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The Girl in the Picture-bookcover

By: Terry Marsh

The Girl in the Picture

Pages: 324 Ratings: 5.0
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When Alice, a divorcee of five years, discovers a photograph among her late father’s possessions, she wants to know more. Her father’s handwriting tells her that the girl in the picture is her great-great-grandmother. The child on her knee, her son.

Set in the county of Lancashire, and in two time periods, the story of the girl in the picture, Mary Ellen, is of her time in domestic servitude. The contemporary story is an evolving love story between Alice and a genealogist, Duncan.

The story that unfolds in the past is one of Mary Ellen’s youthful dreams and fantasies, and the harsh realities of life where poverty and sexual tensions are a feature of daily life. When she meets the heir to the estate, a young earl with a playboy approach to life, she is drawn into a world of Victorian erotica. He is supported in this by his sister, a disturbed woman suffering the effects of long-term drug misuse, and who has a life-long incestuous fixation with her handsome older brother.

When Mary Ellen succumbs to his charms and falls pregnant, she is delighted; her dreams of living in luxury are coming true. But the earl is a rogue; his interest in the girl is to use her. Yet she subtly attracts him, and softens his intentions towards her.

In the present day, as Duncan Cooper and Alice unravel Mary Ellen’s story, they find themselves being slowly drawn together into an intimate relationship of their own. Theirs is a story of grief, uncertainty and indecision dispelled by a slowly growing love for each other and shared appetites.

Terry Marsh was born in a Lancashire coal mining town, into a family of several generations of coal miners and apart from two years in North Wales has lived all his life in the county. He worked for 30 years in local government before becoming a writer of travel and walking guidebooks. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Lake District Studies and a PhD in Historical Geography, both from the University of Lancaster.

Terry Marsh lives with his wife, Vivienne, in the market town of Chorley.

Customer Reviews
5 reviews
5 reviews
  • Jon Young

    Really enjoyed reading this book. A mix of history, mystery and romance. Having the two interlinked stories running in tandem was a stroke of genius. The detailed descriptions made you feel you were actually involved. Hoping there will be a sequel!

  • CJ Westhead

    I was curious to read Terry Marsh's first novel and have a strong, shared interest in family genealogy. Terry uses his experience in this field, along with an extensive knowledge of food, wine & travel around the UK and abroad. He has combined these activities and put them all to very good use throughout the story. All the characters seem very real within the time-travelling context of the story and the research into the local history of Victorian gentry in Lancashire and it's customs is first class.
    I read The Girl in the Picture in just two 'sittings', finding it difficult to put it down, (rare for me as a History scholar) but I really enjoyed it and look forward to any future novels Terry has up his sleeve.
    A thorough piece of work, detailed characters, a somewhat racey story and a well recommended read!

  • John & Linda

    Given this book is about members of MY OWN FAMILY, and as I have the original tin picture of Mary Ellen Liptrot, my Great Great Grandmother - my Grandmother Rachel Liptrot, being one of John Liptrot’s daughters, it was incredible to read this, whether it contained supposition or not …. it left me with shivers down my spine and I congratulate Terry Marsh, my newly discovered second cousin, on an excellent novel. The likelihood of the content being reality seems to me, to be very likely. Loved it.

  • Julia Wilson

    The Girl In The Picture by Terry Marsh is a cleverly constructed dual timeline novel that intrigued me from the start. The novel is set in present day and 1870. Both time periods are linked by a photograph. In present day there is a search to find out who the people are in the photo. In 1870 there is also a search to fit in and find out where a character belongs. Terry Marsh has cleverly planned out and executed the plotline. The reader knows the answers to some of the present day questions as we are privy to both time periods. Characters in present day are relentless in their search for the truth. Each answer provokes them to dig deeper. We witness the vital role of DNA in shedding light on our pasts and our ancestors.
    1870 was a time entrenched in the class system. Those in the upper classes could wield power over those beneath them. They could hold lives to ransom. The lower classes could easily be manipulated by those above them as they needed their jobs. Not everyone in the upper classes was ruthless. There were pockets of kindness given in unique ways.
    I was entertained by the novel although there were certain aspects of the plotline that I was very uncomfortable with. This did not detract from my overall assessment that this was a well thought out and presented novel.
    I received a free copy from the publishers. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.
    A word of caution: there are some themes and situations which some readers may not like.

  • B Powell

    I first want to admit that I am not an avid reader. Not that I don't like to read, but I have many other hobbies that consume my time. It's a choice. Secondly, I want to admit that I could not put this book down.

    As my background; I have lived in the United States since I arrived at the age of 5 months; having left the port of Liverpool with my 2 siblings and Mother to meet up with my Dad, an American soldier. My Mom was born and grew up in Wigan, and would leave behind all the details that made her who she was. Having lost her too early in her life, and myself concentrating on my growing family, there was never hours of sit down and spill your guts about WHO you were, or HOW things happened. This book allowed me to retrieve much of how I imagined her family history developed.

    Terry Marsh's knowledge of the area is so apparent. I had visions in my head of the environment, comings and goings of the people, and gut wrenching feelings of what it is like to deal with a brick wall. It is like he has lived in both periods, and brings to life how families dealt with day to day goings on. Terry's current craft of documenting his family roots obviously lent believability to the story. Because of this read, I will forever feel more connected to my family roots.

    Looking forward to your next book!!

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