This is the first of the books I reviewed for the November 2021 edition of Historical Novels Review Magazine, and it is one of my favorites. Historical Novel Society just made this book an Editor’s Choice.
I had to wait to share these with you, but now that it’s November 1st, I can start posting the reviews I wrote two to three months ago. Enjoy.
In Windsor, England, 2019, Amelia is completely without family, having lost her daughter and then her parents to serious illness. Without any surviving relatives, she is adrift and contemplates selling the family home in Windsor. When fulfilling the last request of her mother to clear out the attic, she finds some intriguing photographs of a large estate in Pembrokeshire featuring the Attwater family. When Amelia uncovers the diary of Osyth Attwater, she realizes she may have discovered some family secrets.
In Pembrokeshire, Wales, 1883, young Osyth Attwater is a dreamer and writer who awaits the gathering of the Attwaters, her storytelling family, at their oceanside mansion each year. There is a wind chime in the garden that signals the arrival of relatives, and she greatly looks forward to the tales they will tell. But then she overhears a conversation that will shatter her world.
This dual timeline novel of family secrets, fairy tales, missing pieces, and a special wind chime is both enchanting and compelling. In their separate timelines, Osyth and Amelia both search for answers. The theme of mental health, and how it was managed in 1883 versus the present, is explored. The secrets that families keep and the reasons they keep them is examined in heartbreaking detail. The pace and flow of this book are gorgeous, and we are caught up in the beauty of Wales, the magic of fairytales, and the mystery of family secrets. With Amelia, we piece together puzzling bits of family history and try to see the whole picture. The Wind Chime will engage all of your senses as you see the gorgeous Victorian mansion, feel the heartbreak, smell the ocean air, taste the tears of grief, and hear the wind chime calling you home. This is a soul-touching and captivating read. Highly recommend.
I received a free copy of this book from Sapere Books via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
From tales spun for her teddies when she was a child (usually about mermaids) to film scripts, plays and novels, Alexandra Walsh has always been a storyteller. Words are her world. For over 25 years, she has been a journalist writing for a wide range of publications including national newspapers and glossy magazines. She spent some years working in the British film industry, as well as in television and radio: researching, advising, occasionally presenting and always writing.
Books dominate Alexandra’s life. She reads endlessly and tends to become a bit panicky if her next three books are not lined up and waiting. Characters, places, imagery all stay with her and even now she finds it difficult to pass an old wardrobe without checking it for a door to Narnia. As for her magical letter when she was 11, she can only assume her cat caught the owl!
Alexandra’s other passion is history, particularly the untold tales of women. Whether they were queens or paupers, their voices resonate with their stories, not only about their own lives but about ours, too. The women of the Tudor court have inspired her novels. Researching and writing The Marquess House Trilogy (Book One: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy) has brought together her love of history, mysteries and story telling.