Today is my stop of the book blog tour for Taking Heart by Rowena Summers. I absolutely love that Agora Books are breathing new life into some amazing women’s fiction. The re-release of Beryl Kingston’s titles has been my bookish highlight and now I got to discover Rowena Summers for the very first time too. I can’t wait to see what is next.
Taking heart by Rowena Summers
But at least we still have each other. As long as we still have the family, we’ll be all right.
Imogen and her sisters are fighting to save their childhood home and remain in Bristol. Their father has announced the sale of the family business and everything is about to change.
But when a terrible tragedy tears the family apart, the Caldwell girls must forge their own paths in life. And with the Second World War looming over England, their lives begin to change more drastically than they could have imagined.
Through love and heartbreak, fear and loss, can the Caldwell girls make it out unscathed? Or will they be swept up in the chaos of the changing times?
Taking Heart was first published in 2000.
Book Review by Kelly Lacey
Taking Heart is a gentle read which captures the time period of 1939 perfectly. It is old fashioned in nature purely for that reason. It is 1939 not 2019 and things were very very different. At first I found myself trying to get used to the pace of the book. It is delicate and not to be rushed.
We meet the Caldwell family as they hit hard times. This isn’t a tale about a lower class family and struggles. This family have a cook and a nurse to look after their mother so they are not short of a bob or two. The story revolves around the family and especially the Caldwell sisters, Immy, Elsie and Daisy. Three strong girls who are all trying to find their place in the world and they are also intrigued by love and how it feels when you find the right person.
So we go on a journey with each one of the Caldwell sisters with an intertwining story from the rest of the family. Rowena Summers writes authentically about that time and what everyone was feeling about the pending war. I suppose to some it may seem far fetched that women were somewhat controlled by men back then. On the very first page I gasped as I read “Women were not supposed to have any intelligence at all, or if they did , they were not supposed to show it.”
That really let me know a lot about the setting of the book and after I picked my chin off the floor I dived in and I am so glad I did. It was an extremely emotional read and the characters feelings flew from the pages into my heart. The books covers some strong topics that are still very much around today.
There is a small scene in the book where one of the girls has an issue and her resolution option would be to write to Agony Aunt Em in the newspaper. Our equivalent to Google now. It made me think about what time period I would pick if had a choice. I really think I am too much of a geek and I don’t think my personality would suit the 1930’s.
I also really loved this line in the book “Time didn’t stand still just because the fabric of the Caldwells’ lives were changing.”
Rowena Summers died in 2011 and I think if she’s looking down from wherever I think she would be ever so proud that a new generation are getting to know her work.
I think if you enjoy books by Beryl Kingston and Maureen Lee then you will too enjoy Rowena Summers writing. Taking Heart is the first in a series and I can’t wait to meet the Caldwells again and find out what happens.
Thank you to Peyton for this wonderful opportunity, you keep giving me all these wonderful characters to care about and adventures to go on. I am very grateful.
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