The Skylark’s Secret

This is one of 12 reviews I did last quarter for Historical Novels Review Magazine/Historical Novel Society website. I will be doing a feature on all of them this week.

In the late 1970s, Lexie Gordon returns home with her daughter, Daisy, to Aultbea, a small fishing village on Loch Ewe in the Scottish Highlands. She has come to live in her family’s cottage after a vocal cord injury ended her singing career in London. Embarrassed at first that the town gossipers might judge her for her lost career or single parenthood, Lexie slowly begins to reconnect with her town. She also begins to discover, through the townspeople, secrets of her family’s past.

In 1939, Flora Gordon lives with her family in the Keeper’s Cottage in Aultbea. Her father is the gamekeeper for the Laird, a surly and imposing man. Aultbea is suddenly tapped as the location for the Royal Navy’s Arctic convoys and is turned into a military base virtually overnight. At the same time, Flora finds herself falling in love with the Laird’s son.

Valpy paints a gorgeous word picture of the beauty of Scotland, both before and after the war, as well as the scars left behind in Loch Ewe when the war is over. I also enjoyed the description of everyday life in a fishing village and how that is suddenly changed by a military presence. The characters are well developed. The love between Flora and her family, and the love Lexie has for her daughter, is palpable. I was often furious at the cruel tactics of the well-crafted and despicable Laird. The town comes alive through its people and their connection to each other. This is a well written novel involving WWII fiction, Scottish history, and family dynamics with a touch of romance. 

I received a free copy from Amazon Publishing UK and Historical Novels Review Magazine via Netgalley. This appeared on The Historical Novel Society Website/Historical Novels Review Magazine.

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