Genre: Historical (Romance) Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4.5 stars Series: Yes - first book CW: alcohol abuse, suicide
Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, seventeen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.
But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
Historical is not normally my go-to, but this book is just SO beautiful. It’s a complete cover buy, and absolutely worth it for more than just how pretty it looks on my shelf. With a cover like this (the gold! the purple!), the book had a lot to live up to, and it really does.
Set in Cornwall in the summer of 1929, the cover immediately echoes the Roaring 20s vibe with all the gold. Lou is also an outsider, and her longing for the world and then admittance means that I could explore the world through her so naturally. There is a reason the excess and the glamour of the time is so often used in media, and it is that gilded wish fulfilment of a time we won’t ever see. Following an outsider feels so natural, as her emotions are a mirror of mine. This really helped draw me into the world and story.
The Wall Street Crash is never mentioned in this book, as it ends just before the crash happened and England goes into an economic depression, but it was in the back of my mind the entire time. It actually added to the story for me, highlighting the last hurrah feel of Lou’s summer, drawing out the end-of-an-era feel that’s in a lot of the character’s subtext. Plus is also made the excess and waste of the lifestyle all the more obvious.
I put the Romance in brackets as there is some romance in this book, but it didn’t feel like a major component. It’s more of a coming-of-age story that happens to have a small romantic element. Lou is getting lost in the lives of these people – their incredibly messy lives that the glamour barely hides – and is hiding from her future.
Either way, be it a romance or a historical, neither are my usual cup of tea, but the story was just so spell-binding that I devoured this book – a mark of excellent writing and engaging characters. Time to read the companion book, A SNOWFALL OF SILVER, and Laura Wood’s unrelated second YA book – UNDER A DANCING STAR, a Much Ado About Nothing prequel.
Read my reviews of other books by Laura Wood:
Trevelyan Sisters (this series):
- A SNOWFALL OF SILVER (#2)