The Glittering Hour
An unforgettable historical about true love found and lost and the secrets we keep from one another from an award-winning author Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying on just the right side of scandal, all while running from the life her parents would choose for her.Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina's orbit one night and can never let her go even while knowing someone of her stature could never end up with someone of his. Except Selina falls hard for Lawrence, envisioning a life of true happiness. But when tragedy strikes, Selina finds herself choosing what's safe over what's right.Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, Iona Grey's The Glittering Hour is an epic novel of passion, heartache and loss.

The Glittering Hour Details

TitleThe Glittering Hour
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 10th, 2019
PublisherThomas Dunne Books
ISBN-139781250066794
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance

The Glittering Hour Review

  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Any book that can make me cry like that is deserving of a solid 5 stars! I will start by saying that the synopsis of this novel didn’t attract or stand out to me. However, when I received this book in the mail from the publisher, I simply had a good feeling about it and when my Traveling Sister Brenda suggested starting it right away, I dove right in. Wow - these characters really got to me! In fact, I have to admit, I have a huge “book crush” on Lawrence - one of the main characters. He had me Any book that can make me cry like that is deserving of a solid 5 stars! I will start by saying that the synopsis of this novel didn’t attract or stand out to me. However, when I received this book in the mail from the publisher, I simply had a good feeling about it and when my Traveling Sister Brenda suggested starting it right away, I dove right in. Wow - these characters really got to me! In fact, I have to admit, I have a huge “book crush” on Lawrence - one of the main characters. He had me melting throughout this entire novel.The dual narrative, a decade apart, was brilliantly executed! I loved how the story flowed and unraveled. One of my most favourite parts of this novel were the letters from Mama to nine-year-old Alice. They perfectly captured the most tender and touching aspects of a mother-daughter relationship. My heart felt full when reading those letters. There were parts of the plot that I had figured out early on, yet this didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all. The writing is exquisite and kept me hanging on every word. The eloquent prose reminded me of Kate Morton’s novels, but not quite as descriptive. I was consumed and enamoured by this story - part mystery, part love story. I am not a romance reader, but the love story within these pages engrossed me completely. It is not a gripping or addictive book, but more of a slow burn, luxurious, comforting story that will touch your heart. A big thank you to St Martins Press for surprising me with this copy! I truly loved it!
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars He had no place in her world, amongst her people, and no more did she belong in his. Love, Secrets, Tragedy, Choices, Love Lost, Longing...Selina Lennox grew up in luxury. She was at the hottest parties and events. Staying out late, partying and enjoying her life. Lawrence Weston was a poor photographer and painter who has a chance meeting with Selina. That chance meeting was all it took to change their lives forever.The beginning was an extremely slow burn for me. If it weren't for 3.5 stars He had no place in her world, amongst her people, and no more did she belong in his. Love, Secrets, Tragedy, Choices, Love Lost, Longing...Selina Lennox grew up in luxury. She was at the hottest parties and events. Staying out late, partying and enjoying her life. Lawrence Weston was a poor photographer and painter who has a chance meeting with Selina. That chance meeting was all it took to change their lives forever.The beginning was an extremely slow burn for me. If it weren't for the letters between Selina and Alice and the moments between Selina and Lawrence, this might have been a DNF for me. Time dragged for me for the first part of this book. Around the sixty percent mark, this book really picked up for me and I found it hard to put down. In fact, at that point, it became a page-turner for me. This is where the book grabbed me. The last part of the book was captivating and gut-wrenching. It saved the book for me and I came away happy that I had read it but it was work in the beginning. At the end, I decided that the slow burn was worth it, so my advice for those who are struggling, in the beginning, is to stick with this book as it does deliver in the end.So, if you enjoy slow-burn, historical books, this one might be the book for you. I really enjoyed her other book Letters to the Lost and highly recommend that one. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my goodness! This book! Don’t you love it when a book with that kind of cover comes into your life, one you have been anticipating reading for months now, and it lives up to your every expectation? The Glittering Hour was just that kind of read for me.The Glittering Hour is set in England during the 1920s and 30s, in the time leading up to WWII. Immediately, I was excited about this time period as a nice change from all the traditional WWII fiction I read.Selina Lennox is a “Bright Young Oh my goodness! This book! Don’t you love it when a book with that kind of cover comes into your life, one you have been anticipating reading for months now, and it lives up to your every expectation? The Glittering Hour was just that kind of read for me.The Glittering Hour is set in England during the 1920s and 30s, in the time leading up to WWII. Immediately, I was excited about this time period as a nice change from all the traditional WWII fiction I read.Selina Lennox is a “Bright Young Thing.” She is roaring into the 20s like all the young people her age, drinking and partying. Her wealthy parents have plans for her, but she wants no part.Lawrence Weston is a painter, rather common, and the two fall in love even though they known it’s unlikely they can stay together because they live in such different worlds. They still dream of being together when tragedy strikes.Selena and Lawrence’s story is one of forbidden love. I was lost in the writing and mesmerized with the power of their bond. I had tissues nearby as this one brought out all my emotions. I never expected to be so enthralled with these two characters.Overall, The Glittering Hour is an enchanting story that makes you believe in love again. Oh, and don’t miss that ending!I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
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  • Brenda -Traveling Sister/ Happy New Year, Friends!
