LEIGH FORBES: Books of all Sorts

The Emerald Comb


by Kathleen McGurl.

I loved this story, and found it hard to stay away from it.

During the course of her family research, Katie visits the house once owned by her ancestor, Bartholomew St Clair, and falls in love with it. When the house subsequently comes on the market, she persuades her husband, Simon, that they need to buy it, but without telling him why she is so keen to live there – this becomes the first secret. Once they’ve moved in, more secrets about her family are discovered, like the emerald comb hidden in a drawer, and – not a skeleton in the closet, so much, as one in the garden. Was it one of Katie’s ancestors? Or did one of her ancestors put it there? Katie has to know. Simon, increasingly frustrated by his wife’s obsession with the past, starts coming home later and later. Working late… so he says. What secrets does he have? Interwoven with the present-day story, Bartholomew writes a memoir for his son… will that explain who the body is, and how it came to be there?
With a host of other family members both past and present, the story slowly unfolds; but will Katie ever learn the whole truth behind the emerald comb?

Having done a bit of family research myself, I can relate to Katie’s fascination with genealogy (which is completely believable!), and also the desire to find her roots. Her need to know, along with Bartholomew’s gradual disclosure, will draw you deeper and deeper into the story, until you too will have to know the truth.


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