EXCERPT: ‘Don’t worry,’ Ginny whispered as she kissed her sister goodbye outside the Advocate’s house. ‘I shan’t come to any harm. She’s exaggerating.’
Emily didn’t argue because there wasn’t time, and because Maman might hear it and, in any case, she was too drained by the emotion of the last few minutes to want to provoke any more outbursts. She simply kissed Ginny’s cheek and said a private prayer for her safety. But she was still cold with dread and she went on feeling afraid for the rest of the day; when she finally got into bed, she carried her unspoken fears into nightmares.
Lacerated with rage, Ginny ran to the station. To say such things just at the very moment when she was packed and ready to go! It was hateful. And unnecessary. She felt upset all the way to Paris, justifying her anger with her mother and pushing pity to one side, concentrating on feeling aggrieved and hurt so that she didn’t have to face the possible truth of what had been said. Because it couldn’t be true. She wouldn’t let it be true. It was too horrible.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: ‘Nobody is to know where we are. You must forget England. That part of your lives is over.’
Twins Ginny and Emily Holborn have everything they could ever need in their Wolverhampton home: a loving family, a garden to play in and a staff waiting to attend to their every need. Until, one summer day in 1926, they disappear without a trace.
Ten years later, bright-eyed solicitor Charlie Commoner is given his first job: track down the still-missing Holborn twins. Despatched to France, he’s left to unravel a web of infidelity, mystery, and terrifying family secrets.
MY THOUGHTS: I almost abandoned this book at one early point, but I am so very glad that I didn’t. I ended up heavily invested in the lives, struggles and very different romances of the Holborn twins.
This is not a short read, but the appeal for me was two-fold: Beryl Kingston is an author I remember my mother enjoying immensely; and I have recently found myself enjoying historical fiction set around the two world wars.
The story travels from a wealthy beginning in England, to poverty and almost destitution in France. The contrast in life-styles is immense. It is told mostly from four points of view: that of Hortense, the young French wife of the only son of a wealthy industrialist and mother to the twins; Agnes her sister-in-law, married to the social climbing Claude; and the twins themselves, Virginia and the blind Emily.
The mystery is really not that mysterious; in fact, I thought it rather obvious. I also thought that Charlie should have made the connection between the missing heiresses and Jeannie a lot sooner. That, I felt, was a little too drawn out. The constant string of near misses became somewhat irritating. Perhaps the story would have had more appeal had we begun with the death of the twins grandfather, and the resulting search for them, and learned their earlier history in flashbacks. But we must also remember that this book was written and first published almost thirty years ago.
It was an interesting read, and I might be tempted to read another by this author at some point in the future.
THE AUTHOR: BERYL KINGSTON has been a writer since she was seven when she started producing ‘poetry’ which, according to her, was very, very bad. She was evacuated to Felpham at the start of WWII, igniting an interest in one time resident poet William Blake (which later inspired her novel The Gates of Paradise). She was a school teacher until 1985, but became a full-time writer when her debut novel became a bestseller. Kingston lives in west Sussex, and has three children, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Agora Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Two Silver Crosses by Beryl Kingston for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2701023084