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The Silent Hours by Cesca Major
  

The Silent Hours

Historical Fiction   Debuts of the Month   Sagas and Romance   eBook Favourites   
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June 2015 Debut of the Month.

Extraordinarily powerful and emotional, this debut fictional tale, based around a true event that occurred during the Second World War, is one that shouldn't be missed. On the brink of war, clouds are gathering in a small French village, a young boy tries to weather the storm, a couple fall in love and we discover that for one person the tempest has already passed and is now buried in silence. Time doesn't run sequentially, allowing a feeling of disquiet, concern and dread to steal across the pages as worlds and lives collide. This story feels very personal, the author shows us ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, living life as best they can. If you aren't already aware of the incident that occurs towards the end of the book, don't research it further until you've finished, instead connect to the people, let them become a part of you, experience their dreams and feel their emotions, in this eloquently moving and thought provoking novel. ~ Liz Robinson

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Val Rowe - 'An incredibly poignant, emotive and powerful novel which will feature in my top ten of favourite books ever.'
  • Lynne Morgan - 'Cesca Major’s writing is very poetic, and it’s a pleasure to read her words, even when the story she is telling is so distressing.'
  • Angela O'Donovan - 'A moving, thought provoking read. More than a love story...Thank you Lovereading.co.uk.'
  • Emily Wright - 'The emotions and events of another time and place reached out from the pages of The Silent Hours, pulled me in and kept me captivated from start to finish.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'A powerful story, tremendously moving, and trust me when I say unforgettable.'
  • Alli Batten - 'The author has clearly done her research and has written a very moving, thought provoking wartime novel.'
  • Mary Gibson - 'In September 2014 I visited the museum at Oradour...and paid my respects to those who died that sunny Saturday afternoon.  The silence was palpable.  No birds sang.  It was the most humbling experience of my life and this compelling novel reinforced that experience.'
  • Angela Rhodes - 'Cesca has written a beautiful novel, crafted from a true story of unoccupied France. One that will tug at the heart strings and leave the reader in disbelief.'
  • Evelyn Love-Gajardo - 'It is well written, with a note of hope at the end, but I found it just too painful and couldn't get it out of my head after I had finished reading it.'
  • Dorothy Calderwood - 'The prose used throughout the novel is beautiful and the events are heart-rending...Cesca Major is definitely an author to watch out for.'
  • Ann Peet - 'Moving, powerful novel of wartime France.'
  • Anne Cater - 'She has an incredible way with words and has created a love story that is memorable. She has skilfully incorporated the horrors of war and the devastating events that happened in this village.'
  • Teresa O'Halloran - 'An extremely moving fictional story woven around real life events in a small French village during WWII. This will not fail to have you reaching for the tissues.'
  • Joy Bosworth - 'It starts a little like some other novels set in wartime France - but it is fascinating, gripping and very different the further one reads.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'At times haunting and engaging, and at times, disappointing given its staid pace and almost predictability.  Good but not that good.'

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Synopsis

The Silent Hours by Cesca Major

1952 A woman waits. She does not speak. Her past haunts and she cannot contemplate her future. She is watched over by nuns at a convent in south west France. Mute ever since she turned up at their door in the weeks following the defeat of Germany, her name is Adeline and she has a secret. 1940 Sebastian, a young Jewish businessman living in Limoges, has fallen in love with a local girl. But as the mood in the country darkens it seems their future is threatened. Ten-year-old Tristin and his family leave Paris for the safety of the French countryside. They settle in a quiet village in the unoccupied zone where life appears unaffected by war. Adeline and her family run the small shop on the high street. As the war progresses their stories become entwined. And when a horrifying event rocks their peaceful village nothing will ever be the same...

Reviews

Cesca Major clearly knows her subject, and her descriptions of the time and setting are as brilliantly accomplished as the mystery she weaves through the book... Beautifully written and peppered with real emotion, this is a story that will linger long after reading * Heat * A beautifully written novel that will stay with you long after you finish the last page * the Sun * [A] strong debut... This is assured writing and Major is a talent to watch. -- Antonia Senior * The Times * A moving and evocative portrait of a little-known wartime tragedy * Sunday Express * [A] moving debut * Woman and Home * A gripping mystery, with an epic sweep, The Silent Hours is a wonderfully assured debut. -- Rowan Coleman, author of THE MEMORY BOOK A gripping, fictional account of a real event in wartime France, told with a sensuous clarity. A haunting and illuminating debut novel. -- Wendy Wallace, author of THE PAINTED BRIDGE The Silent Hours is an evocative and beautifully written debut. This skilfully woven story had me transfixed from the very first page. Cesca Major is an exciting new talent to watch. -- Amanda Jennings, author of THE JUDAS SCAR A powerful and haunting exploration of love and loss in war. -- Leah Fleming, author of THE POSTCARD


About the Author

Cesca Major

Cesca Major read history at Bristol University. She went on to work in television as a researcher and presenter for four years before becoming a history teacher. Her first real writing success came in 2005 when she was runner up in the Daily Mail Writing Competition for the best opening paragraph to a novel. She has won, or been placed, in some short story competitions since then including the annual competitions for: Women and Home, Wells Festival of Literature, Grace Dieu and has also had a short story published in the Sentinel Literary Magazine. She reads widely and has written regular reviews and features for the popular women's fiction website www.novelicious.com. She currently works as a housemistress at a secondary boarding school in Berkshire. She lives in Bradfield with her husband and their brood of ex-battery chickens.

Click here to read more about her journey to getting published.

Author photo © Natalie McKenzie Brown

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Book Info

Publication date

4th June 2015

Author

Cesca Major

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Author's Website

cescamajor.com/
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Publisher

Corvus an imprint of Atlantic Books

Format

Paperback
320 pages

Categories

Historical Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Sagas and Romance
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction

ISBN

9781782395683

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