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England, 1940 After a sudden unexplained disappearance, Thomas Charles comes back into Cat Carlisle’s life with the suggestion she leave London – and the threat of bombs – to move to back her childhood village in Cumberland. Back in her hometown Cat discovers her childhood friend, Beth Hargreaves, is suspected of murder. As Cat tries to prove Beth’s innocence, she discovers England, 1940 After a sudden unexplained disappearance, Thomas Charles comes back into Cat Carlisle’s life with the suggestion she leave London – and the threat of bombs – to move to back her childhood village in Cumberland. Back in her hometown Cat discovers her childhood friend, Beth Hargreaves, is suspected of murder. As Cat tries to prove Beth’s innocence, she discovers a scheme of deception that affects the whole village. Can she uncover the family truths behind the murder and expose the enemy hiding in plain sight?


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England, 1940 After a sudden unexplained disappearance, Thomas Charles comes back into Cat Carlisle’s life with the suggestion she leave London – and the threat of bombs – to move to back her childhood village in Cumberland. Back in her hometown Cat discovers her childhood friend, Beth Hargreaves, is suspected of murder. As Cat tries to prove Beth’s innocence, she discovers England, 1940 After a sudden unexplained disappearance, Thomas Charles comes back into Cat Carlisle’s life with the suggestion she leave London – and the threat of bombs – to move to back her childhood village in Cumberland. Back in her hometown Cat discovers her childhood friend, Beth Hargreaves, is suspected of murder. As Cat tries to prove Beth’s innocence, she discovers a scheme of deception that affects the whole village. Can she uncover the family truths behind the murder and expose the enemy hiding in plain sight?

30 review for The Family Secret

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I didn’t realise this was the second book in a series, but by then I was gripped by this story and found myself catching up as I went along. Thomas Charles is back after some time away, he had been in hospital after being shot and the wound became infected. Now he is back trying to persuade Cat to move with him to Cumbria, her childhood home where he is going to write about historical places and he wants her to help by taking the pictures for his book. Cat’s childhood friend has been accused of m I didn’t realise this was the second book in a series, but by then I was gripped by this story and found myself catching up as I went along. Thomas Charles is back after some time away, he had been in hospital after being shot and the wound became infected. Now he is back trying to persuade Cat to move with him to Cumbria, her childhood home where he is going to write about historical places and he wants her to help by taking the pictures for his book. Cat’s childhood friend has been accused of murder, she persuades Cat to investigate not realising that, is the reason why Thomas bought them there. Loved this 1940’s whodunnit, I felt like Agatha Christie trying to piece together who had the motive. There are plenty of red herrings and family secrets that will keep you guessing till the end!! Will definitely be looking out for the next book in this series, the characters come to life and I am looking forward to seeing what investigations Thomas and Cat will find themselves in. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Cat and Annie moved out of London to avoid the bombing and best of all moved to Cat's childhood home town and to be with Thomas. Even better was that Cat moved into her childhood home. The description of the home is envious...a sweeping staircase was enough to immediately capture my interest. Along with all the wonderful welcomes, an unwelcome request by her friend Beth was something Cat had to deal with. Beth asked that Cat help her solve her aunt’s murder. The police think Beth murdered her aunt Cat and Annie moved out of London to avoid the bombing and best of all moved to Cat's childhood home town and to be with Thomas. Even better was that Cat moved into her childhood home. The description of the home is envious...a sweeping staircase was enough to immediately capture my interest. Along with all the wonderful welcomes, an unwelcome request by her friend Beth was something Cat had to deal with. Beth asked that Cat help her solve her aunt’s murder. The police think Beth murdered her aunt for the inheritance. We follow Cat and all of the characters as their lives intertwine around family matters and this murder. Cat was lovable, Carmona was spoiled, her mother Claris was insufferable. Thomas was very lovable, and I had hopes he and Cat would get together as they worked on finding the murderer. This was my first book by Ms. Thomas, and I enjoyed the story line and her writing style. Readers who enjoy old houses, secrets, murders to solve, a few untrustworthy characters, and plenty of likable characters will enjoy THE FAMILY SECRET. 5/5 This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    booksofallkinds

    *I voluntarily reviewed this book from Netgalley A compelling story with engaging characters, THE FAMILY SECRET by Terry Lynn Thomas is sure to please historical fiction and WWII fiction fans everywhere. ​On the brink of war, Thomas Charles has been given another assignment by Sir Reginald which appeals to Thomas for one reason - he gets to whisk Cat away from the dangers of London to the country village of Rivenby where she grew up. He loves Cat and will do whatever it takes to be near her. But t *I voluntarily reviewed this book from Netgalley A compelling story with engaging characters, THE FAMILY SECRET by Terry Lynn Thomas is sure to please historical fiction and WWII fiction fans everywhere. ​On the brink of war, Thomas Charles has been given another assignment by Sir Reginald which appeals to Thomas for one reason - he gets to whisk Cat away from the dangers of London to the country village of Rivenby where she grew up. He loves Cat and will do whatever it takes to be near her. But this quaint little place is not as quiet as he had hoped when murder rears its ugly head again and again. Cat is delighted to see Thomas again and jumps at the chance to spend more time with him and return to her childhood home. But as she becomes embroiled in a murder investigation, can she uncover the truth before it is too late? The setting, plot, and pace of this story are excellently handled but it is the characters that really make THE FAMILY SECRET shine. While this is the second book in this series, you can easily read this book independently as their backstory is deftly woven throughout. All of the characters have their own unique history that pulls you in but I really loved the two young girls, Edythe and Carmona, and their friendship which is so genuine and heartfelt. There is plenty of mystery, subterfuge, and lies to keep readers on their toes and there is never a dull moment in this gripping read. THE FAMILY SECRET by Terry Lynn Thomas is an excellent example of how captivating and absorbing historical fiction can truly be and I highly recommend it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Wild

