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The Herbalist's Secret
The Herbalist's Secret: A gripping historical mystery set in the Scottish Highlands | Annabelle Marx
1 post | 1 read
Two small lifeless bodies lay on the sand, arms carefully placed by their sides. On the other side of the loch stands an imposing house. It's almost as if it gives a silent howl of distress, echoing over the hills, making the birds turn their gaze down to the beach where the two bodies lie, awaiting discovery. 1889: Kitty Gray dreams of attending university and becoming a doctor, but when she is married off to Charles Maclean, one of Glasgow's richest and most eligible bachelors, her aspiration suddenly slips far from reach. Exiled to her new remote home in the Scottish Highlands, with its gargoyles, gothic arches and turrets, Kitty seeks solace in creating a restorative herb garden. Combining her medical knowledge and new-found fascination with herbalism, Kitty spends her days absorbed in a world of herbs and their healing properties until a devastating tragedy strikes... 2003: Caitlin Black arrives at Ardbray House determined to restore the crumbling mansion and Kitty's walled garden to their former glory, enlisting the help of long-time housekeeper Greer Mackenzie. But as Caitlin delves deeper into the history of this once magnificent home, she uncovers a past haunted by misfortune and grief. And beneath the blood-red roses that climb beside the bay window of the drawing room, a human skull is about to be unearthed. The truth that has held Ardbray House captive for so long is surfacing, and with it, the heart-breaking secret of the herbalist who once lived there. An evocative, beautifully written, and unforgettable mystery that will transport you to the wild and beautiful Scottish Highlands. The Herbalists Secret will have fans of Fiona Valpy, Louise Douglas, and Rhys Bowen completely mesmerised.
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1889 & it's the day of Kitty Gray's marriage to business owner Charles Maclean. Kitty wanted to attend university & become a doctor but her mother vetoes that & Kitty found herself hurriedly engaged to Charles. Things soon go sour & Kitty finds herself exiled to her husband's holiday home, Ardbray House, in the Scottish Highlands. This turns out to be a blessing in disguise as Kitty involves herself in the world of herbal medicine. (continued)

OutsmartYourShelf 2003 - Greer has been the caretaker at Ardbray House for as long as she can remember & her mother & grandmother were caretakers before her. She despairs of a new owner ever being found, when Caitlin Black, a young American woman looks around & decides she wants to restore it including the gardens. As the two women look into the history of the house & its former occupants, a double tragedy is uncovered. 9mo
OutsmartYourShelf I wasn't sure what to expect but this is a wonderful historical fiction read. It deals with some heavy subjects including the place of women in Victorian society, child death, & sexual assault but they are dealt with in a sensitive way. Kitty's story is by far the most interesting & I loved her as a main character. Greer was a little harder to like, she's more of a 'spiky' personality & it takes a while to warm to her. 9mo
OutsmartYourShelf The book also had a slightly paranormal edge with the appearance of a ghost or two. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a paranormal edge. 4.5🌟

TWs: child death, sexual assault, misogyny, suicide.

My thanks to #NetGalley & publisher, Storm Publishing, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5813770173
Read 20th-24th Oct 2023
See All 7 Comments
TheSpineView Great job! 9mo
DieAReader 🥳🥳🥳 9mo
Catsandbooks 🙌🏼🦇🧡 9mo
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