It has all been very quiet for months from the Britmums Book Club but they recently sent me a free copy of “The Silent Hours” by Cesca Major. It is set in France and switches between 1952 and the second world war periods.
This is what it says on the back cover.
An epic, sweeping tale set in wartime France and spanning generations, The Silent Hours follows three people whose lives are bound together, before war tears them apart:
Adeline, a mute who takes refuge in a convent, haunted by memories of her past;
Sebastien, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically;
Tristan, a nine-year-old boy, whose family moves from Paris to settle in a village that is seemingly untouched by war.
Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a shocking true story at its core, The Silent Hours is an unforgettable portrayal of love and loss.
I had difficulty getting into this book initially but with hindsight I was trying to start a book in the wrong setting, with the distraction of one of the children. So several days later I tried again alone. This time I was sold and read the whole book that day.
I really enjoyed this book. The story is woven around the main characters and moves seamlessly back and forth between wartime and 1952. And I like how it is left to the reader to interpret why Adeline is mute and why she won’t go into the chapel. But on the other hand at the end, I really wanted them to realise who Tristan’s brother is.
After I had finished reading the book, I was struck by how familar the events at Oradour-sur-Glane sounded. Yes it is based on the true events of 10th June 1944 when 642 villagers were massacred by Nazi soldiers, but where would I have come across that. I’m wondering if it was from when I read Citadel by Kate Mosse, but I’m a bit hazy as it is a couple of years since I read that. Perhaps she had based part of her book on the same event.
“The Silent Hours” is due to be published next month and will retail at £12.99 for a paperback version. It will also be available as an eBook.
“The Silent Hours” is Cesca Major’s first novel although she has won several short story competitions. I’m certainly looking forward to her next book.
Disclosure. This post is a review of a book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.