An epic, sweeping tale set in wartime France, The Silent Hours follows three people whose lives are bound together, before war tears them apart:
Adeline, a mute who takes refuge in a convent, haunted by memories of her past;
Sebastien, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically;
Tristan, a nine-year-old boy, whose family moves from Paris to settle in a village that is seemingly untouched by war.
Silent Hours is not my kind of read at all and I have to say when I first started reading the book I didn’t think I was going to be able to read it because it took me a long time to settle into the structure of the book as we are introduced to many lead characters in quick succession and I felt like I was going to lose my way but I am so pleased that I carried on reading because I would have missed out on such a remarkable, thought provoking read.
Silent Hours is told from five characters points of view, our main character is Adeline who opens the book for us in 1952 in the south-west of France she is staying at a nunnery and Sister Marguerite is trying to get her to open up but Adeline is mute and cannot remember when, what or why she lost her ability to speak. As the book progresses she begins to remember snippets of her past. I had no idea where her story was going to lead so I was eager to find out her story as it came to her.
As well as Adeline we also have her children Paul and Isabelle and it was these characters part of the book that I enjoyed the most, their part of the story is mainly told through letters to one another it was great to see them both grow through their letters. Sebastian and Tristan also have their story told in this book but each of the stories weave together so they all have a connection to the main storyline.
I was so moved by this book and when I read the Historical note it broke my heart to think that this was actually based around real events. I never dreamed at the start of this book that it would have such an impact on me. Cesca has a beautiful way with words and she really made the characters in this book come to life.
Books set around the Second World War have never managed to grab my attention, not because it doesn’t interest me but because it is not usually told in a way in which I can appreciate it and easily follow but this book pulled me in and really sparked my interest, I was in utter shock and was devastated about events that took place and the fact that this book is based on real events just makes it even more heart breaking.
This was such a well-researched and perfectly crafted book and as a debut it shows this authors pure talent and I am excited to see what books are to follow from Cesca Major.