Introducing 'The Sweetheart Locket'

Posted on 17th March, 2022

The publication of a new book from Jen Gilroy is always a treat, but The Sweetheart Locket is a particular joy because it is Jen's first UK-set novel. Jen is Canadian and has previously written for the North American Market, but she also lived in the UK for a long time and now has set a story over here.



The Sweetheart Locket is a dual-time story of family and romance, love and loss, loyalty and longing. It is also a story of profound courage. Although the long-ago romance drives the book along, this is much more than a love story. Other relationships are explored in depth and the characters grow and change as events unfold, bringing new challenges.


There are two heroines - Maggie in the Second World War and Willow, her granddaughter in the present. A DNA test that starts out as a fun thing to do for family history reasons instead creates a mystery that turns Willow's beliefs about herself upside down.


Other dual-time stories I have read have been distinctly separated into part 1 (the past) and part 2 (the present), but Jen Gilroy has used a different structure and in this book, the chapters alternate between the past and the present, which adds to the warmth and immediacy of the writing and at times cranks up the tension. It also shows the care and thought that must have gone into planning this novel. The unfolding of the two stories side by side, without one plot overtaking the other in terms of what is revealed, is in itself a remarkable achievement.


Jen Gilroy writes with compassion and understanding, allowing her characters to weave their way through their troubles. The various events and unfolding relationships create situations that are emotionally complex and Jen dips into the hearts and minds of her characters so that we can share their experiences and live their lives with them.


A warm, absorbing, beautifully crafted dual-time story that will linger in your heart long after you finish it.


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What if the key to your present lies in the past?

London, 1939
On the eve of the Second World War, Canadian Maggie Wyndham defies her family and stays in England to do her bit for the war effort. Torn between two countries, two men and living a life of lies working for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), Maggie's RAF sweetheart locket is part of who she is...and who she isn't.

San Francisco, 2019
Over twenty years after Maggie's death, her daughter Millie and granddaughter Willow take a DNA test that's supposed to be a bit of fun but instead yields unexpected results. Willow has always treasured her grandmother's sweetheart locket, both family heirloom and a symbol of her grandparents' love story. But now she doesn't know what to believe. She embarks on a search for the truth, one she doesn't know will reveal far more about herself...


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The Sweetheart Locket on Amazon  


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A dual British-Canadian citizen, Jen lived in England for many years and earned a doctorate (with a focus on British cultural studies and social history) from University College London. Returning to where her Irish family roots run deep, she now lives with her husband, teenage daughter and floppy-eared rescue hound in small-town Eastern Ontario, Canada.

When not writing, she enjoys reading, ice cream, ballet and paddling her purple kayak.





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Comments (2)

Thank you for showcasing 'The Sweetheart Locket' on your blog, Susanna. I very much appreciate your kind review and the lovely things you said about my new book. You know how I admire your writing so in that sense, your feedback is even more meaningful. xx
From the beautiful cover and intriguing blurb of ‘The Sweetheart Locket’, I knew Jen’s new novel would be one I couldn’t wait to read. Your review has further convinced me that I shall enjoy reading it, Susanna. I was particularly impressed with your references to how Jen has woven the past and present in alternating chapters. Having tried this, I know how difficult this is and I appreciate you acknowledging the meticulous planning involved in doing this. Thank you for an interesting review giving more insight into Jen’s book.