1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them.
Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself. When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last.
But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules. By the end of that summer everything has changed.
A decade later, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future.
If you’re looking for a story to sweep you away and steal your heart, then look no further than ‘The Glittering Hour’. I adored everything about this book, the setting, the writing, the characters – everything that Iona Grey brings us in this book, works. I was utterly bereft when I finished, my heart ached and I just wanted more.
The dual timeline is set in the 1920’s with Selina Lennox and in the 1930’s with Selina’s young daughter, Alice. This dual narrative worked incredibly well, Alice is discovering her mother’s story at the same time we are. Both time periods are undeniably brought to life, the swish of a beaded flapper dress, the clink of champagne glasses, the heady scents and sights of the glamorous life as a Bright Young Thing are all so perfectly described that you could be there yourself. The descriptions of Blackwood Hall, where Alice stays with her grandparents, are equally stunning. I was dying to walk the gardens and escape into the Chinese House on the Blackwood grounds.
This is a love story, but not just a romantic love. It’s also a beautiful portrait of a mother and daughter, their relationship and their love is at the heart of this book. Selina and Alice would do anything for each other and you can feel your own heart being wrenched at the distance that’s between them while Selina is in Burma and Alice is at Blackwood. I absolutely adored the concept of the treasure hunt that Selina creates for Alice while she is away. Each little clue uncovering a little more about where Alice came from, it worked perfectly for me.
There are lots of little reveals in ‘The Glittering Hour’ and these little twists in the story keep you glued to the pages. Usually I would have raced though this, but this is a book that deserves to savoured and each page enjoyed so I took great pleasure in taking my time with it. It’s utterly evocative and captivating. It will break your heart but then put it back together, I defy anyone not to shed a little tear at the end. I certainly did! Emotive, gorgeous and fantastic, do not let this one pass you by.
‘The Glittering Hour’ is out now in paperback published by Simon and Schuster. A big thank you to the publisher for my reading copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for my blog tour invite. Make sure you visit the other stops!