Alone on an island, surrounded by flowers that shine as dusk begins to fall, sits an old, faded house. Rooms cannot be rented here and visits are only for those haunted by the memory of loss.
When Liddy receives an invitation, she thinks there must be some mistake – she’s never experienced loss. But with her curiosity stirred, and no other way to escape a life in which she feels trapped, she decides to accept.
Once there, she meets Vivienne, a beautiful, austere woman whose glare leaves Liddy unsettled; Ben, the reserved gardener; and Raphael, the enigmatic Keymaker. If Liddy is to discover her true purpose in the house, she must find the root of their sorrow – but the house won’t give up its secrets so easily . . .
When Liddy receives a mysterious and slightly odd invitation to visit the House of Sorrowing Stars she thinks it is a mistake, but in an attempt to escape an arranged marriage she decides to accept it. Once she arrives she believes she has been sent there to make marchpane, a delicious marzipan delight that her father’s business is infamous for making. As the plot unravels she realises there is so much more to her being there than meets the eye. Libby also discovers she has a confusing bond with the enigmatic Raphael, the dark and brooding Keymaker, who hides himself away in a darkened room. The tension and the connection between them is portrayed really well. There are some wonderful characters, from Vivienne the starchy and austere owner to Ben, the kind and gentle gardener, and the cast of characters in between.
This is such a beautiful and haunting read and I couldn’t put it down. The story takes the reader through a range of emotions and it is as uplifting as it is sorrowful. Although the focus is on grief and loss there is also a strong sense of hope and happiness within the pages. I liked the historical feel to the novel, apparent in the costumes they wear, the food they eat, the candlelit rooms, and at times it felt like a fantasy version of a particularly dark Jane Austen novel. The combination of the historical and fantasy elements is very effective and worked really well. The setting is perfect, the house has a eerie haunted feel but there is also beauty in the gardens and the lake submerged with Sorrowing Stars, flowers that light up and shimmer at nighttime.
The writing is exquisite, it’s poetic and completely mesmerising. The detailed descriptions conjure up vivid imagery which I will always remember and the story itself maintains a steady pace throughout, allowing the reader to absorb this beautiful prose. The House of Sorrowing Stars is an enchanting and magical fairytale, which was a sheer delight to read. I will definitely be reaching for the author’s previous novel, Feathertide.
Publication Date (UK): 10 February 2022
Page Count: 400
Thank you to the publisher for the gifted advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