I love Tracy Rees, both as a person and as a novelist, so when she asked if I’d like to read her latest book, The House at Silvermoor, I was completely thrilled. My enormous thanks to Emma Capron at Quercus for sending me a copy in return for an honest review.
I’ve met Tracy several times, and she has been a regular on Linda’s Book Bag. Amy Snow was one of the first books I ever reviewed on the blog here. I reviewed Florence Grace here and had a wonderful guest post from Tracy about the appeal of the C19th that you can read here. Florence Grace was one of my Books of the Year in 2016 and you’ll see it featured here. I also reviewed Tracy’s The Hourglass here and Tracy was kind enough to provide a guest post all about her memories of Richmond when Darling Blue was published. Sadly I haven’t managed to read Darling Blue yet!
The House at Silvermoor was released by Quercus in paperback on 2nd April 2020 and is available for purchase in all formats through the links here.
The House at Silvermoor
England, 1899. A new century is dawning, and two young friends are about to enter into a world of money, privilege and family secrets…
Josie has never questioned her life in a South Yorkshire mining village. But everything changes when she meets Tommy from the neighbouring village. Tommy has been destined for a life underground since the moment he was born. But he has far bigger dreams for his future.
United by their desire for something better and by their fascination with the local gentry, Josie and Tommy become fast friends. Wealthy and glamorous, the Sedgewicks of Silvermoor inhabit a world that is utterly forbidden to Tommy and Josie. Yet as the new century arrives, the pair become entangled with the grand family, and discover a long hidden secret.
Will everything change as they all step forward into the new dawn…?
My Review of The House at Silvermoor
Events will test Tommy and Josie’s friendship over the years.
I truly loved The House at Silvermoor because I was completely transported back in time to an era so perfectly portrayed it was as if I were there, living alongside Tommy and Josie. The social history of the turn of the century, the setting and the daily lives of those at the lowest rung of society’s ladder are woven into the narrative by Tracy Rees just beautifully. Her elegant prose has a tone perfect for the era and although it isn’t really the correct word to use in a reading context, I kept thinking of mellifluous as I read The House at Silvermoor. The writing felt smooth, silken and somehow tender so that I was completely invested in the story. That said, the naturalistic direct speech balanced the richness so flawlessly because it was thoroughly realistic, making the characters come alive and enhancing the reader’s understanding of their position in the world.
As a result of the beautiful quality of the writing I was swept along in the story. Several times I exclaimed aloud, terrified for the consequences of a particular aspect of the plot or heartened by another element. I shed a tear and cheered at different parts of the story too because I became so invested in the people. I think it illustrates just how enraptured I was by Tommy and Josie et al, that the morning after I had finished The House at Silvermoor, I woke up and wondered how they all were, before reminding myself that they were not real people but characters in a novel.
And what characters they are. I thought the way they represented the different strata of society so distinctly, whilst simultaneously illustrating how positive and negative behaviours, love and hate, jealousy and generosity, fear and courage permeate all levels, was inspired. The sense of longing and identity that reverberates through Tommy and Josie is so affecting because Tracy Rees shows just how chance and circumstance can have a profound effect on who we are and what we can achieve, but that ambition and dreams are relevant to all. At times, the hand fate dealt Tommy and Josie was utterly heartbreaking and I came to care about them deeply.
I thought The House at Silvermoor was a perfect example of a sweeping, expansive tale that transports the reader so completely to another time and place. It held me spellbound and I loved every moment of reading it. Wonderful stuff.
About Tracy Rees
Born in Wales, 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.