Four Hidden Treasures by H L Marsay

Title: Four Hidden Treasures (The Secrets of Hartwell #1)

Author: H.L. Marsay

Genre: Women’s Fiction | Mystery

Published on: 16 February 2023

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Four Hidden Treasures is the first book in H.L. Marsay’s The Secrets of Hartwell seri


Lady Lucy Hanley’s husband Rupert disappeared on the night the first lockdown (Covid) was announced. He attended the council meeting and failed to return home. Hartwell Hall is crumbling and Lucy is struggling to manage the expenses on her own. She also has her son Freddie to think about.

Rachel Foxton feels trapped. She’s lived in Hartwell all her life. After the death of her father, her mother’s health has taken a turn for worse. Rachel’s in love with Lucy and is frustrated that her feelings aren’t reciprocated.

Dr. Meera Kumar is in an unhappy marriage. She moves to Hartwell with her son Krish. Her Indian parents and in-laws aren’t happy that Meera’s left her husband Dev to pursue her career. But Meera’s marriage has always been a sham. And divorce is nothing something she wants – not since she conceived Krish on her wedding night.

Former London Detective Jo Ormond has been transferred to Hartwell in disgrace. She knows this is just a temporary position and she would move back to London soon. She’s annoyed that in a sleepy village such as Hartwell everyone knows everyone’s business and this is the last place Jo wants to be.

Before I move on to the review part of this post, there’s something I want to share. I have been following Helen Marsay’s writing career from the start. I am a huge fan of her Chief Inspector Shadow series. Helen and I also share a favorite mystery classics author – Bellairs. To top this up, Helen has lived in the Isle of Man (where Bellairs spent his retirement years) for a while.

When I heard of Helen’s new series, I was eagerly waiting to see what’s it about. This is a new genre for her. You know all about Midas and his ability to turn whatever he touches into gold. Helen is the Midas of the writing world. Whether she writes mysteries or women’s fiction, her novels turn out to be a smashing hit. As I was reading through Four Hidden Treasures, I had to pause for a while, pinch and remind myself that this book was written by my favorite author, Helen Marsay. From detective fiction to women’s fiction, what a fantastic transition!

I mean, WOW! This book brought out a whole new side of Helen’s writing journey. We have four women – each struggling with their personal lives. Two live in Hartwell while the other two move there. They become friends. Their struggles are not their own now – they have a support group of sorts.

There’s a mystery too – Lucy’s husband’s disappearance. The villagers gossip about Lucy knowing more than she’s letting on about her husband’s disappearance. Meera struggles with being in an unhappy marriage while Jo is unhappy with her life. Rachel is frustrated and annoyed at herself and Lucy.

As the story unfolds, we see each of these four women face their personal issues with courage. I cannot choose a favorite character here because each one of them, be it Jo, Lucy, Rachel, or Meera, bring a unique perspective to the story.

We have an unexpected development towards the end – I really loved this bit of the story as it unravels the ‘mystery’ element. As the story ended, I felt hopeful for the ladies. There’s no lovey-dovey romance or anything of that sort, but there is hope. Hope that things are getting better. Hope that they aren’t alone in their struggles.

If you love women’s fiction with a dash of mystery, I highly recommend you to give Four Hidden Treasures by H.L. Marsay a try.

I received an ARC from Tule Publishing and Helen Marsay in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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