Even in death, love survives...
Echoes of Grace is the fourth novel from Irish Writer Caragh Bell.
Just published with Poolbeg Press, it tells the story of ‘a young woman who, having overcome a painful past, must now embrace it to find her real self.’ From the Cornish coastline to the islands off the coast of West Cork, via London, New York and more, Caragh Bell takes her reader on journey with her vast use of settings in many locations.
Please do read on for my thoughts…
[ About the Book ]
Grace Molloy was the darling of the theatre scene. Young and dazzling, she gave it all up to marry the playwright Henry Sinclair, thirty years her senior. Then, one stormy night, she died giving birth to her daughter, Aurora.
Left with no memory of her mother, Aurora is raised by Henry and her nanny, Maggie, in a huge old house on the Cornish coastline. All the little girl has of Grace is a portrait – a painting of a woman in a white dress, her beautiful face frozen in time.
Aurora grows up, resembling Grace in looks and talent. She pursues her dream of being on the stage and soon achieves great success in the world of theatre, like her mother before her. Then a secret unfolds – a secret that could threaten all that she holds dear . . .
[ My Review ]
Aurora Sinclair woke up every morning in a drafty mansion overlooking the Cornish coastline. Her father, the great playwright, Henry Sinclair, spent his days working on his next manuscript, leaving Aurora with plenty of free time and very little to do. But Aurora wanted friends, she wanted to spend her days on the local beaches with the wind in her hair. She was a child and she wanted what all kids want…she wanted to have fun.
Aurora’s mother, Grace Molloy, was a theatre actress on the cusp of great success. For reasons unknown, she suddenly stepped down off the stage for the last time. The next the world knew, she was marrying the well-respected Henry Sinclair and moving to his family home in Cornwall. Henry Sinclair had been married previously, but his wife had passed away leaving him with two young boys, Sebastian and George, to rear. Following the dramatic birth of Aurora and the subsequent death of Grace after childbirth, Henry was distraught. It was the solid presence of a woman called Maggie, the housekeeper of their Cornish home, that kept some form of normality in the household for Aurora. Her two step-brothers were very difficult to be around, constantly bullying her and making life very difficult but Aurora was able to find peace every time she looked upon a large painting of her mother that was hanging on a wall within the family home.
The years passed and life changed very dramatically for Aurora. Her father remarried, moving Aurora to London and into the home of Gloria and her children, where Aurora thrived under the protection and guidance of her new family, in particular James, her new step brother. Aurora’s talent as a performer was obvious from an early age and her career on stage was inevitable, following on in the footsteps of her mother.
Her family life filled up with plenty of drama over the years, as the lives of her step-siblings kept her on her toes, but she always held out that some day she would learn more about her mother, the enigmatic Grace Molloy.
Echoes of Grace is a romantic novel set against an international backdrop of locations. Being from Cork, I was delighted to see many mentions of my home county, but the reader is also taken to New York, London, Venice, Cote Azur and more. Aurora Sinclair is a lost soul, always searching for something or someone to belong to. With no memory of her mother, she latches onto any snippet of information she can find in her search for the truth about her past.
Now I have to admit that I did find the constant use of expensive brand names, high-end locations and the use of known celebrity names a little over-bearing at times. It was just one Chanel suit too many for me!! But this is just a very personal quibble, as I’m sure for many readers, this escapism will be exactly what is looked for.
Overall Echoes of Grace is a charming and delightful tale, exploring love, relationships and family dynamics. It is a book full of yearning and hope but it also touches on many other themes, including grief, bullying, jealousy and loneliness, feelings that we all, unfortunately, experience at some time in our lives.
Purchase Link ~ Echoes of Grace
[ Bio ]
Caragh Bell lives in West Cork, with her husband and five children. When she isn’t writing romance novels, she teaches English and French to teenagers.
She has previously written the Follow Your Heart Trilogy: Indecision, Regrets and Promises.
Twitter ~ @BellCaragh