    The second in the entertaining Cat Carlisle mysteries set during WWII. Cat has moved back to her childhood home in Cumberland in the North of England and soon finds herself embroiled in helping to solve a murder case involving an old friend. This is another easy, fast paced read. The plot has plenty of twists and turns and kept me eagerly turning the pages. The characters are very believable and realistic, although they did seem to imbibe quite a bit of brandy! The local off licence must have bee The second in the entertaining Cat Carlisle mysteries set during WWII. Cat has moved back to her childhood home in Cumberland in the North of England and soon finds herself embroiled in helping to solve a murder case involving an old friend. This is another easy, fast paced read. The plot has plenty of twists and turns and kept me eagerly turning the pages. The characters are very believable and realistic, although they did seem to imbibe quite a bit of brandy! The local off licence must have been doing a roaring trade. Cheers! 😁 There’s a good sense of time and place and this, along with the love interest, creates a great atmosphere. The Family Secret is a captivating and absorbing murder mystery, an excellent follow up to The Silent Woman. I look forward to reading Cat’s next adventure.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Midwood

    “The Family Secret” is a wonderful follow-up to the historical bestseller, “The Silent Woman,” though both books can be read as standalones. Fast-forward a few years and this time the action takes place in 1940, with the threat of Hitler’s invasion hanging over London. Still not fully recovered from his last mission’s injuries, Thomas receives a new assignment from his boss, and once again Cat plays quite an important part in it. Together, they move to the countryside - officially, to work on a “The Family Secret” is a wonderful follow-up to the historical bestseller, “The Silent Woman,” though both books can be read as standalones. Fast-forward a few years and this time the action takes place in 1940, with the threat of Hitler’s invasion hanging over London. Still not fully recovered from his last mission’s injuries, Thomas receives a new assignment from his boss, and once again Cat plays quite an important part in it. Together, they move to the countryside - officially, to work on a book; unofficially - to investigate a murder of a former spy and codebreaker, Win. Soon, both learn that a seemingly quiet countryside conceals quite a few secrets, among which a smuggler who works with a ring of Nazi spies. “The Family Secret” is both very a well-written historical fiction and also a mystery, with clever plot twists and intriguing characters. Carmona was perhaps one of the most memorable ones - a young girl from a good family with a dream of becoming a doctor who loses her head over a notorious scoundrel, Phillip, who is quite possibly complicit in a murder, according to rumors. Her character development, and particularly the way she was forced to mature in the final few chapters, was the most fascinating of all, and I couldn’t help but hope for things to turn out well for her in the end. Family relationships play quite an important part in this novel as well, bringing up such important issues as the importance of communication between a mother and a daughter, respect of one’s child’s self-determination, and the damaging effects of parental bullying. I also found certain aspects concerning feminism very smartly woven into the narration without being too obvious - the scene in which Cat accuses Thomas of not trusting her “woman’s intuition” when he so readily relies on his all the time was spot on, and I loved Thomas’s reaction to it as well. Overall, it was a riveting story with a meticulously researched setting and a set of unforgettable characters. I would definitely recommend it to all fans of historical fiction and mystery genres.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jena Henry

    The Family Secret is made to be a winter-time read. With a solid bit of history, many varied and intriguing characters, and a brooding writing style that accentuates the environment of mystery, this book is one that will see you through a cold evening at home. This is not a beach read, or light romance. I enjoyed this book because every page brought something surprising or puzzling. Once you start, you won’t want to put this book down-it is that well-written. The story begins with us getting to The Family Secret is made to be a winter-time read. With a solid bit of history, many varied and intriguing characters, and a brooding writing style that accentuates the environment of mystery, this book is one that will see you through a cold evening at home. This is not a beach read, or light romance. I enjoyed this book because every page brought something surprising or puzzling. Once you start, you won’t want to put this book down-it is that well-written. The story begins with us getting to know, or if you have read the first book in the the Cat Carlisle series, getting reacquainted with Cat, her friend Thomas Charles, and Thomas’s boss, Sir Reginald. London is holding its breath, waiting for a German attack that will surely come now that the Second World War has started. Thomas convinces Cat to move back to Rivenby, a village in Cumberland that will be safer for Cat and her ward, young Annie. Cat and Thomas are in the beginnings of a relationship, so she agrees to move back to the village where she grew up, to a village where everybody knows everything about everyone. And this is how Cat finds herself in the midst of solving one murder, and then, two violent deaths. The villagers are great people to read about, and each one has a secret and enough problems to warrant suspicion. Phillip, is a scoundrel and too handsome for his own good. Friends Edythe and Carmona were two of my favorite characters, and each one does her best to get to the bottom of the problems in the village and each grows up as they deal with the past and the present. And what is going on with the Broadbent family? Many townsfolk think they know the answers. There are some lovely parts to this book. Here is one of my favorite quotes. “The Rowan Tree. All you have to do is touch the tree and ask your question. If you ask with love in your heart, the tree will guide you.” You will be rewarded with a satisfying conclusion when you see how history and family secrets collide. Although Cat and Thomas are introduced in the first book in the series, and it is probably interesting to have learned more about them, I had no trouble reading the second book as a stand-alone. Highly recommend. Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and Rachel’s Random Resource for a review copy. This is my honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Skyesmum

