Told via two separate timelines, this story relays the story of a mother and daughter.
The mother, Flora, was a WREN during WWII. She drove ambulances when her small croft fishing community was commandeered by the Home Fleet as a strategically important naval base. Flora, a gamekeeper’s daughter fell in love with the son of the ‘big house’. Alec, the love of her life, was a naval officer who risked life and limb to fight for his country.The daughter’s story was set during the late 1970s. Lexie Gordon, who had a lovely voice, left the small community to become a singer of some renown in London. Her partner has deserted her, and her singing voice ruined by lesions on her vocal chords. Now she has returned to the small lochside village of her youth with her own small baby girl. With her mother now dead, she moves into the cottage where she was raised, and delves into her mother’s story to find out long held secrets.
“The Skylark’s Secret” is the second novel I’ve read by Fiona Valpy, and, like “The Beekeeper’s Promise“, it was another well researched historical novel written in a dual time line format.
This novel was set in Loch Ewe, Scotland, which was a temporary base of the Home Fleet and was also used as an assembly point for the Arctic Convoys during WWII. The fictional rendering of the part this area played in WWII illustrated just how important Loch Ewe was strategically to the allies during the war.
The characters of both time lines were fully fleshed out and captured my heart. The novel spoke to the importance of a tight-knit community and how it often takes a village to raise a child. It also stressed the importance of traditional music in the history of Scotland. It did what good historical fiction is meant to do. It brought history to life.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and hope to read many more books by this author. Highly recommended.This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Amazon Publishing UK via NetGalley.
Published by Amazon Publishing UK on September 29, 2020
ISBN: 9781542005159 ASIN: B07X3NMHXJ 315 pages
Fiona Valpy spent seven years living in France, having moved there from the UK in 2007. Her love for the country, its people and their history has found its way into the books she’s written. She draws inspiration from the stories of strong women, especially during the years of the Second World War, and her meticulous historical research enriches her writing with an evocative sense of time and place.
Fiona now lives in Scotland, but still enjoys regular visits to France in search of the sun.
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