I’m just thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations for Tracy Rees’s latest novel, The Hourglass, as I adore her writing. You’ll find my review of Amy Snow here and of Florence Grace here. I also have a wonderful guest post from Tracy about the appeal of writing about the C19th in her first two novels that you can read here.
The Hourglass is published by Quercus today, 4th May 2017, and is available in e-book and paperback here.
2014. Nora has always taken success for granted, until suddenly her life begins to fall apart. Troubled by anxiety and nightmares, she finds herself drawn to the sweeping beaches of Tenby, a place she’s only been once before. Together with a local girl she rents a beautiful townhouse and slowly begins to settle in to her new life. But Tenby hides a secret, and Nora will soon discover that this little town by the sea has the power to heal even the most painful memories.
1950. Chloe visits Tenby every summer. She stays with relatives, and spends the long, idyllic days on the beach. Every year is the same, until she meets a glamorous older boy and is instantly smitten. But on the night of their first date, Chloe comes to a realisation, the aftermath of which could haunt her forever.
The Hourglass is a moving novel about finding love even after it seems too late and the healing power of a magical place by the sea.
My Review of The Hourglass
Nora is unhappy with her life. When a vision of a beach invades her mind she knows it’s time for a change, but little does she realise quite what fate has in store for her.
When you have so loved an author’s writing and they move into a new era, there’s always a slight trepidation, but Tracy Rees writes with such emotion and honesty that it wouldn’t matter when she set her novels. Each is a delight to read. Set in two converging time frames of the 1950s and 2014, the narrative of The Hourglass evokes those times so perfectly.
Once again I found myself drawn in to Tracy Rees’s wonderful story telling so that I set aside daily life until I’d devoured every word. She has such an eye for the incidental details that brings alive a text that I always feel I am in the story with her characters. This time, I was so enchanted by the idea of Tenby, a town so well depicted that it is a living character and not just a place in The Hourglass, that I have been researching places to stay there! I was with Chloe and Llew on the beach, looking for coins between the cracks in the pavement and chasing rainbows as if I had been transformed into Chloe herself.
I’m not sure quite what it is about Tracy Ress’s writing that I enjoy so much. Yes, she writes perfectly natural dialogue; yes, she can convey character and setting brilliantly; yes, she researches time and place meticulously, but I think it’s her ability to convey effortlessly exactly how we are built and affected as human beings. When I read her stories I understand completely why her characters behave as they do and I am desperate for their lives to be happy ones. I found tears streaming down my cheeks at times reading The Hourglass and felt almost a physical ache in my heart because the nostalgia and melancholy -the Welsh hiraeth – that underpins the story is so powerful.
The interplay of relationships is just beautifully depicted in The Hourglass. Chloe’s desperation to grow up and be accepted by those around her, Nora’s need for her mother’s understanding and Llew’s outsider status are utterly, utterly believable and compelling. There’s a real sense of how we never really fully know those around us. More importantly, it takes us a long time to really know ourselves. I adored this exploration and it isn’t an exaggeration to say that reading The Hourglass made me look closely at my own life and how I feel too.
I was completely charmed, entertained and moved by The Hourglass. Once again, Tracy Rees has produced a book to mark a reader’s heart and mind. I loved it.
About Tracy Rees
Tracy Rees has been called “the most outstanding new voice in historical fiction” by Lucinda Riley and her books are paperback and kindle bestsellers. She was the winner of the Richard and Judy ‘Search for a Bestseller’ Competition. A Cambridge graduate, she had a successful eight-year career in nonfiction publishing and a second career practising and teaching humanistic counselling before becoming a writer. She lives in Wales.
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