A sprawling saga of love and family spanning generations of people connected by friendships and their entanglements.
Songs of Love and War
by Santa Montefiore
Admittedly, this book was intimidating at first glance. At 528 pages, I didn’t think I was going to finish reading this in time to write a review for my blog tour stop. To my surprise, Songs of Love and War was readable enough that I barely notice time passing by. It was that captivating.
As a child, Kitty Deverill grew up barely interacting with her parents. Her fiery red hair and her “plain face” didn’t encourage the kind of love from her mother. Her father, on the other hand, was too busy having an affair to notice the bold and brave little miss. Despite the lack of paternal affections, her childhood didn’t lack for love. Her grandparents gave her more than enough. She also had the friendships of Birdie – the cook’s daughter, and Jack, the son of the town’s veterinarian.
Growing up in the Castle Deverill also was hardly a tedious living. Having inherited her grandmother’s ability to communicate with the dead, she’s entertained by the ghosts of the Deverill men who were cursed to haunt the castle. All in all, she managed to grow up a well-adjusted, opinionated, and intelligent woman.
But a war was brewing between Anglo-Irish and the Irish. And since her family was English who owned a castle in an Irish land, things were turbulent. Kitty will find herself sympathizing with the Irish and forming an alliance with a person she least expects.
Meanwhile, Birdie has suffered one heartbreak after another. From the death of her father and unfathomable losses, she was left with no choice but to leave Ireland and find her fortunes in America. There, she would once again be a servant; forever regretting the choices she made and thinking about the family she left behind.
In truth, this book is hard to break down. It simply is impossible. The only thing you should anticipate is how easily their stories will captivate you. The Ireland she described will make you pine for a country as much as the Irish pined for the loss during the invasion of England and their fight to take it back. There are plenty of romances here, but also some difficult scenes of rape. Both of which are not connected, to be clear. On the flipside of those romances are heartbreaks as well. Kitty was not spared from this; not Jack, and especially not Birdie.
And if that’s not epic enough, there is also a supernatural aspect here. The castle itself felt like a living, breathing character in the background. The curse of the Deverill men being trapped in the castle forever was not the focal point, but certainly an interesting and integral part of the story.