    I found this book an easy read, it was pleasant. The main protagonists were likeable characters. It didn't excite me, but I found myself wanting to see how it all wrapped up in the end. The ending was adequate. I can see that there's a market for this style of books. Agatha Christie style mysteries, easy to read, clean mysteries. Thanks to NetGalley, Terry Lyn Thomas and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. I found this book an easy read, it was pleasant. The main protagonists were likeable characters. It didn't excite me, but I found myself wanting to see how it all wrapped up in the end. The ending was adequate. I can see that there's a market for this style of books. Agatha Christie style mysteries, easy to read, clean mysteries. Thanks to NetGalley, Terry Lyn Thomas and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    uolevi lahti

    This was the second book. There is just something about a proper English who done it? With the tea and toast in a rack.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Seema Rao

    Fast-paced ~ Enjoyable ~ Appealing tl: dr: During World War II in a small town a charming girl helps solve a crime. This book is perfect for a lover of historic mysteries or World War II. It reminds me of Foyle's War, in that the main character is very appealing, and the war is a backdrop to local crime. I find it quite different than MacNeal's Maggie Hope series, which I despise. Cat, the main character, is incredibly likable. The pacing is quick but believable. And, there is even a little love. Fast-paced ~ Enjoyable ~ Appealing tl: dr: During World War II in a small town a charming girl helps solve a crime. This book is perfect for a lover of historic mysteries or World War II. It reminds me of Foyle's War, in that the main character is very appealing, and the war is a backdrop to local crime. I find it quite different than MacNeal's Maggie Hope series, which I despise. Cat, the main character, is incredibly likable. The pacing is quick but believable. And, there is even a little love. All in all a quick and enjoyable mystery. 3.5

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    No longer just the threat of war – it’s now a reality, and London’s a dangerous place to be. We’re still in the world of espionage and dirty deeds though, and although Thomas might be rather keener on pursuing his historical and literary endeavours, as well as rebuilding his relationship with Cat, it’s a tangled web that won’t let him go. But that world is really a backdrop and catalyst, sometimes making its presence felt, for a quite different story. The setting this time is rural Cumbria and th No longer just the threat of war – it’s now a reality, and London’s a dangerous place to be. We’re still in the world of espionage and dirty deeds though, and although Thomas might be rather keener on pursuing his historical and literary endeavours, as well as rebuilding his relationship with Cat, it’s a tangled web that won’t let him go. But that world is really a backdrop and catalyst, sometimes making its presence felt, for a quite different story. The setting this time is rural Cumbria and the village of Rivenby, barely impacted by war except by the influx of evacuees, a safe retreat for Cat and her ward Annie, and a return to the familiar surroundings of her childhood. But there’s been an unexplained death, and sinister goings-on continue and multiply – and, Cat being Cat, she just can’t stop herself becoming involved. In some ways, this is a quite different book from the first, maybe more of a “cosy” mystery (and why does it always sound rather rude to describe a book in that way?). If I could make a TV comparison, I thought it was a perfect cross between the best of Midsomer Murders crossed with Foyle’s War, and that’s not a bad pedigree. In other ways, it isn’t different – it’s full of wonderfully drawn characters (undoubtedly one of the author’s many strengths), and the whole story is every bit as gripping, filled with unexpected twists and turns that frequently catch you by surprise as it races to its dramatic climax. Cat isn’t really the focus for this story, although her sleuthing constantly moves the story forward and she’s the catalyst for many of its more dramatic moments. At its centre is Carmona Broadbent, with her controlling and overbearing mother and doormat father, who develops a totally unsuitable attraction for the rather sleazy Phillip Billings, and with far-reaching consequences. But this is a story with a large cast of characters, many of whom take their turn to behave badly or to begin a course of action that’s unlikely to end well. There’s real drama, a few life-threatening moments, unexpected relationships, shocks and surprises galore – and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment, racing through it in a single sitting. Do you need to have read the earlier book to enjoy this one? I’d say no (although I’d really recommend it on its own merits) – this really is a self-contained story. The author does an excellent job of touching lightly on the events of the past – in fact, I think others could learn from the way she handles it – and that outline is more than sufficient. So have we seen the last of Cat Carlisle? Oh, I do hope not! I rarely read a series, but this is one I’m thoroughly enjoying…

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lel Budge

    I Thomas Charles returns to Cat Carlisle’s life after months without contact, he had been shot during an investigation, the wound got infected, so he was hospitalised for some time. Cat believes he wants her help with a book that he plans to write about historic places and wants her to take the pictures. He asks her to accompany him to Rivenby, a small village in Cumberland, which by ‘coincidence ‘ is the village she spent her childhood in… What she doesn’t know is that Thomas has been recruited t I Thomas Charles returns to Cat Carlisle’s life after months without contact, he had been shot during an investigation, the wound got infected, so he was hospitalised for some time. Cat believes he wants her help with a book that he plans to write about historic places and wants her to take the pictures. He asks her to accompany him to Rivenby, a small village in Cumberland, which by ‘coincidence ‘ is the village she spent her childhood in… What she doesn’t know is that Thomas has been recruited to monitor an investigation into the murder of a local woman, Win Billings. Cat’s childhood friend has been accused of the murder and soon Thomas and Cat are investigating the same murder and things really begin heat up.. This is a classic whodunit, set in the 1940’s and reminded me of the writing of Josephine Tey, charming and yet full of tension. An absolute credit to Terry Lynn Thomas’ writing. I really enjoyed the historical elements of the story, the fashion, food and the language which I felt brought the story to life and the characters were so well done, I really disliked Phillip…..what nasty piece of work he was. I’ll be looking out for more from this author for certain….. Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for a free copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest, unbiased review