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsWith my wine glass in hand, I started my own glitter hour and was swept away into the glitter and secrets of our endearing characters.Glittering Hour is a slow-burning dramatic, flamboyantly written story that explores lost love and family secrets. It's a bit wordy and I found myself lost in the words and losing focus for the story at times. I loved both timelines and enjoyed the world of the "Bright Young People" who are famed for their "extravagant parties and lavish lifestyle." 3.5 starsWith my wine glass in hand, I started my own glitter hour and was swept away into the glitter and secrets of our endearing characters.Glittering Hour is a slow-burning dramatic, flamboyantly written story that explores lost love and family secrets. It's a bit wordy and I found myself lost in the words and losing focus for the story at times. I loved both timelines and enjoyed the world of the "Bright Young People" who are famed for their "extravagant parties and lavish lifestyle." Endearing as the characters are, at times, they felt stereotyped, but with the title like Bright Young People, I can see why. Iona Grey does a great job creating some irresistible characters and one in particular who Lindsay would say is book crush material and I agree. She is so cute. lol The ending wraps up well and some tissue might be required! I received a surprise gifted copy in a beautiful glittering punch from St Martins Press
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  • Bkwmlee
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsWhen I was first asked to join the blog tour for Iona Grey’s latest novel The Glittering Hour , I was a little apprehensive at first, as I had never heard of this author before and of course hadn’t read her debut novel Letters to the Lost , which came out back in 2015. After reading the summary for the book though and seeing that it fell into one of my favorite genres (historical fiction), I decided to take a chance with this one and see where it would take me. Looking back now after 4.5 starsWhen I was first asked to join the blog tour for Iona Grey’s latest novel The Glittering Hour , I was a little apprehensive at first, as I had never heard of this author before and of course hadn’t read her debut novel Letters to the Lost , which came out back in 2015. After reading the summary for the book though and seeing that it fell into one of my favorite genres (historical fiction), I decided to take a chance with this one and see where it would take me. Looking back now after having finished the book, I am tremendously glad that I did so, as this turned out to be an excellent read – one in which not only the story continues to stay with me, but also the characters, almost all of whom I can’t stop thinking about. This was one of those books where the beautiful writing drew me in from the first page and I found it difficult to stop reading once I had started. With a duel timeline alternating between 1925 and 1936, the crux of the story centers around an unlikely romance between Selina Lennox -- a wealthy, privileged young woman from a noble family who spends majority of her time drinking, partying, creating scandal – and Lawrence Weston, a penniless but hardworking painter whose real talent lies in photography and capturing life’s most candid moments. Despite being from two completely opposite worlds, Selina and Lawrence fall hard for each other and, for a brief period of time, it appeared that true love and happiness were within their reach. But then tragedy strikes and Selina decides to forego her relationship with Lawrence in favor of the “safe” option of Rupert Carew — her deceased brother’s friend and also a match approved by her parents. A decade later, in 1936, nine-year-old Alice Carew is left in the care of her grandparents and a beloved maid at Blackwood, the estate where her mother Selina grew up, while her parents are on a business trip to Burma for a few months. Alice is a sensitive soul and not being able to stand the separation and secluded loneliness of Blackwood, she yearns for her mother and whiles away the time thinking about their many moments together. Through her maid Polly, Selina sends her daughter letters in which she scatters clues about her past, sending Alice on a treasure hunt of sorts to discover one of her most prized secrets. The two threads of the story — Selina’s past from 1926 and Alice’s current reality in 1936 —eventually come together in a surprising, emotional ending that is almost guaranteed to have the reader in tears.My first thought after finishing this book is how beautifully written this story was. Even though the story leans more toward romance than historical fiction, the historical elements were still done extremely well, to the point that I truly felt transported to the time and place depicted (England in the 1920s and 1930s). For those who may be concerned about the romance piece — yes, the love story IS the core around which the rest of the story revolves, however don’t worry, as the narrative is well-balanced enough that the romance piece doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the story. With an epic story such as this one, maintaining such a balance along with a nearly flawless execution is no easy feat and Grey absolutely delivers here. Structure-wise, within the alternating timeline, each of the main characters also got the chance to contribute their piece to the story without diluting the main narrative that revolved around Selina and Alice. I appreciate this structure, as it allowed me to get better perspective on each of the characters and see another side to them that I wouldn’t otherwise have known.Given how much I enjoyed this one, it was very close to being a 5 star read for me, however there were a few things that put it more in the 4.5 range for me. I felt that part 1 of the story dragged a little in a few places, plus a few scenes seemed repetitive and perhaps not entirely necessary...with that said though, part 2 was wonderfully written, with its emotional impact nearly making up for the minor flaws in the first part.Without a doubt, I would definitely recommend this moving story of love, loss, passion, betrayal, family dynamics, hidden secrets, and the complexities of pursuing the truth. If you decide to read this though, definitely have some tissues ready.Received ARC from Thomas Dunne Books via NetGalley.
