Songs of Love and War

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

WWI novel that takes us on a journey up to the 1920s. While there was good character development, I didn't feel much for the characters in general. I also found the ending to be fairly predictable and so it made the second half of the novel difficult to slog through
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3.5 stars.   

A charming historical fiction tale set in the early 1900’s in Ireland and England.   The story follows three young women whose connection weaves thick and thin throughout several years and many life changing situations.   One of the best aspects of this novel is that it largely revolves around an old family castle on the countryside in Ireland.   There is love, loss and death.  There are ghosts, love triangles and hidden secrets.   All of these ingredients add up to one enticing tale that kept me curious to the end.  

While I enjoyed this generational saga, it did feel quite lengthy.   My attention did waver in and out as far as feeling truly connected to the characters and storyline.   It almost felt as though there was one too many storylines involved that made the novel spread a little too far.  

Thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster and Santa Montefiore for providing me with an ARC to read and review!
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This book has ghosts, curses, WWI, Ireland in the twentieth century, and family drama. I should have been absolutely enthralled. If this were any further up my alley, it would be living in my trash cans.
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Castle Deverill is cursed.

The first book in a planned trilogy, it is also published as The Girl in the Castle. 

I have been a fan of Santa Montefiore since reading her book Secrets of the Lighthouse, perfect in audio format as well as reading.  She has been compared to Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams, those are big shoes to fill and she pulls it off.

Kitty Deverill was born on the ninth day of the ninth month in the year 1900 to a mother that didn’t really want her and a relatively absent father, she spends most of her time with grandparents at Castle Deverill. The ghosts of her ancestors kept her company and this aspect is a lovely addition to the story. The Deverills are an English family living in Ireland and it’s during the fight for independence that most the action and drama takes over, though the repercussions continue for years to come. With rich detail and staying true to the history I was drawn in to the struggles and convictions of the Irish. The amount of research the author has done is evident, her passion for the time period shows very nicely here, I had no problem envisioning the landscape, the castle and lifestyle of the different social classes.

The plot was intricate with a story line that involved a wide range of characters, whether those making brief appearances or the one's this book revolves around, they were well developed, flawed, unique and authentic. 

This is definitely a series I will continue to read (already listening to the audiobook of The Daughters of Ireland ). Thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book in return for my honest opinion.

I have read a few of this author's previous books and enjoyed them, so I was excited to get this book.  I must say, I loved it!  This is my favourite of Ms. Montefiore's books so far.  The story caught my attention right away, the story of the Deverills and their castle, Kitty, Jack and Bridie, I was entranced with this story.   I loved the story of the curse that Maggie O'Leary put upon the Deverills and their Estate.  This story started in 1910, before World War I and took us through the WWI and right into the Irish War of Independence and into the mid 1920s.  The description of the Irish countryside has left me longing to go to Ireland and see it for myself.  The author's descriptive writing and her wonderful characters made this an easy read , it was hard to put down. 

What a lovely tale and I cannot wait to read more about the Deverills in Ms Montefiore's next book, The Daughters of Castle Deverill.
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I so enjoyed this book!  When it ended I was left thinking.... what becomes of everyone?.... only to discover there are more books about the Deverill's. 
I honestly was not aware it was a series of books.  I think Adeline was my favourite character and I hope she returns in the next novel......

The author's style of writing transported me to 1900 Ireland, with her beautifully detailed descriptions of places, people and things.

Would be a lovely movie or tv series. 

I appreciated the references to facts surrounding Ireland's struggles. 
Thank you to Net Galley for the opportunity to read in exchange for an honest review..
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Thanks to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Canada and Santa Montefiore for an ARC of this novel.  I suspect I am in the minority with this novel.  I found the book to be slow and it didn’t really capture my attention.  I normally enjoy historical novels, though I couldn’t get interested in the story.  I wasn’t interested in the story, as it was long and tedious for me, and I couldn’t even finish the novel unfortunately though I did try and push through hoping it would pick up it’s pace, it was just very flat.
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I have always loved historical fiction and when you throw my love of Ireland into the mix you are setting me up for the perfect storm! This novel did not disappoint!

This novel tells the story of the Deverill clan during the Irish War for Independence and the unrest of the early 1900's. Its beautiful narration places you right in the middle of the lives of the Deverills and Co Cork back in the days of wealthy landowners, their servants and the surrounding village. The detail imbued in the story takes you right back in time.

Kitty Deverill is not like her cousins, she considers herself Irish through and through even though most people consider her Anglo-Irish. She and her best friends, Bridie Doyle, the daughter of the cook, and Celia Deverill, Kitty's English cousin are growing up during some tumultuous times. The Great War is raging and the Irish unrest over British rule is worsening and secrets are being uncovered by each of the friends. This tears the girls apart and sends them to the far reaches of the world. Even though distance and secrets separate the friends their link to their home is never broken.

