Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Daughters of Castle Deverill by Santa Montefiore - A Magnificent Sweep of a Novel

The Daughters of Castle Deverill by Santa Montefiore is the second part of a trilogy about Kitty Deverill, her cousin, Celia, from England, and Bridie, the cook's daughter: three girls who spent idyllic summers together at Castle Deverill on the west coast of Ireland in Songs of Love and War. (You can read my review here)
It is now 1925, and after a catastrophic fire which destroyed the castle, Celia has bought it and intends to rebuild it and make it grander than ever it was; Kitty has married her tutor, Robert, and is bringing up, Little Jack, her father's son with Bridie who has fled to New York and made a fortune marrying an elderly rich man.
So now, Celia has the castle at last; Kitty pines for Jack O'Leary (the man that she and Bridie both loved) who has also gone to America; and, although she's now very well off, Bridie yearns for her son, Little Jack.
Set against the Stock Market crash of 1929 which changes everyone's fortunes, this is another of Santa Montefiore's sweeping stories that she does so well, and I was totally immersed in its depth and breadth. It takes place from the west of Ireland to London, New York and the diamond mines of South Africa. It is romantic, atmospheric, yet also tragic and shocking.
This book also reveals more about the first Lord Barton* Deverill arriving in Ballinakelly to claim his lands (bestowed upon him by King Charles II, for his support to the Crown) and his relationship with Maggie O'Leary, who puts a curse on him and his heirs that their spirits will never rest from their wandering until an O'Leary owns Castle Deverill again.
It is through this curse that we see Kitty Deverill's ancestors, from the raging Barton, to her much missed grandmother, Adeline, a bit like a Greek chorus, observing the family's celebrations and, commiserations.
Told from many points of view, it's a magnificent sweep of a novel and the final part, The Last Secret of the Deverills is out now.

*In her introduction, Santa Montefiore tells how she chose Barton's name from the village sign along the A303 for Barton Stacey. I've often thought it would make a good name for a character, and she's beaten me to it! 

Saturday, 11 November 2017

I Found You by Lisa Jewell - A Fabulous Murder Mystery

I Found You by Lisa Jewell is a fabulous read, and I devoured it in record time - I really couldn't put it down.

Forty-something Alice, who has three children from three different failed relationships, finds a man on the beach at Ridinghouse Bay, Yorkshire, who has lost his memory.

Meanwhile, down in Surrey, newly-wed, Lily is distraught because her husband didn't come home on Tuesday night. She's told the police and they say (after investigating his passport details) that he, Carl Monrose, does not exist.

In 1993, Gray Ross is unhappy about the attention arrogant Mark Tate is paying to his fifteen-year-old sister, Kirsty, on their family holiday at Ridinghouse Bay.

However, whilst Lily goes through Carl's belongings and retraces his movements, Alice and her friend Derry do some research of their own and discover that back in August 1993, there was an incident on the beach where one man died and two others were missing, feared drowned. Another teenage youth was taken to hospital but discharged. The mystery deepens.
Could the man Alice is sheltering be a murderer?

This book has been published with two different covers. I liked the brighter one the best, but new books with that cover were twice the price of the darker ones on Amazon. So, I bought a used one, and, looking inside, I found that it had been signed by the author. Brilliant! I was meant to buy it!