The Family Secret by Terry Lynn Thomas

The Family Secret.Cover Final

Title: The Family Secret (Cat Carlisle #2)

Author: Terry Lynn Thomas

Published on: 1st March 2019

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thomas Charles is back after disappearing from Cat Carlisle’s life. Citing London bombings as a reason. he asks her to move back to her childhood village in Cumberland. Cat is in love with Thomas and she cannot say no to his requests. When she learns that she is to help him with the research for his book, she’s even more excited about her stay.

When Cat reaches her hometown, she discovers that her childhood friend Beth is a suspect in her aunt’s murder case. Win Billings was murdered – her car brakes were tampered with leading to a horrific crash killing her instantly. Philip Billings, Win’s son, is devastated to hear that his mother has left all her property, except for a small cottage, to Beth and her daughter Edythe.

Edythe wants to be a ballet dancer while Carmona, her best buddy, wants to become a doctor. Carmona’s childhood is marked by her overly strict mother (Claris Broadbent) and a caring dad(David Broadbent). There were times when Carmona ran to her grandfather’s house, begging him to take her in as staying with her mother was turning to be torturous.


When James Churchwright, Carmona’s grandfather, is also murdered in the same way as Win, Thomas cannot stop himself from investigating. Meanwhile, Cat also investigates the fraud claim against David Broadbent.

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.

Thank you Rachel, from Rachel’s Random Resources, for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.

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