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  • DJ Sakata
    January 1, 1970
    Favorite Quotes:Blackwood Park was full of ghosts. Its empty corridors echoed with the whispers of lost voices and snatches of old laughter. It was a house where the past felt more vivid than the present, which was nothing more than a stretch of endless days fading into uniform blankness.… there was a bowl of paperwhite daffodils on the table by her armchair. Their delicate perfume was fresh in a room that smelled of stopped clocks and old paper.I resented the rules and restrictions and the Favorite Quotes:Blackwood Park was full of ghosts. Its empty corridors echoed with the whispers of lost voices and snatches of old laughter. It was a house where the past felt more vivid than the present, which was nothing more than a stretch of endless days fading into uniform blankness.… there was a bowl of paperwhite daffodils on the table by her armchair. Their delicate perfume was fresh in a room that smelled of stopped clocks and old paper.I resented the rules and restrictions and the rigidness … The hypocrisy and control… Their favourite punishment was to withhold food, and I resented being sent to bed hungry while downstairs seven courses were being served in the dining room and people were only picking at each of them. And the more resentful I was the naughtier I became and the more I was punished… I spent my childhood feeling permanently ravenous.Don’t you be shy about ringing the bell or going down to find her if it doesn’t appear –she’s got a head like a sieve, that one. Not that I imagine she’ll have much time for daydreaming today. Miss Lovelock’s had her up and down like a fiddler’s elbow already this morning, fetching tea and toast and hot water cans and whatnot.‘Someone once told me that a woman’s body is like a piano. It’s up to the man whether he chooses to pick out a nursery rhyme with one finger, or learn how to play a symphony. I suppose that was the first movement’… ‘I’m terribly ignorant about culture,’ she whispered. ‘Remind me – how many movements are there in a symphony?’Secrets and half-truths seemed to swirl through the corridors on icy currents of air.My Review:This was a feast of a book. The Glittering Hour was thoughtfully written and cunningly insightful as well as shrewdly observant. It was a slowly evolving and highly emotive story that was skillfully crafted and elegantly told, and I absorbed it as if it were being injected straight into my gray matter while vivid imagery flickered behind my eyes. There were four-hundred-eighty beautifully written pages and I read them ever so slowly as I wanted to savor each perfectly chosen word, even though the storylines turned me inside out, stung my eyes, pinched my heart, and put hot rocks in my throat. Iona Grey is found treasure and a new addition at the very top of my list of favorite authors.
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  • MicheleReader
    January 1, 1970
    I normally compose my reviews right after finishing a book but after finishing The Glittering Hour I had to wait – I had to compose myself first. So with tears still in my eyes, I would like to share how deeply this book moved me. First of all, it completely transports the reader to both timelines - in 1925 when we meet free-spirited Selina and then in 1936 when we meet her daughter Alice. Both timelines are equally interesting and engaging. The life of Selina and her fellow Bright Young Things I normally compose my reviews right after finishing a book but after finishing The Glittering Hour I had to wait – I had to compose myself first. So with tears still in my eyes, I would like to share how deeply this book moved me. First of all, it completely transports the reader to both timelines - in 1925 when we meet free-spirited Selina and then in 1936 when we meet her daughter Alice. Both timelines are equally interesting and engaging. The life of Selina and her fellow Bright Young Things is well captured. The world of young Alice is also so well described that you can perfectly visualize her grandparents' decaying estate. Each character was just perfect as was the whole book – right to the last page. I want to thank NetGalley, Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press and Ms. Grey for an advance copy of this wonderful book.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    3.5*A lovely book tinged with sadness. A story about a big love and secrets told in two parts. I especially enjoyed the time period and tone of the book.The story is about Selina Lennox, who was a young socialite in England. She marries in 1926 to a man that her family deems to be acceptable and gives birth to a daughter, Alice. The story begins in 1936 as Selina accompanies her husband on a business trip to Burma. She has to leave her daughter in the care of her up-to-do family. As she knows it 3.5*A lovely book tinged with sadness. A story about a big love and secrets told in two parts. I especially enjoyed the time period and tone of the book.The story is about Selina Lennox, who was a young socialite in England. She marries in 1926 to a man that her family deems to be acceptable and gives birth to a daughter, Alice. The story begins in 1936 as Selina accompanies her husband on a business trip to Burma. She has to leave her daughter in the care of her up-to-do family. As she knows it will be hard for her daughter to be away from her and stay with her family that has always been a little distant she starts a little game with her. She begins to write letters to Alice and tells her she will reveal to her about how she "became to be." Essentially the story of Alice. With the letters are clues to a treasure hunt that will lead Alice to discover things about her life. The story here goes back and forth from 1926 to 1936.I thought the premise of the book was pretty clever. Although the story was engaging I did find part one to somewhat lag. I would have also preferred for the big love story to be drawn out a little bit more. I found that part lacked some depth for me initially although it made up for it in part two. Part two of the book was very touching (albeit sad.)I read, Iona Grey's first novel, "Letters to the Lost" and loved that one a lot. I didn't find myself as captivated by this one but nevertheless I still enjoyed it. I think she is an up and coming and talented author who I will for sure keep my eyes out for any upcoming releases.I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for granting me the opportunity to read this Advance Reader Copy.