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shaelene (aGirlWithBookss)

    The wonderful author saw my review of The Silent Woman on Instagram and sent me a finished ebook of The Family Secret to read via NetGalley. This book was everything that I expected it to be! Cat has an insatiable hunger and curiosity where mysterious deaths and going on’s are concerned, as well as a generous and helpful nature. She really struggles to let herself fall in love with Thomas as her previous relationship was a bit of a disaster. Hopefully by the next book they will be getting marrie The wonderful author saw my review of The Silent Woman on Instagram and sent me a finished ebook of The Family Secret to read via NetGalley. This book was everything that I expected it to be! Cat has an insatiable hunger and curiosity where mysterious deaths and going on’s are concerned, as well as a generous and helpful nature. She really struggles to let herself fall in love with Thomas as her previous relationship was a bit of a disaster. Hopefully by the next book they will be getting married🤞🏻 I loved the mystery and small town war-time vibe of the book. The pacing and plotting was perfect, never a dull moment, each chapter went deeper into the mystery. We were also introduced to two lovely strong female characters- Carmona and Edyth. Edyth suspects that Carmona’s father has been embezzling money from her dead fathers estate. And Carmona sets out to prove her wrong only to become suspicious of her father. The resulting mystery brings real character devolepment and plenty of shocking revelation for the two girls and Cat. I was hoping to see Annie’s character grow into herself a bit more in this book. She is present at the start but throughout is only briefly mentioned. I’m excited to see what Thomas will do with her character development. This book is a page turner that had me sucked in from the very beginning and kept me engaged the entire time. 4.5 stars. Such an enjoyable series, looking forward to the next book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    The Family Secret by Terry Lynn Thomas is a fabulous historical thriller set in 1940. It is a time of suspicion and mistrust, of spies and agents, of greed and power. The backdrop to the action is Cumbria. The peaceful village location contrasts with the thrilling action. When money and power dominate, people are corrupted. “Never underestimate the corruptive power of money.” Pound signs mean little else can be seen. People will do just about anything to achieve their monetary goal. Teens on the br The Family Secret by Terry Lynn Thomas is a fabulous historical thriller set in 1940. It is a time of suspicion and mistrust, of spies and agents, of greed and power. The backdrop to the action is Cumbria. The peaceful village location contrasts with the thrilling action. When money and power dominate, people are corrupted. “Never underestimate the corruptive power of money.” Pound signs mean little else can be seen. People will do just about anything to achieve their monetary goal. Teens on the brink of adulthood feature. It is a tense time as young girls try to break into the grown up world. The females are the dominant characters in the book. On the whole they have the brains and strength of character to do the right thing. There are some very modern women trying to break out of their traditional roles. Amateur sleuthing is the order of the day. The rumour mill means a small village hides no secrets – or does it? The Family Secret was a fabulous and gripping novel that gave the reader a glimpse into a bygone age as well as entertaining them with crimes to be solved. A fantastic read set against the backdrop of war. I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carolynn (All the Books and Chocolate)

    **3.5** Overall I enjoyed this book, it kept me engaged, the story and the characters were great. The mystery itself left a little to be desired as it didn’t really feel like there was much in the way or stakes. Though this was told in the third person, I still felt like in some ways there was to many points ov view. I would have preferred that this be told from Cat’s perspective. Because it was told in the third person, there seemed to be too many main characters, many of these characters were n **3.5** Overall I enjoyed this book, it kept me engaged, the story and the characters were great. The mystery itself left a little to be desired as it didn’t really feel like there was much in the way or stakes. Though this was told in the third person, I still felt like in some ways there was to many points ov view. I would have preferred that this be told from Cat’s perspective. Because it was told in the third person, there seemed to be too many main characters, many of these characters were not all that important so it did seem silly to spend time on them in this way. This book is part of a series, and while I have not read the first book, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. The only thing I felt like I may have missed was the background to Cat and Thomas’s relationship, though that was filled enough for me to understand. All in all, this is an entertaining historical mystery.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    What a treat it was to get a review copy from this fine author! Set in my fave historic era — England early in WWII — it is Book 2 in the Cat Carlisle series but reads beautifully on its own. The author’s style is elegantly spare, characters fully developed, plot lines just pull you through as you wait anxiously to see if photog Cat will end up with writer/spy Thomas Charles as they unravel unexplained deaths and all manner of intrigue in the picturesque English countryside. 5 of 5 Stars. I thank What a treat it was to get a review copy from this fine author! Set in my fave historic era — England early in WWII — it is Book 2 in the Cat Carlisle series but reads beautifully on its own. The author’s style is elegantly spare, characters fully developed, plot lines just pull you through as you wait anxiously to see if photog Cat will end up with writer/spy Thomas Charles as they unravel unexplained deaths and all manner of intrigue in the picturesque English countryside. 5 of 5 Stars. I thank the author for the great privilege of doing this review! Available on Amazon. Pub date: March 1, 2019.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angela Sanford

