☆☆➹⁀☆ 4.5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆
What It’s About:
An unforgettable historical about true love found and lost and the secrets we keep from one another….
Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying on just the right side of scandal, all while running from the life her parents would choose for her.
Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina’s orbit one night and can never let her go even while knowing someone of her stature could never end up with someone of his. Except Selina falls hard for Lawrence, envisioning a life of true happiness. But when tragedy strikes, Selina finds herself choosing what’s safe over what’s right.
Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, Iona Grey’s The Glittering Hour is an epic novel of passion, heartache and loss.
Iona Grey’s The Glittering Hour is an engrossing historical fiction set in the post WWI England. The author delicately laces her story of love and loss with history. This is not a heavy-handed history lesson, but appropriate mentions of significant events during that era are mentioned to provide character backstory and motivations.
The Glittering Hour takes place in 1935. When nine-year-old Alice’s mother, Selina, leaves her with her stoic grandmother, she writes her daughter letters giving her scavenger hunt clues that will illuminate Alice’s start in life. Through flashbacks, the reader learns of young Selina as a 1925 flapper. Her flamboyant lifestyle of drinking, smoking and partying shows off Ms. Grey’s writing and researching. I could really sense Selina and her friends’ boozy, smoky lifestyle. They’re bored and bourgeois. They’re frightened by the heightened awareness of their own mortality as a result of WWI and the Spanish Influenza Epidemic. Selina’s glittery life in 1925 juxtapose to the decaying family estate where her daughter lives in 1935 really shows how the war has affected everyone.
Outwardly, Selina appears to be confident and bold, but she is hiding from her childhood insecurities and her fear of losing another loved one. The extent of her family’s dysfunction is more evident with each layer peeled away. Like every young woman in the era, family expectations trump one’s own desires; after all, one needs safety and security as well as social acceptability. When Selina finds love, she must choose between a soul mate and stability.
The family secrets and story denouement are easily-enough determined early in the story, but the novel is no less interesting for it. I loved the perfect twist in Lawrence Weston’s life as well as the evocative descriptions of the characters and settings. Ms. Grey’s storytelling is marvelous and her characters are captivating. The Glittering Hour is a delicious read for lovers of historical fiction and romance.
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