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  • Karren Sandercock
    January 1, 1970
    The Glittering Hour, is a story with a dual timeline, it flows seamlessly between 1925 and 1936. In 1925 the war is over, Selina is a member of the "Bright Young People" she spends her time going to parties, staying up late, drinking way too much, going on silly treasure hunts with her friends and she's footloose and fancy free. Really, Selina is very insecure due to her strict upbringing, her mother is a stern, cold, distant woman and she finds her youngest daughter rather flighty. Selina The Glittering Hour, is a story with a dual timeline, it flows seamlessly between 1925 and 1936. In 1925 the war is over, Selina is a member of the "Bright Young People" she spends her time going to parties, staying up late, drinking way too much, going on silly treasure hunts with her friends and she's footloose and fancy free. Really, Selina is very insecure due to her strict upbringing, her mother is a stern, cold, distant woman and she finds her youngest daughter rather flighty. Selina misses her brother Howard terribly he died fighting in WW I, she's partying and living life for both of them.One night while driving around with her friends on a treasure hunt, they run over a cat, Selina gets out of the car, her friends drive off and leave her behind with the injured cat. Lawrence Weston comes to her aide, he's a complete stranger, and together they bury the poor unfortunate cat. Lawrence is a struggling artist, he paints portraits of young men who died fighting in WW I, he uses photos given to him by their families and he provides them with a lasting memento of their lost sons. He really wants to be a photographer, he needs the money and painting is a way for him to support himself! In 1936, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her grandparents, they have employed a governess, Miss Vera Lovelock to look after her and see to her education. Selina is away with her husband on a business trip to Burma, she sends her lonely daughter letters and her maid Polly passes them on to Alice. To help Alice discover secrets from her mothers past, she sends her daughter on a treasure hunt, with clues hidden in the letters and she's looking for items scattered around the families crumbling property. Here Alice meets the families old gardener Mr Patterson, they become friends, she begins helping him in the garden and she's not as lonely.Blackwood is an old family estate, the Lennox Family is struggling to maintain the house and the once beautiful gardens are over grown. Many upper class families struggled to manage their homes after WW I, times had changed and they no longer had the money or the staff to do so!At the time, women of Selina's class are expected to marry well, it's a way of topping up the families finances, keeping the expensive estates a float and especially for families who had lost, sons and husbands in the war. Selina is under pressure to do the right thing, marry her brothers best friend Rupert Carew and make her mother happy for once. She feels an instant connection with Lawrence Weston, will she throw caution to the wind, follow her her heart and let her family down?Iona Grey has written a story about, hidden secrets, family honor, discovering the truth and the pain of lost love. Get out the tissues, you will need them and I gave The Glittering Hour five big stars. I have shared my review on Australian Amazon, Goodreads, Edelweiss, Twitter and my blog.https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/
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  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    Why I love itby Evie Dunmore"You're so scared of death that you're meeting it halfway.”How much I love a book is directly proportional to how hard it can wrench my heart. As such, The Glittering Hour dazzles on my 2019 favorites list—I solidly sobbed my way through the last third of it. I hadn’t seen it coming; the book builds gradually, and the quiet poignancies and understated elegance of the prose snuck up on me, then pounced at the twist.Selina Lennox is young, aristocratic, beautiful, and Why I love itby Evie Dunmore"You're so scared of death that you're meeting it halfway.”How much I love a book is directly proportional to how hard it can wrench my heart. As such, The Glittering Hour dazzles on my 2019 favorites list—I solidly sobbed my way through the last third of it. I hadn’t seen it coming; the book builds gradually, and the quiet poignancies and understated elegance of the prose snuck up on me, then pounced at the twist.Selina Lennox is young, aristocratic, beautiful, and living it up in 1920s London. Most of all, she is afraid. When a dead cat makes her cross paths with Lawrence Weston, a talented but impoverished photographer, their connection is instant. Lawrence's keen eye looks past the glitter, and during their stolen hours, attraction grows into the kind of love you can never fully shake again. But while the position of the upper classes is crumbling in step with the walls of their damp mansions, the old etiquette persists, and eventually, Selina has to choose between her heart and her head.The Glittering Hour feels drenched in longing: for loved ones who are gone, for now fading pre-war glory, for permanency amid the fragility we must navigate every day. It forms the backdrop for one of my favorite conundrums: how to square a rare, raw passion with the ever-present desire for safety—including the safety of your heart. Iona Grey asks and answers with delicate and evocative lines sure to pull you in, too.Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/all-books/...
