Welcome to a new weekly post, Throwback Thursday. This weekly book review post is a way to share some old favourites, books that were published over a year ago and most importantly those books that have been languishing on the to be read pile for far too long!
Today Mrs R takes the reins with our first Throwback Thursday book review. For your enjoyment Mrs R has a historical fiction review of Songs of Love and War by Santa Montefiore, which was published in 2015. This novel is the first in a three part series that spans Ireland and England in the 1900’s. It was a book I couldn’t resist recommending to my book loving friend.
Born on the ninth day of the ninth month in the year 1900, Kitty Deverill grows up in Castle Deverill, on the stunning green hills of West Cork, Ireland – the same place her ancestors have always dwelled. She isn’t fully Irish, as the son of the local veterinarian likes to tease her; but this doesn’t stop Kitty and Jack O’Leary from falling in love…
Bridie Doyle, daughter to Castle Deverill’s cook, cherishes her friendship with Kitty. Yet she can’t help dreaming of someday having wealth, having glamour, having… more. And when she discovers Kitty’s darkest secret, Bridie finds herself growing to resent the girl in the castle who seems to have it all.
As Irish and British forces collide in Southern Ireland, Jack enlists to fight – and Kitty throws herself into the cause for Irish liberty, running messages and ammunition between the rebels. But, her allegiance to her family and her friends will soon be tested… and when Castle Deverill comes under attack, the only home and life she’s ever known are threatened.
Mrs R’s review:
Recommended to me by my book bestie, Songs of Love and War is the first book I’ve read by Santa Montefiore. The start of a historical fiction trilogy that focuses on character, I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the epic series set in Ireland and England.
Told in the third person through the eyes of two young girls, Kitty and Bridie, I immersed myself in the Irish culture and way of life between 1910-1925. I enjoyed reading about the folklore, the food they ate, the life of the servants and how they passed the time. Living in a castle would have been an experience but only if you were wealthy!
Kitty and Bridie stories begin as 9 year olds, living in Castle Deverill. Kitty is Anglo-Irish and the castle has been in her family for hundreds of years, passed on down through the male line. Bridie is an Irish servant, the lower class of society. While life wasn’t a ball for Kitty with a cold mother and two awful sisters, she certainly had it easier than Bridie. Kitty had the strong love of her grandmother and an understanding father to guide her. On the other side, Bridie certainly had a tough life physically. It really came through when she got shoes for the first time at about the age of ten and her clothes basically amounted to rags! Or when she became Kitty’s maid. Through it all though, she had the constant love and affection of her family.
The girls friendship is such an important theme and it was heart-warming to read about the girls close but hidden friendship in a time of turmoil. Through them, I learnt about the fight for Irish independence as the country was being controlled by the British.
As Kitty and Bridie grow older, they change and their relationship changes just as the world around them does. In a position of privilege, Kitty had a nanny and tutor. The nanny shaped Kitty to become a resilient woman while the tutor nurtured her spirit. With these advantages, Kitty was able to become a woman ahead of her time. I enjoyed her many arguments as she fights for what she believes using her educated opinion on many matters. Bridie aspires to be the complete opposite of her upbringing and become an independent woman. Living in the castle allows her to emulate the women around her. Fate though has other plans for both woman as they both fall in love with Jack but he only has feelings for one of them…..
If you enjoy a marathon series this is one book you shouldn’t go past!
Songs of Love and War by Santa Montefiore was published in 2015 by Simon and Schuster. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Songs of Love and War, Santa Montefiore, visit here.