I can’t thank Alison Davies and Corvus books enough for providing an Advanced Reader Copy of Cesca Major’s The Silent Hours which is published on 11th June 2015. The Silent Hours is available for purchase here.
The Silent Hours
An epic, sweeping tale set in wartime France, 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; Sebastian, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically; Tristin, 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.
My Review of The Silent Hours
‘The Silent Hours’ is a tragic story based on the true massacre that took place in Oradour-sur-Glane on June 10th 1944 and is constructed around three main characters, Adeline, Sebastien and Tristan.
I’ve been sitting staring at the screen wondering how to review this incredible book and finding it difficult to write as my eyes are still blurred by tears. I think what makes it all the more emotional, taking nothing away from the fantastic writing and storytelling, is the fact that it is based in a true event.
Told partly through the first person voices of Adeline, Sebastien and Tristan, Cesca Major weaves a spellbinding narrative by adding layer upon layer of information and detail through memories and letters alongside these three main voices so that ‘The Silent Hours’ becomes an intimate, haunting and utterly compelling read. Whilst their tone is often conversational with humour, the writing manages to be intense and personal at the same time. It is sheer genius.
The settings are vivid and evocative, like looking at a film clip rather than merely reading words on the page. The writer has the ability to alter the reader’s emotions through one simple word or phrase and I would urge readers to return to the quotations at the start of the book once they have read it to understand fully their meaning and impact.
The further I read, the more involved with the characters as real people I became. I could not bear the ending of this novel and my heart was pumping with fear and horror.
The themes here resonate still – love, loss, guilt and the desperation of ‘if only…’ and ‘The Silent Hours’ is a book I will remember for a very long time.