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Pass the tissues, please.......The Glittering Hour is immersed in the fraility and in the strength of human nature. Once you start turning pages here, you are going to be caught up in life plans that are dashed and life plans that follow their timeless fate.Iona Grey introduces us to Selina Lennox who is wrapped in the party life of the 1920's where silver trays of champagne and filmy female costumes float across the well-carpeted floors of upscale homes. Selina's life is taken over by one Pass the tissues, please.......The Glittering Hour is immersed in the fraility and in the strength of human nature. Once you start turning pages here, you are going to be caught up in life plans that are dashed and life plans that follow their timeless fate.Iona Grey introduces us to Selina Lennox who is wrapped in the party life of the 1920's where silver trays of champagne and filmy female costumes float across the well-carpeted floors of upscale homes. Selina's life is taken over by one social commitment to the next.In contrast, Lawrence Weston values his world of art as a lowly painter rather than following the lights of the ballroom. One would never put these two together, but fate always has a far different roadmap in mind. Selina's head is turned in Lawrence's direction and there's no turning back.The Glittering Hour is filled with the impact of British history during World War II and its heavy consequences on both the rich and the poor and everyone in between. Iona Grey has a special talent when it comes to her characters. They are complicated and deeply entrenched in the receiving end of life. They drive the storyline from the very beginning to the very end. If you spot this book cover staring at you from a bookstore or library shelf, better reach for it. It's that good.I received a copy of The Glittering Hour through Goodreads Giveaways. My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to Iona Grey for the opportunity.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    I was excited for The Glittering Hour because it was a historical fiction novel not set in the WWII era. As much as I love that time period (honestly, it's my favorite), it has become overdone in novels recently. We need variety as readers and this book seemed to give us that reprieve.The Glittering Hour is set in dual time periods, in 1925 with The Bright Young People, a frivolous set of British society's youth and 11 years later in 1936 with a young girl stuck in her grandparents' home while I was excited for The Glittering Hour because it was a historical fiction novel not set in the WWII era. As much as I love that time period (honestly, it's my favorite), it has become overdone in novels recently. We need variety as readers and this book seemed to give us that reprieve.The Glittering Hour is set in dual time periods, in 1925 with The Bright Young People, a frivolous set of British society's youth and 11 years later in 1936 with a young girl stuck in her grandparents' home while her mother and father are away on business. In between these chapters are often letters from mother to young daughter, as the mother describes the details of her trip and sets up a treasure hunt around the grounds of the girl's grandparents' gigantic estate. I loved the concept of the treasure hunt, as it revealed details about the mother's past to her young daughter. This plot point made me very interested in the story from the beginning. Unfortunately, the story never really piqued my interest from that point forward. I had to take a break around 30% because it was no longer holding my interest. The promise of the great reviews on Goodreads mentioning what was ahead kept me hanging on.My main issue with this book is the terribly slow writing. The bottom line is that it's infinitely too wordy for my taste. I would find my mind wandering in each paragraph and eventually had to begin skimming to get through the story. I wasn't interested in the adventures of The Bright Young People because their exploits were shallow and vain. The only people in the story who sparked feeling from me were Lawrence and Alice, and their parts in the story were far too short, and still somehow still drawn out and too descriptive.The plot of the story as a whole was incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking. It seemed like exactly the type of book I would love and honestly would have loved if not for the writing style used. I needed a quicker plot and fewer words to make this feel less like a tome I was slogging through for a grade in school. I desperately wish I could have connected to the story, the bones of an epic plot were there, but unfortunately, it wasn't for me. Please don't just take my word for it. This is likely to be a popular read, being a Book of the Month selection for December. It already has numerous five-star recommendations from excellent reviewers and will surely hit the right notes for many readers.
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 5 emotion-packed starsAs I first started reading this book, I was not sure that I would be that impressed or affected by it. As a historical fiction aficionado, I’ve read a fair share of books set between WWI and WWII. This one started out over some familiar territory, but its characters soon pulled me into their world. I quickly grew to love little Alice. It took me longer to warm up to her mother Selina, but by the end, I was putty in their hands. I rarely cry actual real tears while Rating: 5 emotion-packed starsAs I first started reading this book, I was not sure that I would be that impressed or affected by it. As a historical fiction aficionado, I’ve read a fair share of books set between WWI and WWII. This one started out over some familiar territory, but its characters soon pulled me into their world. I quickly grew to love little Alice. It took me longer to warm up to her mother Selina, but by the end, I was putty in their hands. I rarely cry actual real tears while reading a book. By the end of this book, I was full on blubbering. The author’s writing expertise shines in the skillful intersection of all the human relations.This is a dual-timeline story. It switches back and forth between 1936, viewed through nine-year-old Alice’s eyes after she has been exiled at her grandparents’ musty estate, and 1925, viewed through her mother Selina’s eyes as she struggles to make some meaning of her life in London society.In 1925, Selina is the younger daughter of the impoverished Lord and Lady Lennox. They are more concerned with keeping up appearances than showing warmth or caring to their offspring. The family lost their only son/brother in WWI. None of them has recovered from that loss. Selina is part of the “Bright Young Thing” crowd in London. It’s the crowd that does madcap stunts and parties most nights away in London. It’s a crowd that her parents and sister despises. On one of the nightly adventures, Selina meets a man who does not fit into that crowd. That meeting changes lives.This story is really about love, and all the forms it comes in. It’s about choices and the long-term effects of those choices. It’s about romance. It’s really just a lovely story about the enduring strength of love. This is for all of us that are secretly romantics at heart. It’s a solid work of historical fiction. It’s also a lovely love story that has a VERY touching ending. I’m adding this as a gift under the Christmas tree for at least three of my closest reading friends. ‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, St Martin’s Press, Thomas Dunne Books; and the author, Ione Gray; for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Milena
