The Forgotten Secret

Cover from AmazonThis novel, available in ebook, paperback and audio format, is set in 1920s Ireland, during the War of Independence.

Here’s a Pinterest board that includes pictures I used as inspiration.

The novel was first inspired by my mother-in-law telling me of the guns from this era that were found stashed under her father’s barn…

Publication date for the ebook is 1st March 2019, 1st April for the audiobook and 16th May for the paperback.

You can order now from Amazon and other online retailers.


The blog tour  for this book ran from 11th-24th March 2019, hosted by the marvellous Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources.  See schedule below. There are links to each blog on this page. What a tour it was!

The Forgotten Secret Full Tour Banner

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Here’s the blurb:

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 herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

A long-buried secret

A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.

For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.


“A clever page turner that will transport you back in time to 1920s Ireland” says Stina the Bookaholic. Thank you so much, Stina!

Debbie Littley says  the two stories end up “converging to an ending that would make a grown man weep”. Perhaps I need to provide free tissues with every copy!

Zoe at ZoolooBookDiary found that the “characters do not let you rest until their story has been told”. Thanks, Zoe!

Berit at AudioKilledTheBookmark said: “There really is nothing better than a well constructed tale that both entertains and educates you” – I’m delighted to have both entertained and educated!

Fany described the book as “a heartbreaking and insightful historical dual timeline book about fighting for your beliefs” – thank you so much!

Rachel Brimble found the book “thought-provoking, heartfelt and a little tear-jerking in places” and enjoyed learning more about this period of Irish history – thank you!

Saar at WalkingThroughThePages thought I got “the balance between history and story, between sentiment and senses so right” – thank you!

Jena said “the author writes in an engaging and readable style” – thank you, that is what I aim for!

Dash Fan said: “WOW! I can’t begin to find the right words to describe just how much I adored this beautifully compelling and poignant read.” Thank you so much!

Kim over on Nemesis blog the reviewer said: “I loved the stories of these 2 women and the way Clare’s family past and Ellen’s kind of forge together” – Thank you!

On 3 degrees of fiction the reviewer found that “there were times when I felt like I was watching a period drama not reading a story”. High praise – thank you!

The review on Whats Better than Books describes the book as “a warm, compelling, absorbing novel”. Thank you!

On nzfnmblog the ending was described as bringing “a great sense of closure”. Endings are hard to write so I am glad I hit the mark with this one!

On Rae Reads, blogger Rae said it “highlights Ireland’s past in a way that made Ellen’s story especially engaging”. Thanks so much, Rae!

On Just4MyBooks the reviewer wrote a very detailed review and “felt like I was immersed in the lives of both women, living their lives and understanding their thoughts and emotions” – thank you!

“Easily the best book I’ve read so far this year” says Kirsty on For the Love of Books – I am honoured, thank you!

I want to include a long quote from Carole’s Book Corner because I’m so pleased with this – it is exactly what I was trying to achieve with this book but it was a delicate line to tread. Thank you, Carole!

I must confess that I knew very little about this time in Ireland’s history, I grew up in fear of the IRA’s bombing spree in the 1970’s and didn’t particularly want to know then about their cause, or indeed understand it.  But after finishing this I can now understand some of their reasons and beliefs.
Author Kathleen McGurl very cleverly tells us the story from the other side and is very careful not to manipulate the reader as we are shown, in 1919, how the people went undercover, helping the volunteers and what they believed in and how they were prepared to die for their cause.

On Books, Life and Everything Pam said you “really do feel that you are looking through a peephole into the past.”- thank you!

“You get two for the price of one, and The Forgotten Secret is no exception: two stories, beautifully interwoven, finally coming together in a strong and satisfying conclusion.” says Leigh Forbes – thank you!

Cheryl M-M who has reviewed almost all of my books described it as “historical and women’s fiction with a strong political storyline, and yet McGurl contains the turbulence and focuses on the people, their lives and emotions” – thank you so much!

Leah at Reflections of aReader said: “Engaging, with characters that just danced off the page.” This is the first of mine she’s read, but she says it won’t be the last. Thank you!

“An emotional, thought-provoking read with strong women finding their own way” says the reviewer at From Under the Duvet. – so glad you enjoyed it, thank you!

Delighted with this comment: “I found it absolutely compelling, and a wonderful read – the author is an accomplished story-teller, with a sureness of touch whether recreating the past or handling a contemporary story” from Anne Williams at Being Anne. Thank you so much!

Mai Taylor found it “a beautifully written book that is devastating and heartwarming in equal measure”- thank you so much!

Kerry at the brilliantly named Like Herding Cats blog said: “This novel is delightful, fascinating and engrossing demanding complete attention from the reader.” – thank you!

Over on Short Book and Scribes the reviewer said: “these two stories are intertwined in a way that I didn’t guess, which I thought was clever” – thank you, I try to keep the readers guessing!

“Well that was something special. I absolutely adored this book and found it a compelling and touching story.” says Stacy. Thank you so much!

Linda on Books of all Kinds said the book was: “a compelling and gripping story that will hook you from the very first page”- thank you!

I’m delighted with this comment that I have “a tremendous gift for atmosphere and evokes feelings and emotions with such depth and sensitivity that readers feel every single thing which her characters are going through” from Julie at Bookish Jottings. Thank you!

Bicted at Splashes into Books has “absolutely no hesitation in highly recommending this fascinating story which I found to be a real page turner ” – thank you!

Jessica Rachow said the story “is compelling, intriguing, and haunting” – thank you!

Laura said the book contained “Storylines a century apart that both contain issues we deal with today” – thank you!

Chells and Books said: “An empowering and poignant story that captivated me from the start and left me wanting more. I have to find more by the author.” – please do, and thank you!

Jo at OverTheRainbow said she felt that she’d “got to know the characters well and I’d gone on a huge journey with them so the ending had a huge impact” – thank you!

Karen at GoBuyTheBook has reviewed all my novels (mwah, much appreciated!) and she had this to say about The Forgotten Secret: “I did enjoy the way the author explained what was happening and was also grateful for the historical overview she provided” – thank you!

Ellesea described the book as “a delightful novel reflecting the lives of two women who have to overcome difficulties within their lives” – thank you!”

Jena said “the author writes in an engaging and readable style, with a few twists along the way” – thank you so much!

Sarah at Sarah’s Vignettes said the book “has everything I love in a story: contemporary and historical fiction, a mystery, characters I can easily connect with, well researched, beautifully told” – thank you!

“Something interesting , something different and a wonderful story.” says Nicki at Nicki’s book blog – thank you!

“Cleverly told, I loved how the two stories came together, each with their own share of heartbreak.” – my thanks to Julie at All Things Bookie!

Jan said: “I read late into the night finding the book so captivating I couldn’t bear to put it down” – thank you so much!

On Books and Me the reviewer said: “The two timelines worked so well with each other” and that the book “left you as a reader feel quite emotional about what went on” – thank you!

A lovely vlog review from Patricia Terrell. Thank you so much!

An “engaging read” that “moved along at a good pace” – on Great Reads & Tealeaves. Thank you!

A “multi-faceted gem that brings mystery, friendship, romance, and loyalty to a touching conclusion” says Life, Love, Laughter… Linds  – thank you so much!