Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Book Review: The Skylark's Secret by Fiona Valpy

The Skylark's Secret
Fiona Valpy


Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication date: 29th September 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 315
Format read: Kindle eBook
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley

About the book

Loch Ewe, 1940. When gamekeeper’s daughter Flora’s remote highland village finds itself the base for the Royal Navy’s Arctic convoys, life in her close-knit community changes forever. In defiance of his disapproving father, the laird’s son falls in love with Flora, and as tensions build in their disrupted home, any chance of their happiness seems doomed.

Decades later, Flora’s daughter, singer Lexie Gordon, is forced to return to the village and to the tiny cottage where she grew up. Having long ago escaped to the bright lights of the West End, London still never truly felt like home. Now back, with a daughter of her own, Lexie learns that her mother—and the hostile-seeming village itself—have long been hiding secrets that make her question everything she thought she knew.

As she pieces together the fragments of her parents’ story, Lexie discovers the courageous, devastating sacrifices made in her name. It’s too late to rekindle her relationship with her mother, but can Lexie find it in her heart to forgive the past, to grieve for all that’s lost, and finally find her place in the world?
My review
Set in the beautiful Northwest Highlands of Scotland at Loch Ewe The Skylark's Secret is an evocative read. Fiona Valpy's poetic prose bring the setting and the characters alive.
Told in multiple time frames. In 1978 we have accomplished singer Lexie Gordon return home, her career in tatters and baby in tow. Lexie has many regrets and one is not visiting her mother more before she passed away. Now she is home she wants to find out more about her father but she worries the tight-knit community won't accept her back. In 1939 a young Flora Gordon lives with her father and brother. Here we see the affect the war has on the community with a naval base being set up on the shores of the Loch. Fiona Valpy highlights the life in these areas during the war years and the great toll on many families losing their sons to war. There are also themes of PTSD which was undiagnosed and untreated and the evacuation of children from London to board with families in country areas. 
I really enjoyed Flora's story, the day to day life of the small community and the class system that was relevant at the time. Flora and her friends were a fun lot, they did their part for the war effort but they also had fun flirting with the American sailors.
Fiona Valpy has created characters to love and characters to hate which makes for engaging and immersive reading. 
The Skylark's Secret is a story of love, loss, hope and new beginnings. 
4/5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the author
Photo: Goodreads

Fiona is an acclaimed number 1 bestselling author, whose books have been translated into more than twenty different languages worldwide.

She draws inspiration from the stories of strong women, especially during the years of WWII. Her meticulous historical research enriches her writing with an evocative sense of time and place.
Fiona spent seven years living in France, having moved there from the UK in 2007, before returning to live in Scotland. Her love for both of these countries, their people and their histories, has found its way into the books she's written. 
Challenges entered: Historical Fiction Challenge #HistFicChallenge 

1 comment:

  1. I've not heard of this one before, it sounds good. I'm going to check to see if the library has it.