    The second book in the Cat Carlisle series will not disappoint! Author Terry Lynn Thomas continues to keep her readers intrigued with a combination of historical fiction and a mystery filled novel. Cat finds herself back in the village where she grew up thanks to the slight maneuvering of Thomas Charles. Under the guise of writing more of his historical books, Thomas is looking into the murder of a previous operative but will Cat stay in the background and prove to be docile? Will Cat stand by a The second book in the Cat Carlisle series will not disappoint! Author Terry Lynn Thomas continues to keep her readers intrigued with a combination of historical fiction and a mystery filled novel. Cat finds herself back in the village where she grew up thanks to the slight maneuvering of Thomas Charles. Under the guise of writing more of his historical books, Thomas is looking into the murder of a previous operative but will Cat stay in the background and prove to be docile? Will Cat stand by and let those that are innocent be charged for murder? I am so excited to read the third book in this amazing series!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jrobert

    The 2nd in the series of the Cat Carlisle mysteries. This one started out like a romance novel—-not my cup of tea but I stayed with it as the mystery unraveled. I liked the weaving of characters in this small country village north of London during WW2. Cat and Thomas investigate the murders of 2 villagers with the help of her best friend, Beth and her daughter Edyth, Cameron, and Miss Hinch. It was a quick easy, summer, no brainer read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sharlene

    Book 2 of the Cat Carlisle series was just as enjoyable as book one. I love these characters and really enjoyed meeting some news as the series moved out of the city and into the countryside. Lots of twists and turns made for a very exciting read. 5 stars.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jen LaRowe

    I thought this book was ok. It had the story to be great, but sometimes the characters felt too flat for me. It had a group of supporting characters that we're introduced with a lot of background, but then those characters weren't seen through the second half of the book. Overall I give it 3 stars because it did have a good story. I thought this book was ok. It had the story to be great, but sometimes the characters felt too flat for me. It had a group of supporting characters that we're introduced with a lot of background, but then those characters weren't seen through the second half of the book. Overall I give it 3 stars because it did have a good story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maria McDonald

    Maybe I should have read the first book in the Cat Carlisle series first. I was a bit lost in the first few chapters even though there was a lot of background information, just too many characters to catch up with. I did get into the story and quite enjoyed it. It painted a realistic picture of life in London and the evacuees at the beginning of the war, however, I never really got to understand Cat’s character, or exactly what Thomas’s role was. Thank you to HQ Digital and to Netgalley for my c Maybe I should have read the first book in the Cat Carlisle series first. I was a bit lost in the first few chapters even though there was a lot of background information, just too many characters to catch up with. I did get into the story and quite enjoyed it. It painted a realistic picture of life in London and the evacuees at the beginning of the war, however, I never really got to understand Cat’s character, or exactly what Thomas’s role was. Thank you to HQ Digital and to Netgalley for my complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    L.S.

    The Family Secret is a cosy, historical mystery set during WWII - one of my favourite eras to read about, especially in fiction. So, it should come as no surprise that I thoroughly lapped up every page of this book.The heroine, Cat Carlisle is a strong-minded redhead with a warm and caring streak. But, never think that Cat will lurk on the sidelines when there's a mystery to be solved or when a friend is highlighted as a suspect.When a former friend and colleague, Thomas Charles, asks her to mov The Family Secret is a cosy, historical mystery set during WWII - one of my favourite eras to read about, especially in fiction. So, it should come as no surprise that I thoroughly lapped up every page of this book.The heroine, Cat Carlisle is a strong-minded redhead with a warm and caring streak. But, never think that Cat will lurk on the sidelines when there's a mystery to be solved or when a friend is highlighted as a suspect.When a former friend and colleague, Thomas Charles, asks her to move back to her hometown to help him with his next book - and, of course, to escape the bombings that are expected in London - she does so for two reasons. Firstly, she is looking forward to being around Thomas again (to whom she seems scared to confess her feelings), but also because Annie (her ward) is scared of bombs and air raid sirens.What Cat doesn't know is that Thomas is going there for reasons other than his next book. His real job is to investigate a murder. He can't tell Cat about this though, because she'll want to get get involved - and that could really mess things up. Cat is known for digging a little too deeply and for causing all sorts of drama - even when she thinks she has done an altogether amazing job!But, as I mentioned, Cat Carlisle is not going to take a back seat for anyone or anything. There may be trouble ahead!As the stakes intensify, other characters come into their own, bringing tension, drama, a touch of unrequited love, a lot of envy and plenty of vengeful desires. The twists and turns are plentiful, and the opposing viewpoints always keeps the mystery at the forefront.The Family Secret is the second book in the Cat Carlisle series, and despite not having read book one, this was an easy-to-follow story with enough information about the past to keep the reader up to speed in Cat's lifestory and, more importantly, her past behaviour and its impact.I'd definitely read more by this author in future, whether from this series or others.

