Downton Abbey meets Sharyn McCrumb in swinging Nineteen Sixties Britain.
In 2002, when Silva Brightmore’s father John passes away unexpectedly in his fifties, she will get pulled into fixing the thriller posed by his final phrases for her: “Find Molly.” Silva’s mum had deserted their household years beforehand, and after discovering a document album sleeve with a photograph of a good looking raven-haired folksinger, Molly Marrison, Silva begins questioning if her dad had had a romance with this younger lady as properly.
Silva works as a housemaid (or extra precisely put, conservation assistant) at Chatsworth House, the stately residence of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire in the Peak District. Beautiful views of this idyllic setting fill the novel’s pages. As she searches for the place Molly could be, Silva kinds by her emotions for an outdated boyfriend from her teenage years, Robbie Nightingale, a touring song-collector who returns to assist her in her grief.
The story wanders again periodically to the watershed 12 months of 1967, a time of experimentation with free love and medicines, when folk music spoke on to younger folks’s souls. Fiona Mountain locations readers in the second as Molly casts a spell over her viewers together with her passionate interpretation of an outdated ballad involving runaway lovers and a horrible homicide. While stirring up nostalgia for this long-ago time, the creator provides an excellent dose of realism, since ladies specifically had been each romanticized and stigmatized for his or her private decisions in the late ‘60s.
One facet of the thriller feels predictable (although to not Silva), however figuring out the “why” is simply as fascinating as the “what.” The story displays the creator’s deep affection for Chatsworth and the villages inside the picturesque property setting. With the talent of an eloquent balladeer, she makes you consider how features of household and regional historical past flip into native legends and songs, and what truths might be gleaned from them.
The Keeper of Songs was independently printed by SnowGlobe Books in 2021; this was a private buy. There are many angles to delve into for readalikes for this novel. In addition to the particulars talked about above, when you’ve loved different current music-infused historic fiction like Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six, Dawnie Walton’s The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, or Emma Brodie’s Songs in Ursa Major, add this one to your checklist. Fiona Mountain has written different historic novels beforehand, together with Isabella; Lady of the Butterflies, about Seventeenth-century scientist Eleanor Glanville; and Cavalier Queen, about Queen Henrietta Maria.