I’m delighted to be taking part in today’s #30DaysofBookBlogs organised by Lorna Gray in conjunction with the release of her new book Mrs P’s Book of Secrets.
Mrs P’s Book of secrets can be found on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mrs-Book-Secrets-Lorna-Gray-ebook/dp/B07SD9X1M6/
And in The States as The Book Ghost is on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VQY6HJ5
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…
Mrs P or Mrs Lucy Peuse is a war widow who has returned home from Bristol to work for her Uncle’s publishing business. Originally hired to replace the role previously held by her Aunt she is tasked with answering the phone and making tea. Also recently taken on by her Uncle is Robert Underhill, who we learn has medical training and was a POW. What role Lucy’s uncle has asked Robert to do, and what role Robert seems to carry out on a day to day basis is at first unclear to both Lucy and the reader.
Somewhat bored and feeling underused Lucy is pleased when she is given the job of editing a new book the company is hoping to publish. On a necessary trip out to meet the author to discuss the edits, Lucy is drawn into the tale of the house the author now lives in and the family that used to originally own it. She is particularly drawn to a young girl whom little information can be found on and the ghost of this child as well as the many personal ghosts that Lucy holds come to the surface.
At first I found the structure of the book a little hard to grasp and I took a little while to understand the style of the writing, however as soon as I did and also began to realise that this was a far quieter and subtler book in relation to it’s plot then I was able to settle into the story and enjoy it.
The geographical setting of the book was lovely and I adored the bus journeys Lucy and Robert make. I also felt it matched the time period of the story perfectly and the post war years were well described along with the vocab and abrupt tone of voice often used by Lucy. Grief and guilt are also dealt with as did so many people at this time, and with the story behind Lucy’s parents and siblings the topics of family and displacement are another large part of the book. It has clearly been thoroughly researched and this shows through in the story.
The elements of the publishing business are fascinating and the smaller characters in the book really add to it’s feel. The plot is used to delve into the past, present and future of Lucy and Robert and to tell the story of Lucy’s search for understanding and to try and imagine what her future may hold. A thoughtful read full of little nuggets of human emotion.
Thank you to Lorna and to NetGalley for my digital copy.
Lorna Gray is passionate about understanding the past and takes much of her research from spoken history. She loves the fact that writing gives her the excuse to ask people about their memories, and treasures the unique little insights that every new conversation has to offer.
She writes post-WWII fiction and is published by an imprint of Harper Collins. Her titles are In the Shadow of Winter, The War Widow, The Antique Dealer’s Daughter and newest release Mrs P’s Book of Secrets.
She is also a published illustrator and her work has featured in a number of archaeological reports, children’s books and non-fiction titles.
Above all, Lorna loves a good adventure. She doesn’t mind whether it comes in the form of a good book, a film or rambling about the ruins of a castle as long as it is guaranteed to have a happy ending. She is married and lives in the Cotswolds, UK. She is very active on Facebook and would be delighted to meet you there.
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