  22. 4 out of 5

    The Bookend Diner

    When Thomas Charles returns to Cat Carlisle’s life after months without contact, Cat thinks that it is because he needs her help with a book that he plans to write. When he asks her to accompany him to Rivenby, a small town just outside of London, she assumes that it is a complete coincidence that this is actually her childhood village. What she doesn’t realize is that Thomas has been recruited to oversee an investigation into the murder of a local woman, Win Billings. Once Cat arrives, the myst When Thomas Charles returns to Cat Carlisle’s life after months without contact, Cat thinks that it is because he needs her help with a book that he plans to write. When he asks her to accompany him to Rivenby, a small town just outside of London, she assumes that it is a complete coincidence that this is actually her childhood village. What she doesn’t realize is that Thomas has been recruited to oversee an investigation into the murder of a local woman, Win Billings. Once Cat arrives, the mystery begins to unfold before her. Not only has her childhood best friend been accused of murdering Win but someone else approaches Cat with the possibility of another suspect. Before they know it, both Thomas and Cat are investigating the same murder and things really begin to spiral out of control. It's been a while since I’ve read a classic whodunit, especially one that is set in 1940. I was pleasantly surprised by the building of suspense between the characters in “The Family Secret” by Terry Lynn Thomas. With every new introduction of a character, I looked for clues as to who could have been the one to kill Win Billings- believe me the list is long. I was also taken by surprise as to the additional twist in the story so early on. Eagerly, I kept reading looking for more clues. The setting for this story was masterfully told in such a way that it seemed as if the village of Rivenby was appearing before me. The historical context that was given regarding the impending German attack was interesting to me as many novels written during this time focus solely on bringing up facts about the war as frequently as they can. But, that wasn’t the case with this novel; Terry Lynn Thomas told the story of Cat and Thomas while adding bits and pieces of information about what was going on with the war. I loved the way that the author incorporated phrases, cars, clothes and other pieces that were specific to that era. I also would like to point out that the author did a subperb job of creating the town scoundrel, Phillip Billings. I detested him and dreaded when his character would be discussed or the chapter would be told focused on him. It takes skill to create a character that is so easily detested. The only problem that I ran in to was that I wish I had read “The Silent Woman”, which is the first Cat Carlisle novel by Terry Lynn Thomas. I think that I likely missed out on the character development of Cat and Thomas. The first page really hit the ground running and left me thinking “wait, what? I need to know more about these two.” Fear not, I plan on picking up a copy of that novel tomorrow! Thank you to Terry Lynn Thomas, Harper Collins Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC of “The Family Secret”.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rekha

    The Family Secret is a very charming and interesting Historical Fiction. Set during WW2, one gets to read about how the London Bombings and sirens affected people psychologically. Annie, a teenager who lives with Cat, spends many a sleepless night in London. A car backfiring is enough to get her on her nerves. As she moves to the calm village, she seems to be relaxed. The evacuees from London and other major cities who are given a place to stay in the villages - the villagers can take in one fam The Family Secret is a very charming and interesting Historical Fiction. Set during WW2, one gets to read about how the London Bombings and sirens affected people psychologically. Annie, a teenager who lives with Cat, spends many a sleepless night in London. A car backfiring is enough to get her on her nerves. As she moves to the calm village, she seems to be relaxed. The evacuees from London and other major cities who are given a place to stay in the villages - the villagers can take in one family (mother and children) until the war ends. The story also inclines towards women and their roles during the war. There's Win, a cryptographer whose help was well appreciated during WW1. Claris Broadbent, who is in charge of hosting charity events, takes care of the evacuees and whatnot. Cat Carlisle, a strong and independent woman who survives through whatever life throws in her path. Carmona, an eighteen-year-old girl who acts mature enough to understand people and their choices. Speaking of Carmona, there were times when I wished I could warn her. She falls in love with a man who uses her to his advantage. Being with an unsupportive and overly strict mother, Carmona finds love in a man who is accused of theft and probably murder too. Thomas is torn between his lady love Cat and his job. He lies to Cat about the real reason behind asking her to go to her hometown. This does cause a bit of tension between them but love heals all wounds, isn't it? I loved the essence of mystery in the story. Two murders had something common in them. But what could it be? Hint: it was world war 2 and Hitler was slowing gaining power, so is it possible that this had something to do with the murders? Did Win's past finally catch up? Each and every character in the story plays a unique role. Philip Billings is a playboy and a fraud. Though his character is portrayed in a slightly negative way, I liked his role in the story. Even the constables who play a tiny role in the story bring out something new to the story. The identity of the murderer was unexpected. The last few chapters were interesting and kept me on the edge of my seat. (The readers are in for a nail-biting adventure towards the end of the story.) Terry Lynn Thomas has done an excellent job in keeping her readers hooked on to the story. Her storytelling skills are simply perfect. I was hooked on to the story. The story is such that the ending of every chapter, the mysteries and the twists makes the reader curious. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am looking forward to reading more of Cat Carlisle mysteries in the future.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chrissi