This beautifully written saga has everything you need for a great historical fiction series, self-discovery, family drama, tragedy, heartbreak, romance, friendship and loss! I cannot wait for the rest of the series!!

Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for my ARC for a fair and honest review!
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I am sorry but I did not have time to read this book before the publication date.  No review.
  It the reviews I have read are really good and I will definitely read it in the future.    I will rate it the same as the other reviews I have read
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I received a copy of this book via Net Galley for an honest review. I started to read this book in digital format and I was enjoying it so much that when I seen it in my bookstore, I had to buy it. The characters and plot pulled me right into this book from the first chapter. I didn’t want to put the book down. If you enjoy a Downton Abbey style book, then I highly recommend this book. This is the first book in a trilogy and I can’t wait for the next book to be be released.
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This story just didn't do it for me I'm afraid. I found parts to be a little 'stage Irish' such as comparing a gust of wind to St. Patrick's snakes or servants to leprechauns. I managed to try and put that aside but the story itself just didn't pull me in. 

It's a VERY long book and it took me a long time to get into it and even then I just found I wasn't interested enough in the relationships or characters. 

I think for anyone wanting to learn more about Anglo-Irish relations and the War of Independence this would be a good one as it's quite detailed.
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An engaging and captivating story about a young Anglo-Irish girl who grows up in a privileged household during Ireland's turbulent period before independence.  Kitty is a strong-willed and independent thinker whose ideals clash with those of her family.  Placed squarely between two cultures, she must decide where her true loyalties lie and how she can keep the trust of those she loves.  

I had previously read this book under the title "The Girl in the Castle" and thoroughly enjoyed reading it the second time.
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I LOVED this book.

A solid 4.5 star read.

If you like historical fiction, this is historical fiction at its best. I found that in the beginning it reminded me of a Kate Morton novel - a little slow to start, lots of characters, sometimes a little difficult to keep track of everyone ... and then the story took over and simply consumed me. 

This is a story that encompasses civil unrest (the struggle for Irish Independence), the Great War and a decline in the British Empire. Told through alternating perspectives, with a focus on Kitty Deverill, granddaughter of Lord Deverill (Lord of Castle Deverill), we are drawn into a story of love, rebellion, secrets and lies. 

As the story progresses we also get more about Bridie Doyle; ladies maid, and childhood friend to Kitty, and Kitty's cousin, Celia Deverill. Bridie's story becomes more of the focus as the book continues (especially Part 3), while Celia is kept more on the sidelines. However, based on the ending of this book, I think that Celia will become more of a primary character in the future.

This book reminded me of a mix of "Downton Abbey", "Upstairs/Downstairs", Gone with the Wind, and Anne of Green Gables - see what I mean about it being such a epic saga? It brings to light class differences, while also situating the reader perfectly in early 20th century Ireland.

Highly recommended read for anyone who enjoys well written historical sagas. Not only are the characters engaging, the storyline is engrossing. I didn't want to put this one down
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Are you upset that Downton Abbey is no longer on the air? Well, then this is a novel for you. Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a sprawling generational epic with a healthy enough pinch of romance to stir the heart and soul. And when I say epic, I mean epic. This is actually the first of a trilogy that will be released, although this volume has already had international success — it was published in the United States under the title The Girl in the Castle. No matter the name, Santa Montefiore’s Songs of Love and War (which is probably also the title of the next U2 album, hah) is a stately book set in Ireland during the time of the Troubles (the Irish War of Independence against the English). I’ll be honest: this isn’t really the sort of book that I’d normally read, and I would heartily recommend it to my mother, who is bound to eat this thing up. It kind of reminds of a Ken Follett book in that it is a historical novel (a genre that he has mined in the past), but Montefiore, I’m happy to report, is a much better writer than Follett.

Songs of Love and War is about the class divisions between the Irish and English, as told through the lens of three young protagonists. You have Kitty Deverill, a young girl who is rumbustious and Anglo-Irish, living, in part, in a large castle owned by her family. Her best friend Bridie Doyle is the daughter of the castle’s cook and lives in poverty. Both are madly in love with an Irish boy named Jack O’Leary, whose family has cursed the Deverils. The novel charts their coming of age from carefree nine-year-olds in the years leading up to the Great War to grown men and women who are scattered about the globe in the consequences of the War and the Irish uprising. Suffice to say, there’s enough plot in this novel to form three novels, which makes what is to come a tantalizing prospect.

Even thought this book might not be exactly my cup of tea — I selected it for review from a publisher on NetGalley that seems to like me and give me copies of any books that I request from them, so I felt that I owed favours — I wholeheartedly loved it. I might not also be the target demographic for this book, given the romantic angle, but I found that — as a man — the heart pitter-patter stuff wasn’t too cloying or sentimental. I learned a lot from reading this about Irish history and the tensions that arose between Ireland and England. As a historical primer, the book succeeds completely. However, Songs of Love and War is a compulsive page-turner, too. I don’t know how much to say about this without giving away realms of plot, but the fact that the book sheds its Irish setting to take place in England and America gives it a grandiose sweep. Bonus points, too, for having a couple of sympathetic gay characters as well.

