Hello Readers! Today is my stop during the blog tour and #30DaysofBookBlogs event for Mrs P’s Book of Secrets by Lorna Gray. Many thanks to author for inviting me to be part of this huge event and publisher for providing review copy.
Mrs P’s Book of Secrets by Lorna Gray
Publication Date: December 14th 2019
Publisher: One More Chapter
Genre: Historical Fiction / Romance
The Cotswolds, Christmastime 1946: A young widow leaves behind the tragedy of her wartime life, and returns home to her ageing aunt and uncle. For Lucy – known as Mrs P – and the people who raised her, the books that line the walls of the family publishing business bring comfort and the promise of new beginnings.
But the kind and reserved new editor at the Kershaw and Kathay Book Press is a former prisoner of war, and he has his own shadows to bear. And when the old secrets of a little girl’s abandonment are uncovered within the pages of Robert Underhills’s latest project, Lucy must work quickly if she is to understand the truth behind his frequent trips away.
For a ghost dwells in the record of an orphan girl’s last days. And even as Lucy dares to risk her heart, the grief of her own past seems to be whispering a warning of fresh loss.
There are no white shrouded spectres here, no wailing ghouls. Just the echoes of those who have passed, whispering that history is set to repeat itself.
*** Note: I received e-copy this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author and publisher. ***
Mrs P’s Book of Secrets was amazing historical fiction with concoction of mystery, history, romance and ghost. It was about life after war and death of loved ones, tragedy of WWII, loss, grief, setting the soul free of that loss, finding friendship and love, and haunting shadows.
Writing was beautiful, lyrical, and filled with emotion. The setting of Cotswold, in 1946- the time period after WWII and postwar effects in the town and on characters was wonderfully captured. The book was first person narrative from Mrs. P’s POV.
It started with Lucy working at her Uncle’s Kershaw and Kathy Book Press as a secretary, typist, and receptionist after she lost her husband in WWII. First few chapters were about why she left her spiritualist mother, her love for her Uncle George and aunt Mabell who brought her up, her life as widow, settling in the routine of office and her new residence in the attic of the press building, her insecurity on finding reserved new editor, Robert Underhill so close to her uncle, living in their home where she lived all her life.
When Robert and her uncle started acting out of character, she knew they were hiding something. There were gossips roaming around the town about Robert and his frequent disappearance that made her form preconception and doubts until she started working on a manuscript dedicated to an orphan girl.
What was the secret between Robert and Uncle George was revealed pretty soon. But what made the story mysterious and intricate was Orphan girl, Harriet’s story in the Ashbrook mansion. And then there was a mystery of shadowed ghost that came with dark silence in Lucy’s life.
Lucy (Mrs. Lucinda Peuse) aka Mrs. P was most interesting and my favorite character. She was brave independent soul. Her struggle as a widow, inequality at workplace she felt and society’s probing question about her rank at her uncle’s press rattled her. She was struggling with her husband’s death in war and it affected more than she realized but she faced world and her life bravely. Her love and care for her uncle and aunt was lovely to read. I didn’t appreciate her forgiveness to Dr. Bates at first. I didn’t like that man but he sure gave story a dramatic touch. I didn’t even understand why she would give him a chance and advantage but I was happy when she finally confronted him and cleared his mind. Her development in the story was wonderful. I loved the way she found love, peace and freedom at last.
Robert was caring, responsible and lovely gentleman. He also had his past and secrets. There was this constant fear if he would be staying with Lucy and the press or would leave as all said. It created uncertainty regarding his action and character but in contrary he was so sure and confident person. His development was also nice and I loved the way he supported and understood Lucy.
The bond between Lucy and Robert was great. I loved reading how Lucy’s misconception was cleared as she got to know Robert more during their trips for manuscript’s edits. Conversation between them were well written. They understood each other pretty well. Both had tragic past and they both were struggling with freedom, searching for who they really were and what they want to do. It was amazing to see their relation turning from colleague to friends and then lover. Robert’s idea of proposing was lovely and romantic.
What I loved most was historical aspect and Ashbrook and Harriet’s story. I didn’t know anything about struggle of small publishing press in this era. I was reading all the details with fascination – about the short of papers supplies, how publishing house worked, and editors taking follows ups from author. Jacqueline’s enthusiasm, her stories about Ashbrooks was magnetic. I agreed with Lucy’s thought on those stories. Even though some of it she believed were Jacqueline’s imagination, the message she delivered about legacy and memories were amazing. Diphtheria outbreak at that time was also covered through this story.
It was interesting tale and there was more to it. The old dilapidated mansion of Ashbrook made Lucy confront her own past, loss and grief. She never truly got over her husband’s death. There was that fear and mental damage buried deep that came rushing back when she got invested in Ashbrook and Harriet’s story.
Climax was clever turn in the story. It surprised me. I was curious to see if the ghost was real or not and where it was leading Lucy and Robert. The revelation came soon after climax and it was brilliant. End was good. The conclusion of justice to the person’s name and image and set free to love again and choosing the path that makes person happy was satisfying.
Why 4 Stars-
The book progressed a bit slowly which was not exactly my main issue but around climax it got really complicated. At one point (after climax, of course) I could put a finger on what was the real ghost and then that end made it confusing. It’s a kind of book that needs full concentration which was hardly possible with my daughter around. I advise you read this if there is zero disturbance.
Overall, it was interesting, intricate, and inspirational historical fiction which was both beautiful and poignant.
Book Links: Goodreads
Mrs P’s Book of secrets is on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mrs-Book-Secrets-Lorna-Gray-ebook/dp/B07SD9X1M6/
The Book Ghost is on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VQY6HJ5
Check out my QA author will be posting today as part of #30DaysofBookBlogs event on her social medias-
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already or any book by the same author? Which is your favorite Romantic Historical Fic?
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