by Caro Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I genuinely feel like this book is a hidden gem. It’s clear the author put a lot of effort into making the setting, 1930s America, feel real and fleshed out. The characters are also fantastically well written. I loved each and every one of them, even the ones we are meant to hate. The story is very character-driven, the emotional build-up pulling you in and you really can’t help be very invested in their development all the way through.
I enjoyed the fact that through the entire book I really didn’t know how things were going to be resolved in the easiest way possible for all the characters. I was kept anxious the entire time.
All My Thoughts
May contain spoilers.
This book was a wonderful surprise! I won’t lie, at first I wasn’t sure how I felt. The author takes a really interesting approach to telling this story. There’s quite a bit more about the internal aspect of everything that is going on, in an almost poetic way. She also really sticks true to what feels like believable dialogue from 1930s America. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this initially, but this very quickly grew on me and I found that I truely loved the writing. It really pulled me into the setting and time period.
The characters are really the driving factor of the book, though there is quite a bit going on with the storyline as well. Cecilia, a well off woman from a very established family, and Ariey, the eldest child from an old, modest mountain family are opposite in so many ways. It was interesting seeing Cecilia’s perspective on being a lesbain in the time. It was also hearbreaking to see how jaded and fairly pessemistic she is about her future and her lovelife. I also find her amusing in the fact that she sees a pretty girl sleeping in a field with a violin and is instantly trying to flirt with and woo her in subtle ways. Airey is so proud and resistant to gender norms, with very good reason. What is expected of her as a girl just isn’t going to help her family make it at all, so why put them in a worse sitation? She helps with the farm and does the work her older brother and father would have if they were still alive. She is practical and I love that about her. She is also in love with music, learning the violin both on her own and with a teacher. Her passion and drive in all areas of her life are what make her such a great character. While Celia’s initial desire to help Airey really make something of her music was partially selfish (trying to impress and woo her), I adorded how this actually developed in to real feelings and desire, both in a relationship aspect and for Airey’s talent.
The story develoment was a very comfortable slow pace until Airey finally understood the things Celica wasn’t telling her, and that she reciprocated those feelings. Because of Airey being cut off from society, she just doesn’t see Celia’s need to keep it secret and the pessimism that says they will eventually part ways because that’s what is safe. Again, this is so heartbreaking. The emotions between them and watching them develop were gripping and it was such a ride waiting to see how it would resolve. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure how it would and for a moment I was worried they would not end up together. Happy yes, but not together. While the ending felt a bit rushed and wrapped up neatly, I do understand that the end wasn’t really the story, but how they got there. It was such an emotional roller coaster and exhausting in the best possible way.
I truely feel like this book is a hidden gem. It’s a great well paced romance and societal drama in so many ways. Both the story and the characters carry this book all the way from beginning to end.
Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.