About the book:
Accept it, he is dead.
No, it’s not true.
It is. Everyone thinks so except you.
When the family home in London is bombed in the early 1940s, Maddie and her two young daughters take refuge in Norfolk, in the country house where Maddie’s husband Philip spent the summers of his childhood. But Philip is gone, believed to have been killed in action in northern France. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Maddie refuses to give up hope that she and Philip will some day be reunited.
Something happened at Knyghton one summer years before. Something unresolved, that involved Philip, his cousin Lyle and a mysterious young woman named Flora. Maddie’s curiosity, which turns to desperation to find out the truth, is shut down at every turn. No one will speak about it, and no one will reassure Maddie that Philip will ever return to Knyghton.
A beautifully rendered novel about loyalty and betrayal, hope and despair, a husband and wife separated by secrets as well as by distance, One Moonlit Night is the extraordinarily powerful new novel from the bestselling author Rachel Hore.
Rachel Hore has been a go-to author of mine for some years, and One Moonlit Night was a completely engrossing saga about a family during the Second World War. There are secrets and betrayals that exist, burdening the family members as tragedies divide them.
I loved the fact that Maddie continued to work as a children’s illustrator after she married and had children, modern beyond her time and with a supportive husband who did not want to prevent her from her art. When she left London, to move to her husband Philip’s family home, it felt poignant given the news reports we’ve had in recent weeks of mothers and children fleeing from their homes with what they were able to salvage, Maddie and her daughters leaving with the few items salvaged from the rubble where their house had stood.
Knyghton as a location sounded idyllic, and I loved the almost spooky atmosphere to the setting, which is almost expected in a property that has been there for hundreds of years. At first Maddie and the children were reluctantly welcomed by family that Philip had never introduced them to, but as they settled in, it was easy to warm to the other characters based at the house, Philip’s Aunt Gussie and her adorable dogs, Philip’s cousin Lyle and the Fleggs, the irritable housekeeper and her laidback husband. As the story progressed we met additional characters and I really liked Anna, the Polish widow who was living in the Rectory with her children as a refugee, unable to return to Poland or find out information about her family members.
Interspersed with Maddie’s story are chapters featuring Philip in a timeline roughly a year before Maddie leaves London, following the incident which left him missing in action but believed dead. As he recovers from his injuries, helped by many people risking their own lives to help him, he is forced to head south to make his way out of France to find his way home. There was plenty of tension surrounding him and the risks involved with all of his actions, to the point that I found myself willing him to make it home, and it felt like the perfect foil for the secrets and mysteries that Maddie was dealing with.
I found the book entrancing, it pulled me into the story and I was so invested in the characters that I could not put it down. One Moonlit Night is a beautiful story of secrets, loyalty, betrayals, but most of all, hope and love.
Many thanks to Books and the City, Simon & Schuster and Rachel Hore for my invitation to take part in the blog tour. Please check out the stops that have happened previously:
About the author:
Rachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she taught publishing and creative writing at the University of East Anglia before becoming a full-time writer. She is married to the writer D. J. Taylor and they have three sons.