#BlogTour #Review #NetGalley #TheSecretOfTheChateau

Release Date: 15th May 2020 / Publisher: HQ Digital

Everything is about to change…

1789. Pierre and Catherine Aubert, the Comte and Comtesse de Verais, have fled the palace of Versailles for their château, deep in the French Alps. But as revolution spreads through the country, even hidden away the Auberts will not be safe forever. Soon they must make a terrible decision in order to protect themselves, and their children, from harm.

Present day. When Lu’s mother dies leaving her heartbroken, the chance to move to a château in the south of France with her husband and best friends seems an opportunity for a new beginning. But Lu can’t resist digging into their new home’s history, and when she stumbles across the unexplained disappearance of Catherine Aubert, the château begins to reveal its secrets – and a mystery unsolved for centuries is uncovered…

Unlock the secret of the château today. Perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Fiona Valpy and The Forgotten Village!

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My Review

We are introduced to a group of friends who have all known each other for 40 years.  They are all nearing or have taken early retirement and their children are all grown up and have left home.  A chance remark by the single man of the group, Graham, suggesting that they all pool their money to buy a property together to live in and enjoy their retirements sees him, Lu and her husband Phil and Steve and his wife Manda buying a run down chateau in the South of France.

I have to be honest and say I wasn’t entirely sure about this book.  The cover, to me, suggests a romantic read, but the blurb says differently.  The story is told through two different timelines – present day and during the 1700’s in France at the time of the French Revolution.  The ‘past’ storyline introduces us to Catherine Aubert, the new Comtesse de Verais, and her husband Pierre, who is one of King Louis XVI’s advisers.  It tells of their struggles during the French Revolution and where they are forced to escape to the family chateau – the one which in present day the group of friends have just bought.

Both storylines were equally as gripping, but I was drawn more to the present-day side of the story to discover what secrets the chateau held.  The present-day storyline focusses more on the character, Lu who initially didn’t want to move to France and once there was feeling more isolated than ever.  She throws herself into looking at the chateau’s history and here she finds long told stories of electrics with a mind of their own, a ghost that haunts the chateau and, strangely a window in the tower which leads to no room!

Switching between the two timeframes, it became obvious, to me, where the story was going.  This didn’t however, spoil the enjoyment of the book in any way, if anything making me more eager to reach the reveal.  The story was told well, and the historical writing was gripping and well-researched.  I liked Lu’s character and did feel for her throughout the book.  It did feel that her opinions weren’t really taken into account with regards to the move, particularly from her husband Phil.  Similarly, when they moved to France, she seemed the only one of the group who didn’t really have a purpose there.  I loved Lu’s research into the local history, as in her shoes I would have probably done exactly the same thing!

I have to admit that I’m not a fan of fiction set in the European countries – I’ve not been to many different countries, so can’t really relate to these places.  However, the descriptions of the area in this book have filled my imagination with beautiful images of French villages with chateaus, towers and vineyards accompanied with a backdrop of snow topped mountains, which coupled with a truly mesmerising storyline made this a very enjoyable read!  Filled with family relationships, historical mysteries and insight into the French Revolution, this perfectly paced book is one I shall remember!  Would definitely recommend!

The Author

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. When she’s not writing, she’s often out running, slowly.

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