“We sat under the tall limbs tree that day, with no idea these were the last days of paradise.”
Genre:Historical Fiction – US / African History
Number of Pages: 480
Date of Publication: 28 April 2022
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
My Review Summary: A beautifully written, heartbreaking story
📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS📖
A hauntingly powerful and emotionally charged novel about family secrets, love and loss, identity and belonging.
Two children trapped in the same attic, almost a century apart, bound by a shared secret.
Early 1900s London: Taken from his homeland, twelve-year-old Celestine spends most of the time locked away in the attic of a large house by the sea. The only time Celestine isn’t bound by confines of the small space is when he is acting as an unpaid servant to English explorer Sir Richard Babbington, As the years pass, he desperately clings on to memories of his family in Africa, even as he struggles to remember his mother’s face, and sometimes his real name . . .
1974: Lowra, a young orphan girl born into wealth and privilege whose fortunes have now changed, finds herself trapped in the same attic. Searching for a ray of light in the darkness of the attic, Lowra finds under the floorboards an old-fashioned pen, a porcelain doll, a beaded necklace, and a message carved on the wall, written in an unidentifiable language. Providing comfort for her when all hope is lost, these clues will lead her to uncover the secrets of the attic.
When this came up as a Blog Tour I decided to go for it as it was something a bit different to what I would usually read. The cover drew me in too, with it’s bold colours. I am so glad that I got accepted onto the tour because I absolutely loved the story. It was a strange one because it was so heartbreaking, yet you just wanted to keep on reading. It was so well told and it will stay with me for a long time.
The writing was amazing. It was gripping, informative and unforgettable. The way that the two characters lived in different ages, yet were treated the same, was definitely an eye opener. I loved how well the story weaved together and how the story was gradually built.
The points of view of the characters was cleverly written in that at the beginning you really felt the innocence and confusion of the main character, who was just a child. As he grew so his outlook and point of view changed and hardened. With the other character, you got less of the innocence, but there was still sadness and childhood emotion there.
Going on to the chapters they were fairly long and every so often would change character and time period. You got good chunks of each time period which gave suspense to the story because just as you were getting into the story you were moved on to the next time period. This made me want to keep on reading to see what eventually happened.
There were two main parts to the story with then the chapters which were clearly named and had dates so you always knew where you were. The story never dragged and there was an excellent pace to it.
The characters were great. It was interesting to see how their similar experiences affected them in later life. No other character was able to understand what they had gone through. The whole story was on a sensitive topic that has definitely opened my eyes up to a period of history that I wasn’t overly familiar with, plus issues that some people have to deal with in their day to day lives even in this age.
Lastly the settings. The house with the attic was an excellent backdrop. The settings were described throughout, but the main focus was on character thoughts, feelings and actions. You could really feel the characters pain through the storytelling and so you didn’t need a lot of extra details.
Overall I loved this story. It was beautifully written and whilst it broke my heart the epilogue gave me closure. I highly recommend reading this book!
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