Summary: Previously published in the US as The Girl in the Castle.
The #1 international bestseller about the enduring bond between three women and the castle they will never forget.
Their lives were mapped out ahead of them. But love and war will change everything…
It’s the early 1900s and Castle Deverill stands staunchly untouched by time, hidden away in the rolling Irish hills. Within the castle walls, three friends have formed a close bond: affluent, flame-haired Kitty Deverill; Bridie Doyle, Kitty’s best friend and daughter of the castle’s cook; and Celia Deverill, Kitty’s flamboyant English cousin. They’ve grown up together, always sheltered from the conflict embroiling the rest of the country. But when Bridie learns of a secret Kitty has been keeping, their idyllic world is forever torn apart.
Later, the three women scatter to different parts of the globe. Kitty must salvage what she can before Castle Deverill and everything she has ever known is reduced to ash. Songs of Love and War is an epic generational saga about the lasting bonds of true friendship and the powerful ties we all have to the place we call home. (Goodreads)
*I received acopy of this book from Simon&Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion.*
The synopsis promised me strong friendships and an overwhelming sense of the word ‘home’ and how it shapes and connects us. Let me tell you, it delivered. The friendships are incredible and, especially through Kitty’s narration, Ireland was painted with a cozy, glowing feel of a place that is a beloved home to many.
The star of Songs of Love and War, for me was the bond between the three ladies at the centre of the story. Although not always in sync or physically together, Kitty, Bridie, and Celia are a foirmidable trio. From shennanigans as children (I envy how care-free and mischevious they were) to the harder trials and decisions of being older their connection is undeniable. The friendship felt very authentic, I feel, because there were rifts dividing them on occasion and things weren’t always smooth sailing. Like any relationship, romantic or otherwise, there will always be moments of disagreement but the test of that bond is how you move past it and form a deeper connection with the other person. I desperately wanted in on their friendship and support and sharing sessions while reading.
Character wise, my strongest connection was to Kitty. I love how rebellious she is and how outspoken and extra hard-headed she became the more she was educated. In a time where, as evidenced by her mother, marriage was the ultimate for women, Kitty was a breath of frsh air in her desire to become a person of her own and forge a path for herself before anything else. She shows that yes, one can be a woman who loves and has feelings for someone but that one can also make something of themselves outside of titles gained in marriage.
As for the setting and sense of home, I feel this was done beautifully. I felt myself falling in love with Ireland just as Kitty had while reading. I also felt I understood why she was so reluctant to leave even though she was technically not Irish. They way she traipsed around the grounds of the Deverill’s land to explore and find places witnin it that mean so much to her drove home just how much this place is a part of who Kitty is. From her favourite spots to ride to all the way to the littlest hiding place for illicit notes, she weaved pieces of Castle Deverill into her identity and it’s no wonder she never wanted to leave. It makes on relfect on places that have inserted little pieces of themselve into their own identity…and cue nostalgia.
Overall this was a stunning novel. I will admit I was extremely intimidate when I saw its size but once I actually started reading I was so thoruoghly engrossed in the characters, their bonds, and the struggles of everyone that the pages started to fly by. Now give me the next two books please!