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 genealogist Duncan Cooper and local history librarian 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.




A Genuine Page Turner

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 November 2021

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!


Fabulous book

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 August 2021

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.

Mike Gerrard

A Gripping Read

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 July 2021

As I recently started to dabble in genealogy, and love a good mystery, I had to read this book - especially as it's set in and around the area of Lancashire where I grew up. I wasn't disappointed.

The author, who is both a writer and a genealogist, has hit upon a brilliant idea. The book is set in two time periods. One is the present day, where a genealogist is researching a female friend's family tree (and developing a relationship with her). The other is the Victorian time period which is the most fascinating part of the tree, as we follow the story of the people whose history is being investigated.

It's totally intriguing and very clever. Genealogists only initially have names and dates to go on, but while they are researching these, we the readers are able to follow what's happening to the people they're researching in real life. Well, I know it's fiction but it's so convincingly written that it seems 100% real. In a way it is, as the story was apparently inspired by the author finding a photo, which appears on the cover, in his father's possessions, and wanting to find out who was in the photo. So I suppose it's a mix of fact, fiction, and supposition. However you describe it, it works wonderfully and I hope the author writes more.