    As air raids threaten London's people, evacuations become inevitable ... almost inevitable as whispers and a mysterious death in a small English village. I have not yet read the first book of the series, but it seemed like book two could mostly rest on its own. I dropped in on Thomas and Cat in The Family Secret. Thomas shows up in London after disappearing for a bit and convinces Cat Carlisle, the woman he met and worked with in book one, to leave the city for her home village. After all, Londo As air raids threaten London's people, evacuations become inevitable ... almost inevitable as whispers and a mysterious death in a small English village. I have not yet read the first book of the series, but it seemed like book two could mostly rest on its own. I dropped in on Thomas and Cat in The Family Secret. Thomas shows up in London after disappearing for a bit and convinces Cat Carlisle, the woman he met and worked with in book one, to leave the city for her home village. After all, London won't be spared bombings during the war, that is for certain, and he wants to be sure she's safe. Just ... safe ... Upon arriving in Rivenby, the gossip about a local woman's death is already afoot. Cat hears it from her childhood friend Beth, who is suspected in the murder. There are plenty of underhanded dealings, eavesdroppings, and 'secret' liaisons that twist along the way, weaving a story of deception that Cat and Thomas must try to solve. The plot had the little hallmarks of a cosy English village mystery, with a bit of spy and war thriller tossed in. With the concern over the woman's murder, Thomas must figure out who did it and why, ultimately to make sure others with similar talents and backgrounds are not targeted. However, the mystery goes deeper than that, and Thomas finds he needs Cat's help. After all, there's a war on, and Britain must be kept safe from all threats. I had a few hang-ups with Thomas and Cat's preoccupation with each other. The romantic tension that was meant to be there fell flat at times. Also, many characters seemed to gain sudden and intense insight into their own selves and the goings-on around them too quickly - some slow burn of revelation would make me keep on turning the pages to find out more. Will they figure it out? When will they figure it out? - those kinds of questions would become more urgent to answer. Plot advancement depended a great deal on the same scenario several times. With a little mixing up of the action, the WWII tie-in could be worked in more strongly and make it more exciting - and a little less predictable earlier on. I actually wish Cat had featured more prominently throughout, as she seemed to take a backseat to other characters - though, of course, she wasn't far from the action! I found Cat likable, very charitable, fiery, and strong-willed, and I would love to see her unique character stand out more as the featured namesake. Overall, a pleasant, light mystery read for curling up with. Thank you to Netgalley and HQ Digital for access to this advance copy to review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review. The newest installment in the Cat Carlisle mysteries follows Cat and Thomas to the English village of Rivenby, where Cat lived before her parents passed and her aunt whisked her away to London. Thomas is covertly investigating the murder of a local resident, Win Billings — and when Cat’s childhood best friend, Beth Hargreaves, becomes a suspect, Cat becomes involved in the investigation as well, much to Thomas’s c Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review. The newest installment in the Cat Carlisle mysteries follows Cat and Thomas to the English village of Rivenby, where Cat lived before her parents passed and her aunt whisked her away to London. Thomas is covertly investigating the murder of a local resident, Win Billings — and when Cat’s childhood best friend, Beth Hargreaves, becomes a suspect, Cat becomes involved in the investigation as well, much to Thomas’s chagrin. As the investigation gets closer to the culprit, danger surrounds not only the life of Cat but also the lives of people they’ve come to know in Rivenby, and the truth that is threatening to break free will change everything. Terry Lynn Thomas delivers a compelling mystery with twists and turns that even the most experienced mystery reader will be surprised by. The setting, during the evacuations from London to the English countryside during the heyday of World War II, makes for high stakes as Cat and Thomas look into the murder of Win Billings, and get involved with the personal and family drama of the locals of Rivenby. The POV switches between characters, given the reader a well rounded but incomplete view of what’s going on, making for very interesting reading. There are characters that you’ll enjoy, that you’ll dislike, that you’ll get frustrated by, but they all push the narrative along in unique ways. The Family Secret not only deals with the war, but also themes much closer to home — growing up, betrayal, greed, falling in love, being used, forgiveness, fraught family dynamics — meaning that there’s always something going on. There’s truly never a dull moment in this book, and Terry Lynn Thomas once again delivers a riveting, multifaceted mystery that fans of historical fiction, spy thrillers, and murder mysteries will find a fascinating read. The Family Secret is set to be released on March 1, 2019.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl M-M

    This is the second book in the Cat Carlisle series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, but I would suggest reading the first, if only to get to know more about the main character of the books, and what makes her tick. I felt as if there was less focus on Cat this time, which is what made The Silent Woman such a strong read. The taking hold of her life and becoming the woman she is supposed to be, despite all of the obstacles in her way. I felt that element of Cat was missing in this story. The This is the second book in the Cat Carlisle series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, but I would suggest reading the first, if only to get to know more about the main character of the books, and what makes her tick. I felt as if there was less focus on Cat this time, which is what made The Silent Woman such a strong read. The taking hold of her life and becoming the woman she is supposed to be, despite all of the obstacles in her way. I felt that element of Cat was missing in this story. The cosy mystery element of the series played more of a significant role this time, perhaps to the detriment of any possible secret squirrel activities ordered by Sir Reginald and delivered by Thomas. When the narrative switches from Thomas to Phillip I had to go back and check I was still reading the same book, because the secondary characters play just as strong a part in this story I wasn’t sure if it was still the same one. The impending war, the fear and the changes due to the impact of this threat play a secondary role. It plays along silently in the background, as lives go on in semi-normality. People still commit crimes, fall in love, betray each other and try to carry on as if life as they know it isn’t changing forever as they go about their business. On a side note in regards to Phillip – does a leopard change his spots? Extra strong bleach perhaps? It’s a cosy mystery series that sometimes veers into the spy genre with plenty of memorable characters. It has a comfortable feeling to it, a pleasant read with a family secrets, snide characters and people determined to find the truth. *I received a courtesy copy*