The only thing that is lacking about the book is that it suffers from the Too Many Minor Characters problem. Kitty has so much extended family that it is hard to keep track of them all, especially when minor characters (some of whom who go on to play a rather significant role by the novel’s end) are barely introduced and are hardly fleshed out. That’s the only thing, though, that is truly problematic about the book, and I suppose it would have been helpful if a table of who’s who was introduced at the front of the novel that you could refer back to. (Well, I read this as a digital copy, so perhaps annotations would have been better in that regard.)

To go from the negative to the positive, I liked the supernatural aspect of this work. You see, Kitty and her grandmother can see dead people — mostly members of their family who have passed on. That gives this book a sense of time’s passage and the legacy that this family leaves behind. I didn’t find this element a distraction at all, even though it is quite unbelievable. Given that this is a speculative fiction element, I wonder if it’s there to draw in male readers who may not be so swooned by the lovey-dovey stuff in the book. In any event, it’s bold. Kudos to the author for having the element present in what is otherwise a serious work.

The book, I should add, isn’t really “literary” and it isn’t meant to be. It’s just a fun, spirited read. Women will undoubtedly flock to this book for all of the bodice ripping. However, men can just be as equally amused by the book. Why? These are characters that you care about, and they grow and mature in realistic way throughout the course of the tale. It not only works as a bildungsroman, but also a reversal of fortune tale. (To say more would be tip-toing into the garden of spoilers.) The novel is weighty and loaded with adventure, and if one is looking for pure escapism, you’d do far worse than pick this one up.

The book does end on a cliffhanger (and a multiple cliffhanger at that), so I’m curious as to where the rest of the trilogy will go with this story. I do desperately want to know what happens to these people, and how their fates endure through the Great Depression and the Second World War (presuming that the story will go that far). In a sense, Songs of Love and War is a yarn about Britain through the 20th century and of the class and religious struggles of the British Isles during that period. Yes, you can learn a lot by reading this book, but it’s as enjoyable as it is educational. This is a top-shelf engrossing read, and if historical fiction with a dash of the unreal and romantic is a fit for you, this novel will leave you wanting more. Thankfully, there’s two more books in line to quench the reader’s thirst of this story of love and desire on the Emerald Isle. I don’t know about you, but I can’t hardly wait for the sequels!
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A great historical novel set in Ireland  in the early 1900's during the Irish war of Independence. This is a period in history that I have not read much on, glad to find a new genre.   The characters are well developed, you will for sure have some favourites and some not so much.   The descriptions of scenery makes one feel like you are in Ireland. While the book is quite long ,it is an enthralling and easy read, touching on many struggles in society that are still relevant today. Cannot wait to read next book in series
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This novel had some interesting premises.  However, I was distracted by the overabundance of adjectives and flowery descriptions.  In addition, I usually avoid books with ghosts in them!  Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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An Anglo/English family, the Deverills, had been given land centuries before living in the time Southern Ireland was demanding Independence from the English.   Love and war aptly describe how the story unfolds..   Kitty Deverill, an Anglo/Irish becomes best friends with her maid Bridie, both fall in love with Jack, the son of a vet..  They all know the inequality of their status makes it an impossible situation, yet their lives become entwined till the end.   When the Irish start demanding their independence from England, violence erupts.   Very well written and I look forward to the next book in the series.
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Songs of Love and War is more than just a family saga of the Deverill's and the story of Kitty and Bridie and Celia. It is also the story of the Irish War of Independence with England.

The characters are well drawn out, they are like any other family with their ups and their downs. World War 1 changes all their lives.

The story spans over 15 years of their challenges, their determination, their losses. 

I am so excited to know that the saga of the Deverill's will continue for another 2 eagerly awaited books. 
Thanks to NetGalley for my copy. 

I am certainly eager to continue this fascinating story
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NetGalley provided a copy of the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Songs of Love and War by Santa Montefiore is a historical fiction set during the Irish War of Independence. This original read is the story of three friends—Kitty, Bridie and Celia. They come from different backgrounds but their friendship is unwavering. Their joys and struggles are revealed as they come to terms with their individual journey. This well-written novel moves quickly. The characters are developed with strong and identifiable voices. The setting comes to life as well.  Santa Montefiore has written a page-turner.
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Great novel depicting the struggle between the English and the Irish in Ireland during the early 1900’s . The book shows also the class struggles and how so many regardless of class loved their country and fought for it’s independence. The characters were diverse but each brought uniqueness to the novel, especially strong willed Kitty and Birdie. Some Irish folklore and of course the scenery makes this an interesting historical read. The book really took off half way through when events begin to unfold . Thanks netgalley.
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