It was the voice that captured me first: a wonderfully human mix of intelligence, vulnerability, understanding, and fallibility.
“I was almost seventeen when the spell of my childhood was broken. There was no sudden jolt, no immediate awakening and no alteration, as far as I’m aware, in the earth’s axis that day. But the vibration of change was upon us, and I sensed a shift; a realignment of my trajectory. It was the beginning of summer and, unbeknown to any of us then, the end of a belle époque.”
Clarissa told her own story, and from the very beginning I could hear her voice, and she drew me into her world completely.
She was seventeen when we met, at her parents’ country estate. I could see the house, the grounds – the flowers especially – and I understood that Clarissa and her three elder brothers had enjoyed a wonderful childhood.
When Clarissa fell in love with Tom Cuthbert, the housekeeper’s son, I knew that their future would not be assured. They knew that Clarissa’s parents would not approve of their relationship.
So much happened as the years passed Clarissa grew from a society debutante into a mature woman.
Her love for Tom was the only constant, but whenever fate brought them together it swiftly pulled tham apart again.
And the Great War had many lasting consequences: on lives and on society.
Through it all Clarissa’s voice remained true, and I went through so many emotions, saw so many changes with her.
Judith Kinghorn has created a wonderful heroine, and plotted her story so very, very cleverly. I knew where I wanted her story to go but I never knew quite if it would, how it would.
She says much about consequences of war and the social upheaval of the twenties and thirties simply by having Clarissa tell her story.
That’s clever writing. And it’s beautiful writing too.
Writing to transport you into Clarissa’s world and so see people, places, events through her eyes.
Every detail was right, every note rang true.
I’m tempted to share more details, but I’m not going to: if you want to know more you really should pick up the book, meet Clarissa, and learn those details from her.
I’m so glad that I did.