    January 1, 1970
    The Glittering Hour is a beautifully written, tragic love story set in England in 1920-30s. Selina Lennox comes from a privileged, noble family, she spends her days and nights partying with her wealthy friends. Lawrence Weston is a struggling photographer, who supplements his income by painting portraits. Their lives are vastly different, they move in different circles, but one night their paths unexpectedly collide and change both Selina and Lawrence forever. What follows is a story of a The Glittering Hour is a beautifully written, tragic love story set in England in 1920-30s. Selina Lennox comes from a privileged, noble family, she spends her days and nights partying with her wealthy friends. Lawrence Weston is a struggling photographer, who supplements his income by painting portraits. Their lives are vastly different, they move in different circles, but one night their paths unexpectedly collide and change both Selina and Lawrence forever. What follows is a story of a star-crossed and forbidden affair between Selina and Lawrence, that will reverberate through their existence for the next decade. The Glittering Hour is a tear-jerker, the book that will move you and stay with you long after you finish reading it. I recommend it to any reader with a romantic soul and a weakness for star-crossed love stories. *ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Mesmerizing, enthralling, and incredibly moving!The Glittering Houris set in London and the English countryside during 1925, as well as 1936, and is told from two different perspectives. Selina, a young woman in her prime who often finds herself and her friends gracing the pages of the gossip rags for their outrageous behaviour and antics, and Alice Carew, Selina's nine-year-old daughter who after being relegated to her grandparents country home while her parents are abroad embarks on a treasure Mesmerizing, enthralling, and incredibly moving!The Glittering Hour is set in London and the English countryside during 1925, as well as 1936, and is told from two different perspectives. Selina, a young woman in her prime who often finds herself and her friends gracing the pages of the gossip rags for their outrageous behaviour and antics, and Alice Carew, Selina's nine-year-old daughter who after being relegated to her grandparents country home while her parents are abroad embarks on a treasure hunt to discover all her mother's secrets.The prose is eloquent and vivid. The characters are creative, intelligent, and rebellious. And the plot, including all the subplots, unravel and intertwine into a sweeping saga of life, loss, family, expectations, sacrifice, self-discovery, friendship, heartbreak, romance, forbidden love, and the special bonds shared between a mother and daughter.Overall, The Glittering Hour is a bittersweet, beautifully expressive, exceptionally affecting story by Grey that illuminates the enduring passion and power of unconditional love and reminds us that life should always be lived to the fullest. It's immersive, vibrant, and utterly heartwrenching in spots, and is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of the year.Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Joan
    January 1, 1970
    I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this new novel for four years, after devouring Iona Grey’s brilliant, award winning debut novel ‘Letters to the Lost’. I was very excited at being chosen to review this novel which totally blew me away and exceeded all of my expectations.This new novel is set in the intervening years between the two world wars and mainly at the family country house Blackwood or in London. ‘It Girl’ Selina Lennox is living the high life of swigging champagne, dancing I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this new novel for four years, after devouring Iona Grey’s brilliant, award winning debut novel ‘Letters to the Lost’. I was very excited at being chosen to review this novel which totally blew me away and exceeded all of my expectations.This new novel is set in the intervening years between the two world wars and mainly at the family country house Blackwood or in London. ‘It Girl’ Selina Lennox is living the high life of swigging champagne, dancing the night away and of rebelling against and shocking her traditional parent’s generation. It is a time of outrageous costume parties, risk taking and gallivanting through the streets of London. She is one of ‘The Bright Young Things’ and lives life to the full, seeking adventure and game for anything. She marries only to follow the conventions of the day, for security and safety. Her daughter Alice is born and for Selina it is love at first sight. Selina and Alice have a strong bond, spend as much time together as they can and life is good.When Alice is nine years old Selina accompanies her husband on a mammoth business trip across the world to his business interests in the far east, leaving Alice with ‘The Grands’ in their country estate and communicating by letters when they docked at different ports. Poor Alice is so homesick so Selina set a series of ingenious treasure hunts for her to solve, to give her something to distract her and engage her imagination. Reading these inspiring letters and following the clues helps Alice to pass her spare time away, her stern Governess takes her on instructive walks and Alice is overseen by her mother’s kind and nurturing once -maid and confidante. It is here that Alice learns of her own and her mother’s life stories and is introduced to Selina’s very special friend Lawrence Weston, once a struggling artist who painted portraits of the rich and famous to fund his love of photography. I adored this captivating, tender and poignant story. I loved absolutely everything about it from the brilliant storytelling, engaging characters and timeline to the themes Iona Grey chose for her second novel. I loved the way the various threads of the stories were developed and richly brought to life. It is a heart-breaking novel, unique and imaginative with everyday life issues under a compassionate scrutiny only such a talented author could pull off. I loved the contrasts drawn between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, between the different generations and the attention to the conventions and rules verses the raging and misbehaving younger generation. I loved the language and descriptions and thought the title of the novel was inspired. It had everything I most enjoy within its 400 pages and I give this novel a resounding 5* award and the advice that it is totally unmissable and truly magical. I received this book through my membership of NetGalley and from publisher Simon & Schuster UK in return for an honest review. Thank you most sincerely for my copy. As you can see I absolutely drank in every word. Bravo!
