1 November 2018
Blue lives a charmed life. From her family’s townhouse in Richmond, she lives a life of luxury and couldn't want for anything - well, on the surface at least.
Then on the night of her twenty-first birthday her father makes a startling toast: he will give his daughter’s hand to whichever man can capture her heart best in the form of a love letter. But Blue has other ideas and, unwilling to play at her father's bewildering games, she sets out on her own path to find her own destiny...
From the author of Amy Snow and The Hourglass, Darling Blue is both a sweeping tale of love in the 1920s and a powerful story of reinvention.
My thoughts about it..
When Ishbel Camberwell, affectionately known as 'Darling Blue' turns twenty-one, her father makes a surprise announcement, that he will give Blue's hand in marriage to the suitor who wins her affections by writing anonymous love letters to woo her heart. This causes Blue some consternation as she isn't actively searching for a partner, she would much rather pursue her ambitions as a writer. However, this in 1925, and getting an opportunity as a journalist isn't going to come easily and living a life of moneyed privilege could be something of an obstacle to Blue's ambition.
What then follows is a delightful family saga which perfectly encapsulates the long, hot summer of 1925, and of the trials and tribulations which seem to follow the Camberwell family. Their generous friendship, emphasises the kindness of their spirit, however, these kind gestures, so well meant, will see the family embroiled in some rather dangerous activity.
I really loved spending time with Blue and her erstwhile suitors, and yet, the strength of the novel lies in the authors ability to create such strong characters and to allow the history of the period to come alive in careful descriptions of both place and people. It's not all light-hearted froth and pretty dresses, as the novel touches on some quite serious issues, particularly post-natal depression and domestic abuse and puts them into the context of the time.
Darling Blue is quite a hefty read coming in at over 560 pages in the paperback so it needs a fair amount of investment in terms of time to read, but overall, I thought the journey was well worth it.
Darling Blue is my favourite of this author's historical novels to date.
About the Author
Tracy Rees was born in South Wales. A Cambridge graduate, she had a successful eight-year career in nonfiction publishing and a second career practising and teaching humanistic counselling. She was the winner of the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition for Amy Snow (2015) and was shortlisted for the 2018 Epic Romantic Novel of the Year Award with her latest novel, The Hourglass. Darling Blue is her fourth novel.
Twitter @AuthorTracyRees #DarlingBlue