An Italian Secret by Ella Carey

Secrets & Lies

An Italian Secret by Ella Carey is a simply marvellous dual timeline novel. It is the first book in the Daughters Of Italy series which promises to be fabulous.

The action is set in present day and in Northern Italy in 1944. 1944 was naturally a time of great unrest as the partisans were fighting against the occupying Nazis. All around was great danger as one was not always sure where sympathies lay. It was a time of great risk and extraordinary bravery. Rumors existed but where did the truth lay?

In present day a deathbed letter throws a character into confusion. Has her whole life been a lie? She travels from America to Italy in search of the truth.

Since 1944 there have been rumors about a baby existing whose father was a high-ranking Nazi. A branch of the family is seen as originating from a black sheep. Will the truth ever be known?

There are beautiful bonds between fathers and daughters in both time periods. The love radiates through the pages.

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A Child For Sale by Pam Howes

Heart Wrenching

A Child For Sale by Pam Howes is a powerful, heart wrenching dual timeline novel that has its roots in fact. This novel will tug on your heart strings. It will make you angry at what happened and was deemed acceptable in the past. And it will make you feel grateful that we treat others with more tolerance today.

The action is set in1964 and 2015 in Cheshire and Manchester as we follow two couples who are celebrating forty nine years of marriage in 2015. One pair are childhood sweethearts, the other couple were thrown together by adversity.

In 1964 we follow the fortunes of the young girls who were unmarried mothers and found themselves admitted (by their heartless and judgmental families) to a home for unmarried mothers, run by Catholic nuns. We witness the daily cruelty and the harsh conditions as babies were whisked away to be adopted or sold. It was an abomination and one in which the girls (even if they had loving partners) were completely powerless.

For fifty years, hearts have remained broken, always searching, never healing. A gruesome discovery in 2015 (when renovations begin on an old house) re-open old wounds and a desire to find lost babies. Significant advances in DNA testing and social media re-ignite hope in long broken hearts.

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The Mother’s Secret by Kate Hewitt

Emotionally Charged

The Mother’s Secret by Kate Hewitt is a powerful contemporary novel that had me gripped from the start.

This is a story about two mothers, both with similar feelings but at two different stages of motherhood – the new mum and the mum of teenagers. Both are English teachers. Both feel like misfits. Both lay down their career hopes to do as their husbands wish. Both bond together, as the experienced mum helps the new one as she understands her.

We see just how hard motherhood can be. The adjustment to being a new mum is hard, with the lack of sleep, a baby who cries and a husband who works away. Kate Hewitt writes in such a way as to elicit sympathy from the reader.

Being a mum to teens is a whole different ball game. There are different problems. The isolation felt is huge, after a wife and mother is ripped from her home and a job she loves, in order to follow her husband’s dreams.

Both mums suffer at the hands of their husbands’ jobs. Both are caring and compassionate. And both are fighting demons. The novel is emotionally charged. The two lead characters are easy to identify with. We understand the guilt they feel as they try to balance motherhood with jobs and external problems are not of their making. Guilt and innocence exist side by side.

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One Christmas Eve by Shari Low

Joining The Dots

One Christmas Eve by Shari Low is a delightful novel set over twenty four hours in three different time periods – 1968, 1993, 2023.

The years are linked by the female line in a family going down through the grandmother, mother and granddaughter. We follow them alternately in two hour blocks as we drop in on one Christmas Eve.

There is a beautiful bond between a grandmother and her granddaughter, partly created by the mother being a workaholic, even on Christmas Eve. “Her mum was making it clear that her other option was work, yet she was still choosing that instead of spending time with them.” We only have one life and we need to choose wisely. No-one ever said on their deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’ We need to get our priorities right.

We witness the love to last a lifetime. There may be other loves but that one big love will never die. Love has the ability to send us back to feeling like teenagers – no matter how old we are.

We see the special place in hearts for over fifty years. It is a place that one will return to again and again in order to relive a moment.

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