Diamond Star Halo.
The answer just wouldn’t come, so I picked up the book on the way out of the library to see if that would help. It didn’t, but I recalled Tiffany Murray’s first novel, Happy Accidents, which I enjoyed. I very much liked what I read on the jacket too, and so the book came home.
And once I had read it I acquired a copy of my own to keep. Yes, that good.
So what was it like?
Well, if it was a recipe it would read like this:
“Take the following ingredients:
- a large handful of I Capture the Castle
- a dash of Wuthering Heights
- a teaspoon of Cold Comfort Farm
- a teaspoon of Cider With Rosie
- a pinch of fairy dust
Mix together gently and then leave your mixture in the Welsh countryside until the 1970s. Just let it take in the air, and it will take on a new character, entirely its own.”
Yes, Diamond Star Halo is one of those books that recognises its influences, loves them, respects them, and then goes forward into completely different territory.
Halo Llewelyn lives at RockFarm, a recording studio set in the Welsh countryside.
” For the first two years of my life I was “Baby” then mum decided on “Halo”. “Diamond Star Halo to be exact, because she loved Marc Bolan and T Rex, and because I learned to walk to “Get It On” and Mum said I was dirty sweet and I was her girl.”
Halo’s mother was the heart of her family, a homemaker in the best sense of the word. And her father was a music producer, explaining where they lived.
Then there was her cross-dressing brother Vince and her little sister Molly, who was in quite a hurry to be grown up. And Nana, a countrywoman with a saying and an answer for everything.
Halo really does bring her family and their world to life. There’s a wonderful mix of the magical and the humdrum!
You really can’t help but love them all. Halo especially.
In the summer an American band, Tequila, arrives at the studio. Halo is captivated by Jennie, their heavily pregnant singer. Jennie warms to the child too, and a lovely bond develops between them.
But suddenly everything changes. Jennie’s child is born at the height of the summer, and then Jennie dies. Tequila leave, but baby Fred stay behind to grow up at RockFarm.
And he grows up to be a rock star, just like his Mum …
There is a special bond between Halo and Fred. But is he her brother? Or is he something else?
And that’s as much as I’m going to say. This is one of those stories that has to unwind gently and draw you in as you read.
There’s a wonderful mix of so many characters, so many emotions, and Tiffany Murray handles them all beautifully.
Light and dark are perfectly balanced.
And this is a story packed full of lovely details. Much whimsy and much music.
Held together by a family, and by love.
What more could you ask for?