Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by NAL Trade
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
Inside the glass orb was a miniature garden and a house. If she stared long enough, she could almost see the people inside. But whether they were trapped there, or kept safe, in that miniscule snowbound world, she couldn’t have said…
Christmas 1926 holds bright promise for nineteen-year-old Daisy Forbes, with celebrations under way at Eden Hall, her family’s country estate in Surrey, England. But when Daisy, the youngest of three daughters, discovers that her adored father, Howard, has been leading a double life, her illusions of perfection are shattered. Worse, his current mistress, introduced as a family friend, is joining them for the holidays. As Daisy wrestles with the truth, she blossoms in her own right, receiving a marriage proposal from one man, a declaration of love from another, and her first kiss from a third. Meanwhile, her mother, Mabel, manages these social complications with outward calm, while privately reviewing her life and contemplating significant changes. And among those below stairs, Nancy, the housekeeper, and Mrs. Jessops, the cook, find that their long-held secrets are slowly beginning to surface…
As the seasons unfold in the new year, and Daisy moves to London, desires, fortunes, and loyalties will shift during this tumultuous time after the Great War. The Forbes family and those who serve them will follow their hearts down unexpected paths that always return to where they began…Eden Hall.
But while the book is most definitely a historical tale like Downton, author Judith Kinghorn has written a effervescent story on mothers and daughters, and what it takes to navigate life, love and relationships both upstairs and downstairs, in a beautifully-paced tale that reminded me far more strongly of books like Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters.
Kinghorn introduces us to Daisy, a nineteen-year-old girl who's looking forward to love and relationships in 1926. However, a twist of fate leads her to finding out that her father has been cheating on her mother, leaving Daisy with shattered illusions about her family, and questioning her own relatonship prospects.
Aas she moves to London, Daisy begins to learn that relationships, life and love occur in shades of gray. Now, along with her mother Mabel and the other women of Eden Hall, Daisy and her family all seeks to find out what they wants to make their lives and relationships work.
Kinghorn beautifully depicts the restlessness felt by both young and older generations during the 1920s, and how this was very much a time when individuals and families were reflecting on their needs and their wants, both in a post-war era, and a period where social norms and convention were constantly evolving. Though Daisy is not necessarily as daring or adventerous as some of her contemporaries (or even some members of her fmaily), she's very much representative of the shifting attitudes of the time.
Outside of Daisy's story, Kinghorn also does a great job vis-a-vis Mabel and Dosie, of showing how while the Bright Young Things may have dominated this period, the older generations were coming into freedoms and opportunities that were unique to them as well. Ultimately, The Snow Globe is a beautiful family saga - with albeit lighter intentions - that ask us to consider the shifting attitudes of the time, and even one family within a single space, could be so very representative of the future.
I highly recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, especially readers who may be dipping a toe into historical fiction for the first time, and looking to find something with the same ambiance of Downton Abbey, or Wives and Daughters.
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