My friend Sally (co-incidentally the name of the main character in the book but not the same person!) recommended this very highly, and it had sat on my Kindle for ages – but I finally started reading it a few days ago – and devoured it super quickly (which is always a sign of a good book!)
Here’s the blurb:
“Sally is an incredible singer, but nobody has ever heard her. The thought of singing in public fills her with dread.
But then something happens one summer which changes everything.
No longer able to hide in the shadows, Sally must return home to London to fulfil a promise she cannot break – to share her voice.
But just when she’s ready to start her new life, a beautiful man turns up on Sally’s doorstep with a sheepish smile and a mysterious hand-written message.
How did he find her and why is he here?
Does he hold the truth to what happened back in New York?
And will she still have the courage to step into the spotlight?”
The book jumps between the present day and historic stuff – Sally’s childhood – and then the previous year – but this all flows really well, and just adds to the momentum of the story.
What made me laugh is quite early on you learn about 7 year old Sally’s obsession with opera. Now, we took our kids – including the then 7 year old – to a ‘Great Opera Hits’ show at the Sydney Opera House on 1 January 2019. About 30 seconds into the first aria, she asked if she was going to understand any of it – and I had to confess she probably wasn’t going to! It was definitely not the panto at Birmingham Hippodrome! TBH the kids managed the first song – and the husband and I lasted until half time (sorry, football reference – the interval!) so none of us got to hear Nessun Dorma. The photo below sums up our 7 year old’s view of opera! Anyway – I digress……..
I really enjoyed the whole book. You are rooting for Sally throughout. Her relationships with family / friends / colleagues / teaching staff are all thoroughly explored and are all quite complicated, but written about beautifully.
I was keen to keep reading and therefore finished it in record time. You desperately want to know what happened in New York last year – and you know it must be really serious – but it’s not obvious what it was until quite late in the book (no spoilers here) which is great.
All of the characters are interesting – and not ‘typical’ – which is refreshing. I think my favourite was Julian’s Mum – I want to be like her when I grow up!
My only issue with the whole book is late on it’s made obvious Sally’s family are Villa fans (back to football references) Now, I would suggest (as an Aston Villa fan myself) that people from Stourbridge are much more likely to be West Brom or Wolves fans! But this is a minor transgression that I can forgive I’m sure.
This is a fantastic book – and I will definitely be looking at other books by Lucy Robinson – or Rosie Walsh, which is her real name and who she writes as now (and isn’t a neighbours character!)