The Trouble With Secrets: The Kilteegan Bridge Story by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean Grainger

Happy Release Day!

#1 New Release in contemporary British & Irish Literature 

Book Blurb:

Kilteegan Bridge, County Cork 1958

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean GraingerFor eighteen year old Lena O’Sullivan, life is predictable and dull. A future of hard work, marriage to a local boy, and a family of her own one day is all she has to look forward to. People from her background know not to expect too much, but Lena yearns for something different.

Malachy Berger was different, for him, the world is at his feet. An only child of a wealthy, if peculiar father, a large inheritance, a beautiful house and a fine education are his due.

Nobody is in favour of Lena and Malachy’s friendship, but why not? What harm are they doing? Why is everyone so dead set against it?

Then fate takes a hand, and Lena realises that secrets and lies have bound her and Malachy in an impossible situation. And their future seems determined by events that happened long before they were born.

From rural Ireland to post-war Cardiff, Lena and Malachy’s story winds its way back to wartime Germany and occupied France in a web of deceit that threatens to destroy them both.

My Review:

It’s a given that if Jean Grainger comes out with a new book, I’m going to be reading it—having done so for most of her books, series or standalones. Of course, I have my favorites.

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean GraingerThis one tells the story of Lena O’Sullivan and her family in the Irish countryside of Kilteegan Bridge and is one of the reasons I love the author’s books so much—the authentic atmosphere she brings to her storytelling. It’s palpable. It’s the late 1950’s and apparently as in America during that time, a young lady finding herself in a family way, unmarried, was dealt with in one of several (often severe and) shameful ways.

Lena was luckier than most, however, having a loving father, Paudie, who took good care of his wife who would probably now be diagnosed as bi-polar. She tended to have manic episodes and when Paudie dies in a tragic accident, Lena is left with her fragile mother and siblings.

The baby’s daddy comes from a well-to-do family who has familial problems of their own and resides in Kilteegan House. Malachy Berger’s father carries a vendetta against the O’Sullivan’s and makes sure Malachy won’t be involved further with Lena.

I loved most of the support characters, railed against the Berger father who made a despicable antagonist and loved the character of Doc, Lena’s godfather. Eli made a great character, but almost too good to be true, and it was fun to watch Lena’s maturation process.

The trouble with secrets is that they almost always are exposed (sooner or later). The journey through the process of devising a credible story to satisfy the people of the village is an interesting one—but one I fear hangs like a loose tooth. And I have a feeling we haven’t truly gotten the whole story yet.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Contemporary British & Irish Literature, Historical Irish Fiction, British & Irish Literary Fiction
ASIN: B09V5MWCP5
Print Length: 313 pages
Publication Date: May 2, 2022
Source: Author
Title Link: The Trouble with Secrets [Amazon]  

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years…

[Truncated. Please read her full bio on her Amazon book pages.]

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four.

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

The Harp and the Rose: The Queenstown Series Book 3 by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars
#1 Best Seller Historical British Fiction

Book Blurb:

Queenstown, County Cork. 1920

The Harp and the Rose by Jean GraingerFor twenty-year-old Harp Devereaux, life should be idyllic. At university, she feels for the first time in her life that she belongs, her mother Rose is running the Cliff House as a successful business, and her childhood sweetheart JohnJoe is by her side, but the storm clouds of war grow ever darker.For eight hundred years Ireland has made numerous bids for her freedom but now, at last, liberation from British rule is tantalisingly close, if the men and women of the revolution can just hold on.
Harp, her family, and her friends find themselves in the thick of the fight, but the Crown Forces are not the only enemy. A sinister force from the past is lurking and will stop at nothing to exact his revenge.

My Review:

The third in the Queenstown series and it is a hard-hitting, high impact narrative that relates Ireland’s long struggle for freedom from the British in an entertaining novel that tells the continuing story of Harp Devereaux.

The Harp and the Rose by Jean GraingerHarp and her mother Rose have turned the Cliff House mansion where her mother worked into a thriving B&B. Now at twenty, she has a special beau in JJ, along with characters from the previous entries to the series. She is currently home from university and working undercover with the Devlin sisters in aid of the freedom movement.

Harp has recently met Marianne, a young bride given to British General Beckett most recently from Shimla, India to help stamp out the IRA organization currently causing havoc across Ireland. Marianne was given to the much older Beckett by her family and she feels lost and alone and quickly forms a friendship with Harp.

Amazing how the author develops characters sure to mirror those of the time, fleshing them out, making them real, sympathetic. The stories are heart-felt, she is passionate about her Irish history and the love of her home in Cork shines through the prose. The novel is compelling, strongly engaging and hard to put down as the pace never waivers.

The climax developed into a most satisfying conclusion and certainly as this reader hoped, but there is an epilogue that sets up an unsettling scenario with Henry’s brother, Ralph, that is obviously to be a story for another time. ARGH! Ralph is a miserable person, a despot! This can’t be good!