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ursula

    I read a paperback edition of this novel. The story moves along at a fair clip and the plot plays out satisfactorily with no tiresome leaping around in time. The large cast of characters is diverse and interesting, and certainly not stereotypical as I was often surprised by their behaviour and actions, unfortunately without any explanation from the writer. I didn't enjoy The Family Secret as much as I expected because I was frequently jolted out of rural England by the language of the both the ch I read a paperback edition of this novel. The story moves along at a fair clip and the plot plays out satisfactorily with no tiresome leaping around in time. The large cast of characters is diverse and interesting, and certainly not stereotypical as I was often surprised by their behaviour and actions, unfortunately without any explanation from the writer. I didn't enjoy The Family Secret as much as I expected because I was frequently jolted out of rural England by the language of the both the characters and the narrative voice. The vocabulary is pitched at an unnecessarily high level using obscure words and phrasing more reminiscent of an academic essay than natural language in an emotional moment. Occasional anachronisms also marred the experience for me. The author insists that an 18 year old has 'come of age' though the age of majority was 21 for the next 30 years. This affects the plot. Amazingly, another 18 year old has her own copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover (a banned book at the time) although there seems no reason to mention the title of the novel. Cars are used thoughtlessly despite the shortage of fuel and the social approbation such casual use would have incurred when there was widespread propaganda about the war effort. After a start where our heroine has left London for safety in the countryside and another main character is organising London evacuees, the war recedes. In fact, the war doesn't seem to impinge on the story at all with little mention of rationing, gas masks, blackout, joining the armed services or the danger of moving to London.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    I recently finished The Family Secret by Terry Lynn Thomas. It's the second title in the Cat Carlisle series. It was easy to read as a standalone, but I think you would understand more of the characters' histories if you read the first novel, The Silent Woman (which I have not yet read.) I was vaguely expecting this to be "historical drama", and was surprised when it actually was a bit more mysterious. It focused on an investigator and his romantic interest, in their small town escape from Londo I recently finished The Family Secret by Terry Lynn Thomas. It's the second title in the Cat Carlisle series. It was easy to read as a standalone, but I think you would understand more of the characters' histories if you read the first novel, The Silent Woman (which I have not yet read.) I was vaguely expecting this to be "historical drama", and was surprised when it actually was a bit more mysterious. It focused on an investigator and his romantic interest, in their small town escape from London. Rather than being the main backdrop for the events and going-ons, the war actually loomed distantly on the horizon, influencing decisions (i.e. evacuating from London.) (This surprise is all on me - it was definitely touted as historical mystery.) All that said, I was not disappointed in this read. It was well-written and colourfully descriptive. Characters were developed enough that even though you were invested in their doings, you didn't necessarily love them. Spoiled teens, entitled adults, nosy neighbours... you'll find them all. The plot - the actual mystery - was engrossing and intriguing, the character backgrounds giving them a bit more depth, and I loved the dramatic climax. I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley with thanks to the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own. Full review posted on my blog 4/16/19: https://lifelovelaughterlinds.home.bl...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Grace J Reviewerlady

    A very interesting domestic mystery, set during WWII - and one I enjoyed getting my teeth into! Thomas Charles turns up once more in the life of Cat Carlisle; with German bombs dropping nightly on the capital, he offers a move to Cumberland - in the village Cat was raised. When she arrives, Cat quickly gets re-acquainted with her childhood friend, Beth, who seems to be suspected of having a hand in a recent murder. Not without experience in such things, Cat vows to do all she can to help. This is A very interesting domestic mystery, set during WWII - and one I enjoyed getting my teeth into! Thomas Charles turns up once more in the life of Cat Carlisle; with German bombs dropping nightly on the capital, he offers a move to Cumberland - in the village Cat was raised. When she arrives, Cat quickly gets re-acquainted with her childhood friend, Beth, who seems to be suspected of having a hand in a recent murder. Not without experience in such things, Cat vows to do all she can to help. This is the second in series; I did not read the first but throughout this book there is enough information to fill in events then, but without continually harping back. This is a complete mystery with several strands to follow, and makes for a good read. There are few war details, but events are connected to that conflict; the British spirit shines through, however, with village life continuing as near to normal as it can. A well-plotted novel with each separate story intertwined with the others, there are enough ups and downs to easily keep the readers attention and by the final page every problem is answered, but I suspect we haven't seen the last of this duo. I shall look forward to another instalment in the lives of Cat Carlisle and Thomas Charles with great anticipation!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alina

    I was first introduced to Cat Carlisle in Terry Lynn Thomas' previous book "The Silent Woman" about a year ago. And from the very first pages, I was charmed by her courageous and sassy character. In "The Family Secret", Cat leaves London for a quiet village she grew up in. Cat's friends Annie and Thomas are joining her on the trip. Once in Rivenby, Cat is finding herself in a middle of yet another murder investigation. And this time around the suspect is her childhood friend. Mrs. Carlisle is det I was first introduced to Cat Carlisle in Terry Lynn Thomas' previous book "The Silent Woman" about a year ago. And from the very first pages, I was charmed by her courageous and sassy character. In "The Family Secret", Cat leaves London for a quiet village she grew up in. Cat's friends Annie and Thomas are joining her on the trip. Once in Rivenby, Cat is finding herself in a middle of yet another murder investigation. And this time around the suspect is her childhood friend. Mrs. Carlisle is determined to clear her friend's name, and while doing so she uncovers even more dangerous secrets that place her and people she cares about in danger. I was quite disappointed by the story. The suspense element was pretty predictable, and it didn't capture my attention at all, as it did in the first book. There are also way too many characters to mingle with. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to learning about Cat Carlisle's next adventure. Thank you, NetGalley and HQ Digital publisher for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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