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The Silent Hours by Cesca Major

The Silent Hours

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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'
  • 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.'


The Silent Hours by Cesca Major

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; Sebastian, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically; Tristin, a nine-year-old boy, whose family moves from Paris to settle in a village that is seemingly untouched by war. Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a shocking true story at its core, The Silent Hours is an unforgettable portrayal of love and loss.


Poignant, heart-breaking, beautifully written ***** * Heat Magazine * Beautifully written...will stay with you long after you finish * Fabulous Magazine (The Sun) * A moving debut * Woman and Home * A wonderful debut * Red Magazine * Quite simply faultless * The Bookbag * Incredible - it had me glued, completely mesmerised * Chick Lit Love *

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 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

5th November 2015


Cesca Major

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Corvus an imprint of Atlantic Books


320 pages


Sagas and Romance
Historical Fiction
Romantic Fiction
Sagas and Romance
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction



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