I have read many books written by this prolific author, some as standalones, as well as other series: Robinswood, The Tour, and the Conor O’Shea series. The Star and the ShamrockReturn to RobinswoodTrials and Tribulations, and The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary. The latter was particularly poignant. Her characters are always engaging and relatable, the stories entertaining, and most unique in their plots and pacing.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: British & Irish Literary Fiction, Historical British Fiction, Historical Irish Fiction
ASIN: B096M8FXLV
Print Length: 217 pages
Publication Date: Just released August 23, 2021
Source: Author
Title Link: The Harp and the Rose [Amazon]

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author:  JEAN GRAINGER

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

[Truncated]…

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four.

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Last Port of Call: The Queenstown Series by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – Historical Irish Fiction #readingirelandmonth21

Last Port of Call by Jean Grainer

#1 Best Seller Historical Irish Fiction 

Book Blurb:

Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland
April 1912

Twelve-year-old Harp Delaney is an unusual child, quiet and intelligent far beyond her years. She would rather spend her days in the library of the grand Georgian house that she sees as her home than playing on the streets with other children.

Her mother, Rose, is the reserved and ladylike housekeeper at the Cliff House. The local women envy her grace and poise while the men admire her beauty. She behaves not as a servant should, but as someone who belongs at the ancestral home of eccentric loner Henry Devereaux.

Nobody ever visits the Cliff House, but Harp, Rose and Henry have a happy life together, each accepting the idiosyncrasies of the others.

The day Titanic sails from Queenstown, taking with it the hopes and dreams of so many, Harp’s life too is devastated. The small port town is shaken to its foundations at the loss of the unsinkable ship, but the revelation of a long-held secret means that Harp and Rose have a much more pressing issue to solve, one that could destroy them if they cannot find a solution.

Unexpectedly, fate takes a hand, and mother and daughter find themselves thrown a lifeline, one that inextricably links them to the stories of men, women and children for whom Queenstown was the last-ever sight of Ireland as they sailed away to new lands and new lives.

Last Port of Call is the first book in The Queenstown Series.

My Review:

Those of you who have a problem reading a book in the middle of the series should be delighted to learn that this is the first in a new series by the masterful Irish storyteller Jean Grainger. Now is your chance to get in on the bottom rung—don’t say I didn’t warn you as this is already a #1 Best Seller on Amazon. There is a reason for that.

Last Port of Call by Jean GraingerThe author delights in describing her Ireland, the people, the culture, and its famous landmarks and it shows in her prose. While I must admit that the first portion of this book begins slow and includes some repetition, there is the full fleshing of Rose, the housekeeper and her 12 year old daughter, Harp, as well as the explanation of their occupancy of the grand Georgian mansion known as Cliff House. The multi-story mansion sits high above the Queenstown Bay and the entire harbor commanding a magnificent view. It is the last port of call for the Titanic (of the White Star line) before she leaves on the fateful journey that still creates chills more than a century after sinking.

The story of Harp and Rose is described as they care for the aging owner, Henry Devereaux, and the shock of his passing. Henry, a benevolent eccentric leaves the decaying mansion to Harp with whom he’d enjoyed a very unusual relationship. Along the way, we learn fascinating new tidbits about the land (fairy ring forts, castles, and Phoenicians).

Saved from being turned out into the street, they must now devise a way to stay in the old house. And then Rose has an idea. She and Harp will open a guest house. Their first guests are comprised of a wide variety of Irish, each with a story of their own, and as we get to know each individual, invest in their hopes and dreams.

The stories are immersive, gentle or suspect, and pull at the emotions. Somehow, the author manages a perfect resolution for each. However, there is one thread introduced early that is not revisited until the conclusion resulting in a cliff hanger (!). Book #2 of the series is scheduled for release the third week of May, 2021.

“…speculation based on no information whatsoever was pointless.”

I have read many books written by this prolific author, some prior to posting reviews, several as standalones, some in series: Robinswood, The Tour, and the Conor O’Shea series. I considered many were five star novels, including The Star and the Shamrock, Return to Robinswood, Trials and Tribulations, and The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary. Her characters are always engaging and relatable, the stories entertaining, and most unique in their plots and pacing. This is a great start to a new series. In for a penny, in for a pound. (Or is it ha’penny?) If you missed Ms Grainger’s Soda Bread recipe, you can find that page here.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Irish Fiction, Saga Fiction, Family Saga Fiction

  • ASIN : B08RS885CH
  • ISBN : B08WZJK285

Print Length: 476 pages
Publication Date: February 26, 2021
Source: Direct Purchase
Title: Last Port of Call [Amazon]

 

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER, USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR,
SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS,
WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 150 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dog, a chi-chon called Scrappy-Do.

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

Truncated…

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

Find Ms Grainger at her official website or Facebook page.

©2021 V Williams

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