Afternoon everyone.  Today I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for The Girl in the Maze, a brilliant, addictive and emotional debut historical fiction novel by Cathy Hayward…..

About the book

Title: The Girl in the Maze
Author: Cathy Hayward
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Estimated page count: 318
Formats available: eBook
Publisher: Agora Books (28 Oct. 2021)
Tour organised by: Agora Books

‘I would caution you against delving into the past. The past is often best left exactly where it is.’

Emma Bowen has never had a close relationship with her mother, barely speaking with her in the last years of her life. But after her mother’s death, Emma finds something that might just explain the distance between them.

Discovering letters between her mother and grandmother, it seems to Emma that her mother has always been difficult.

As she searches for answers about her own childhood, Emma is drawn into the mystery of her mother’s enigmatic life. The more she finds, the more lost she feels, but Emma is determined to uncover her mother’s past, and the secrets held within it, whatever the cost.

An enthralling story of three women, generations apart, linked by one terrible tragedy.

Purchase links: Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

my thoughts

Emma had quite a strained relationship with her Mum and never really understood why……and now she’s passed away.  As an only child the job of sorting her Mother’s possessions is hers and hers alone.  But as she’s going through not only does she find something shocking, but also a pile of letters……. letters which may uncover the reason for the distance between them.  Despite being warned off by her Mother’s solicitor Emma can’t help by start digging…..and what she finds is something she can’t unfind…..a secret that’s been kept that way for a reason……

This was a fabulous story of the struggles between mother and daughter relationships; not only that of Emma but of her mother and grandmother too.  It’s a complex and fascinating story with some extremely heartbreaking moments, and some dark and awful secrets.  Told from a few different viewpoints and at different times (the present being from Emma, and the past from her family members), it gives you a real insight to each character and why things have been, and end up, the way they do.  It also covers some important aspects of things that have happened in the past, which have been clearly and thoroughly researched – but they will genuinely break your heart.

Some of the characters you will love automatically, some you will question and others your opinion will completely change.  I absolutely loved the painting, named after the title of the book, The Girl in the Maze which goes with you throughout the book.  It has a really mysterious aura to it and kept me questioning things throughout.  The way the story was told transported me back to the times in the past, and I could really see the story playing out in the early to mid-1900’s with the different way of life people once had.

This book bought me so much.  A fabulous mystery, complex relationships, heartbreaking decisions, dark secrets, revelations and reunions and I enjoyed every second of it.  If you’re looking for an intriguing, complex and sometimes dark story then this is for you.  Highly recommended by me.

There are some trigger warnings for this: abortion, rape and abuse.

about the author

Cathy Hayward trained as a journalist and edited a variety of trade publications, several of which were so niche they were featured on Have I Got News for You. She then moved into the world of PR and set up an award-winning communications agency. Devastated and inspired in equal measure by the death of her parents in quick succession, Cathy completed The Creative Writing Programme with New Writing South out of which emerged her debut novel The Girl in the Maze about the experience of mothering and being mothered. It won Agora Books’ Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize 2020 and was longlisted for the Grindstone Literary Prize 2020.

When she’s not writing (or reading) in her local library, Cathy loves pottering in second-hand bookshops, hiking and wild camping. She lives in Brighton – sandwiched between the Downs and the sea – with her husband, three children, and two rescue cats – one of whom thinks he’s a dog.

Where to find Cathy online: Twitter | @CathyHayward7 ~ Instagram | @cathy_hayward_author

follow the tour

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Many thanks to Peyton for inviting me on to the tour, and to Cathy and Agora Books for my copy.  All views and opinions are my own.

Have a lovely day everyone.

Chelle x

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