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  • Kerry
    January 1, 1970
    I cannot even begin to tell you how achingly beautiful this book is.Iona Grey has broken my heart all over again.I know my words will never, in a million years, do this book the justice it deserves. You need to read it for yourself to understand. I cannot recommend it highly enough.I absolutely adored Iona Grey's previous novel, Letters To The Lost. I talk about it, a lot! I have been patiently waiting (for four years) for her next book and I can tell you that The Glittering Hour has most I cannot even begin to tell you how achingly beautiful this book is.Iona Grey has broken my heart all over again.I know my words will never, in a million years, do this book the justice it deserves. You need to read it for yourself to understand. I cannot recommend it highly enough.I absolutely adored Iona Grey's previous novel, Letters To The Lost. I talk about it, a lot! I have been patiently waiting (for four years) for her next book and I can tell you that The Glittering Hour has most certainly been worth the wait, although I truly hope I won't have to wait another four years for another book by this amazing author.I practically squealed with excitement when the publisher sent me an invite to view The Glittering Hour on Netgalley, but unfortunately due to previous commitments I was unable to dive in immediately, although resisting it was hard work I can tell you! Anyway, it didn't download to my Paperwhite, for some reason, and by the time I had realised it had already been archived, but never mind because I bought it anyway and I have the paperback on pre-order. I will be adding the audible narration also.In 1925 Selina Lennox is well known as one of the 'Bright Young Things'. Her life consists of enjoying parties with her friends, drinking and sometimes slightly risky activities which often result in their pictures appearing in the newspapers and fashionable magazines. She knows she will be expected to settle down one day and she is determined to enjoy her youth in the meantime. Then the untimely death of a cat brings her face to face with Lawrence Weston and her life changes forever.Lawrence is a struggling artist with a passion for photography and is the most endearing of characters. I pictured him as extremely good looking. Tall, dark and handsome, in a bit of a rough and ready kind of a way. I totally understood how Selina fell for him so easily, but I do believe, looks aside, that everyone has a soul mate and these two are most definitely each other's. They reminded me so much of my husband and I except I cannot begin to imagine how I would ever give that up, especially to satisfy the expectations of family and society as a whole. Having said that, I could, sort of, understand Selina's fears. Not so much her fear of what others might think, but her fear of loving so deeply and of being so emotionally overwhelmed. My heart broke for her, but especially for Lawrence. This story is just so full of raw emotion and I know it will be another one which will stay with me for a very long time to come.When we meet Alice, Selina's daughter, almost a decade later she is residing with her Grandparents as her parents are away on a business trip. Alice is 9 years old and the love between her and her mother is palpable. They keep in touch via letter, but obviously miss each other dearly and my heart went out to them both. Even more so as the story progresses and we learn that not all is as it seems. When I thought this story could not be any more heart-breaking it shattered my heart all over again as the chapters revealed the truth behind Selina's absence. I sobbed so much I could barely read the words. It's just so sad, but also hopeful in the end. I'd love to hear about how life pans out for these lovely characters after the closing chapter of this book. I have to hope that they find happiness and peace.https://chataboutbooks.wordpress.com/...
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  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! Nine year old Alice is staying with her grandparents at Blackwood, the old family estate, while her mother and father travel. To help pass the time, and to teach Alice about her mother's secrets, her mother Selina and her maid Polly devise a "treasure hunt" consisting of clues about Selina's past. Told in dual timelines, I was thoroughly engrossed with both the stories of Alice and Selina. Though this was a lengthy novel, I read it fairly quickly because I couldn't wait to I loved this book! Nine year old Alice is staying with her grandparents at Blackwood, the old family estate, while her mother and father travel. To help pass the time, and to teach Alice about her mother's secrets, her mother Selina and her maid Polly devise a "treasure hunt" consisting of clues about Selina's past. Told in dual timelines, I was thoroughly engrossed with both the stories of Alice and Selina. Though this was a lengthy novel, I read it fairly quickly because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. Iona Grey's descriptive writing painted a vivid picture and her well-developed characters drew me in, not letting go until I devoured each and every page and keeping me guessing the entire book. This book has it all; a mysterious old house, a love story, family secrets, an entertaining story line with an interesting historical backdrop, strong women characters, and the pain of loss. Five solid stars. This was my firsts book by Iona Grey, but it absolutely will not be my last. Many thanks to NetGalley, Iona Grey, and the publisher for the privilege of reading an advanced digital copy of this fabulous book.
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Visit the locations in the novelSometimes there comes a novel that moves you so much that you have to write your review just to get your emotions out. A book that moves you so much that you have to stop blubbering long enough so you can write your thoughts down. A love story so exquisitely drawn that you finish the book and start to feel like you’ve been in it with them and now feel bereft that they’ve gone.The Glittering Hour, as its name suggests, sparkles, and it’s not just the love story. Visit the locations in the novelSometimes there comes a novel that moves you so much that you have to write your review just to get your emotions out. A book that moves you so much that you have to stop blubbering long enough so you can write your thoughts down. A love story so exquisitely drawn that you finish the book and start to feel like you’ve been in it with them and now feel bereft that they’ve gone.The Glittering Hour, as its name suggests, sparkles, and it’s not just the love story. There’s drama, family secrets, letters, a young girl and her governess in a manor house,a treasure hunt, a group of artists…and secrets spilling out over time.What a stunning, magical, heartwarming, heartbreaking, utterly emotional read.I have loved Iona Grey’s writing for some time now but this takes it to another level. I am all out of tears, my heart hurts and I am surrounded by wet, shredded tissues.Iona has captured so much in this novel. A time and place (London 1920s, 1930s and Wiltshire) and a relationship between two people of very different class backgrounds and wrung so many conflicting emotions that I don’t know what to do with myself.Blackwood House in Wiltshire where much of this novel takes place might not be real, but it feels real as it’s so stunningly brought to life via the sounds of the garden, the aroma of the flowers, the sun flickering on its walls, and the friendly gardener. Then there’s the lovely maid, the young Alice and a secret which comes through time via letters sent to Alice from her mother.This is a novel to discover for yourself but I can only say it’s one of the most moving love stories I have read for some time. Please say this man is real Iona! Your characters breathed life and I got to know and love them so well that I am sad now that I’ve finished the novel! I felt every look, every flutter of a heartbeat and every delicious drip of anticipation with them.There’s so much I want to say about this novel but it’s the discovery of it that is your very own glittering hour. Utterly delightful and captivating in equal measure. Is there a Glittering Hour help group Iona? I need one.