'misty forms (of fairies) among the flowers and leaves.'
However, forbidden by her mother never to go to the beck again because a young girl had gone missing in the area and had never been found, Frances tells her mother about the fairies and, to prove they exist, she and Elsie borrow her father's camera and take a photo which changes their lives for ever.
In researching this book, Hazel Gaynor wondered if there were other people in Cottingley, caught up in the fairy fever, who saw the girls taking their photographs and who also believed in fairies, so she created the fictional characters of Ellen Hogan, Frances' teacher and the mother of the girl who disappeared; Martha, Ellen's friend and grandmother to Olivia, whose story is set in the present day.
Olivia is left her grandfather's bookshop, Something Old, in Ireland. There she discovers a memoir given to her nana many years ago: Notes on a Fairy Tale by Frances Griffiths. She reads this as she comes to terms with her imminent wedding to Jack that she doesn't want to go ahead with; supporting her nana who is in a nursing home; and reviving the bookshop. And, of course, there is the gorgeous Ross who comes into the shop with his daughter . . .
The novel was written with the co-operation of Frances' daughter,  Christine Lynch, who has always believed that her mother did see fairies during those far off summers, but you will have to read this truly magical book to make up your own mind!

Hazel's next book is The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter  due out on 9th October 2018, based on the story of Grace Darling. I can't wait!