Mrs McKeiver’s Secrets by Margaret Morgan

Mrs McKeiver's Secrets. by Margaret MorganMrs McKeiver’s Secrets. by Margaret Morgan by Margaret Morgan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mrs McKeiver’s Secrets is a historical novel set in the fictional village of The Hills in England around 1799. It deals with the poverty of the people suffering from Land Enclosure Acts where common ground that they used to feed their animals on, perhaps grow small crops and collect firewood was no longer available to them. Poaching, another source of food for the poor was being heavily punished and the living conditions of most were severe.

Mary McKeiver is the local midwife, healer, part-time Sunday school teacher and secret keeper of many a village woman in trouble. Living with her own crippled son, Mrs McKeiver treats everyone with her herbs, tonics, teas and poultices.

The Reverand Reeves also tries to help the poor, he gives food to the needy, going against his Bishop and many of the Vestry Committee. Yet his congregation is dwindling with the arrival of Quakers at the mill and Methodists in the locality.

The situation is desperate for many, Mrs McKeiver even worries for her own future and turns to the offer of marriage from land owner Andrew Logan as she encourages his generosity towards helping those in need.

I found this book a difficult read, the period of history is not taught much in schools, so is less well known to readers, I had to look up the enclosures acts to find out more about them. The storyline is very slow paced, not a lot actually happens. I felt the pace was clogged with too many references to everyone’s toilet needs. I was desperate to read some highlights of action, perhaps with the canal opening, or the village getting a school opened, or a big scene at the poor house, or even the wedding of Mrs McKeiver. The character narrative is quite unique, particularly Andrew Logan and at times left me baffled.

I’d like to see a new cover for this book which catches the readers eye, the brown sepia style will leave it sitting on many shelves untouched. Then I think the book would benefit from a fresh look to rework areas which don’t add anything to the pace and the storyline. What Mrs McKeiver’s secrets actually are needs to be really emphasised and play a much bigger part to the whole story.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by Publishing Push

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Good Deeds Challenge, Year 2, Week 42

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I am into my second year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

February 1st – Online versions of the two magazines that I write book reviews for went to 7000 local homes and the online version went live today. Each magazine prints 5 of my book review recommendations for a total of 10 lucky authors. It’s been windy and there was loads of litter to pick up on my daily walk.

February 2nd – My morning at school volunteering my help to children learning to read. Just finished reading Yesterday’s News by Sam Cheever a cosy fun mystery. Picked up litter on my walk.

February 3rd – Am reading Walking the Edge by Zee Monodee a romantic suspense. Really busy day, but managed a late walk and picked up litter.

February 4th – Today I read Raven’s Choice by Harper Swan a short historical fiction and an introduction to a series about man’s genetic descent from the caveman. Each day I try to take a forty minute power walk and I pick up litter on my route.

February 5th – Helping out a new author find her way around the book reviewing scene. Read Baby Girl Book 4 by Elle Klass.

February 6th – Today I’m reading Mrs McKeiver’s Secrets by Margaret Morgan set in rural England in 1799. An icy blast was blowing when I went for today’s walk, but still found litter to pick up.

February 7th – I’ve lent some of my books out today, then whilst I was out for my walk I was astounded to find a think metal cable deliberately tied low across the path in a gloomy alley. It would have caused an accident to any cyclist, jogger, skateboarder or even another walker as I only just saw it in time. I decided to remove it completely and place it in a rubbish bin a little way away, to deter it being retied later. I have no idea why it was put there, kids? Angry residents if kids use it at night as a race track? But I don’t believe deliberately trying to endanger innocents should be allowed.

Reading What Happens To Men When They Move To Manhattan by Jill Knapp.