Tuesday 3 October 2023

The Stargazers - Harriet Evans

'Don't you think there should be a name for people like us?' he said. 'Who look up and who dream of more, who dream of escaping? Who never lose faith, no matter how hard it becomes?'

'Stargazers,' I said. 'That's what we are'

It's the 1970s, and Sarah has spent a lifetime trying to bury memories of her childhood: the constant fear, the horror of her school days, and Fane, the vast, crumbling house that was the sole obsession of her mother, Iris, a woman as beautiful as she was cruel. Sarah's solace has been her cello and the music that allowed her to dream, transporting her from the bleakness of those early years to her new life with her husband Daniel in their safe, if slightly chaotic, Hampstead home and with a concert career that has brought her fame and restored a sense of self.

The past, though, has a habit of creeping into the present, and as long as Sarah tries to escape, it seems the pull of her mother, Fane Hall and the secrets hidden there cannot be suppressed, threatening to unravel the fragile happiness she enjoys now. Sarah will need to travel back to Fane to confront her childhood, and search for the true meaning of home.

Deliciously absorbing and rich with character and atmosphere, The Stargazers is the story of a house, a family, and finding the strength inside yourself to carry on.

What did I think?

You can't help but be drawn to The Stargazers by its beautiful cover and it's as beautiful inside as out.  This is the story of the Fane family and the stately home that has been in their family for decades but is crumbling to dust around them.

Set in a dual timeline where we meet Iris in 1922 and her daughters Sarah and Victoria in 1969 to 2020.  Iris has been driven mad by Fane Hall falling into the hands of her father's brother, Uncle Clive.  It's her house!  As she keeps telling everyone, and it would have been her house if only she had been born a boy.  Iris's obsession with Fane Hall has driven a wedge between her and her daughters and it has also fractured the relationship between the sisters.

It is absolutely heartbreaking to see how Iris treats her daughters.  All that matters to her is Fane Hall and she is determined to get her Uncle Clive out of her house.  It's a deep-rooted simmering feud but it has taken over the whole of Iris's life and she has missed out on so much.

Sarah is living her best life in her new home with her husband, Daniel and their two daughters.  Sarah doesn't know how to be a mother and my heart really went out to her as she struggled to adjust to motherhood while Daniel entertains his entourage of local ladies who hang on his every word.

There is so much going on in this book from school bullying that horrified me to an incident with a tree that I am still laughing about now.  It's one of those books that make you experience the full spectrum of emotions and there are some stunning surprises in store for the reader that I didn't see coming at all. 

The Stargazers is beautifully written with an intriguing plot and a powerful message about home, which really is where the heart is.

I received a hardback copy to take part in the Tandem Collective readalong and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:

No comments:

Post a Comment