Wow, what a journey The Lost Pearl by Emily Madden will take you on from the first to last page.
It is 2016 and Kitty (Catherine) is beside her grandmother’s hospital bed. Her gran, also Catherine, starts talking about her first love ,Charlie, but Kitty’s grandfather’s name is William. As Catherine senior regains consciousness, she is very upset to learn she told her secret and quickly fobs off Kitty’s questions.
Whilst Kitty searches for something about Charlie in her grandmother’s house, Catherine senior quietly slips away, but her death only makes Kitty determined to learn more. In her grandmother’s belongings, she finds two letters, one from, the other to, the mysterious Charlie. She also finds an invitation for her grandmother to attend the Hawaii Pearl Harbour 75th Anniversary.
The novel now moves between 1941 and 2016, however the story still flows:
In 1941, Catherine turns 16 and meets an enlisted soldier called Charlie. As the daughter of a Rear Admiral, Catherine knows Charlie is out of reach. Nonetheless, they fall madly in love and Kitty’s brother Eddie and his girlfriend Penny assist their growing romance. Catherine chaperones the couple and they ask Charlie to join them.
With the approach of war, Catherine’s father decides to send her to Australia because he thinks it is the safest place for her to be. There is time, however, for one last rendezvous – the night of the 7th December would change Catherine’s life forever. In the early attacks, Eddie is killed but there is no word if Charlie survived.
Flicking to 2016, Kitty attends the 75th Anniversary and is mistaken for her grandmother by a gentleman called Charlie. She meets Penny who was her grandmother’s best friend and is shocked to learn that her Cathrine was pregnant with Charlie’s child before she set sail.
Back to 1941. June, Catherine’s mother, is horrified by her pregnancy and in line with the social norms of the times, forces her to have the baby, a girl, adopted.
Catherine eventually met and married William, but prior to their wedding, told him her story and made him promise that they would try to find her first child. Over the years they had three children but still, Catherine longed to meet her daughter.
Back to 2016. Returning from Hawaii, Kitty knows in her heart that she must try to honour Catherine’s wish and find her grandmother’s child. She keeps digging and learns that the daughter did reach out to Catherine, but William intercepted the letter and told her Catherine did not want to meet or know her.
If you want to know more about the amazing Catherine, her first child and her granddaughter Kitty, you will need to read The Lost Pearl.
A love that will go to the grave; a pregnancy revealed after Catherine McGarrie passed away; her granddaughter’s quest for the truth, this novel is a lovely read which I really understand happening in the 1940’s.
The Lost Pearl, by Emily Madden, is available in printed or digital editions from the publisher HQ Fiction.