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Although the title of the book isThe Glittering Hour, it’s the glittering few hours I spent reading this book that is uppermost in my mind at the moment.Events unfold over the course of a decade with the story alternating between 1936, as nine year old Alice embarks on a treasure hunt of a kind to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past, and 1925 in which Selina recalls her heady days as one of the ‘Bright Young People’ and the chance meeting that changed everything for her. Interspersed are Although the title of the book is The Glittering Hour, it’s the glittering few hours I spent reading this book that is uppermost in my mind at the moment.Events unfold over the course of a decade with the story alternating between 1936, as nine year old Alice embarks on a treasure hunt of a kind to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past, and 1925 in which Selina recalls her heady days as one of the ‘Bright Young People’ and the chance meeting that changed everything for her.  Interspersed are insights from other characters, such as Selina’s faithful maid, Polly, and Alice’s governess, Miss Lovelock.The main characters are so sensitively and vividly drawn it feels as though they could step right off the page. However, I also fell in love with some of the minor characters, such as Patterson the gardener at Blackwood Hall. I admired the way the author conjured up with equal ease 1920s London and the excesses of the ‘Bright Young People – extravagant parties, a never-ending stream of cocktails and champagne, wild late night treasure hunts – and the faded grandeur of Blackwood Hall in the 1930s with its overgrown gardens, chilly rooms and echoing corridors.The legacy of war, in this case the First World War, is another theme explored in the book: the traumatic memories and survivors guilt of those who came back, and the ghostly presence of those who didn’t such as Selina’s brother Howard. The latter is cleverly connected with the art of photography through Lawrence Weston’s current occupation painting portraits of young men lost in the war based on photographs of them provided by their grieving families. Photographs – what they say and don’t say, the capturing of a likeness or of a moment in time – will play an important part in the book.There are many more things I could say in praise of this book but I’ll confine myself to merely recommending that you read it for yourself. Be prepared for The Glittering Hour to take you on an intense but spellbinding emotional journey, some elements of which you may find confound your expectations. And definitely have a box of tissues handy.
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  • Evie Dunmore
    January 1, 1970
    Book of the Month asked me to read & review The Glittering Hour, and I'm so glad they did - one of my 2019 favourites:"You're so scared of death that you're meeting it halfway.”How much I love a book is directly proportional to how hard it can wrench my heart. As such, The Glittering Hour dazzles on my 2019 favorites list—I solidly sobbed my way through the last third of it. I hadn’t seen it coming; the book builds gradually, and the quiet poignancies and understated elegance of the prose Book of the Month asked me to read & review The Glittering Hour, and I'm so glad they did - one of my 2019 favourites:"You're so scared of death that you're meeting it halfway.”How much I love a book is directly proportional to how hard it can wrench my heart. As such, The Glittering Hour dazzles on my 2019 favorites list—I solidly sobbed my way through the last third of it. I hadn’t seen it coming; the book builds gradually, and the quiet poignancies and understated elegance of the prose snuck up on me, then pounced at the twist.Selina Lennox is young, aristocratic, beautiful, and living it up in 1920s London. Most of all, she is afraid. When a dead cat makes her cross paths with Lawrence Weston, a talented but impoverished photographer, their connection is instant. Lawrence's keen eye looks past the glitter, and during their stolen hours, attraction grows into the kind of love you can never fully shake again. But while the position of the upper classes is crumbling in step with the walls of their damp mansions, the old etiquette persists, and eventually, Selina has to choose between her heart and her head.The Glittering Hour feels drenched in longing: for loved ones who are gone, for now fading pre-war glory, for permanency amid the fragility we must navigate every day. It forms the backdrop for one of my favorite conundrums: how to square a rare, raw passion with the ever-present desire for safety—including the safety of your heart. Iona Grey asks and answers with delicate and evocative lines sure to pull you in, too.
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  • Sonica
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, St. Martin's Press for my copy of The Glittering Hour, in exchange for my honest review. This title releases December 10, 2019.I'm participating in the Blog Tour for this title between December 1-14.This was such a moving and powerful story about hidden family secrets, and the pain of losing love. Written with a dual timeline, the story follows Selina and her daughter, Alice between 1925 and 1936 across two storylines that connect in a compelling way. A beautiful story that will break Thank you, St. Martin's Press for my copy of The Glittering Hour, in exchange for my honest review.  This title releases December 10, 2019.I'm participating in the Blog Tour for this title between December 1-14.This was such a moving and powerful story about hidden family secrets, and the pain of losing love.  Written with a dual timeline, the story follows Selina and her daughter, Alice between 1925 and 1936 across two storylines that connect in a compelling way.  A beautiful story that will break your heart and have you reaching for the tissue box throughout.This was my first book by Iona Grey and definitely won't be my last. I loved her writing and how easily I was transported into the story and the lives of each of the characters.  I love the time period it is written in - post WWI - and how the author explores the traumatic experiences that were survived.The letters that Selina writes Alice are magical and I love how they provide her with clues about her mother's past and the painful experiences that shaped her and the decisions she ultimately made when it came to life and love.This was a beautiful story that will definitely stick with you after you finish reading.
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying on just the right side of scandal.Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina's orbit one night and can never let her go even while knowing someone of her stature could never end up with someone of his.Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, I had never read anything by this author before and probably will not Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying on just the right side of scandal.Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina's orbit one night and can never let her go even while knowing someone of her stature could never end up with someone of his.Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, I had never read anything by this author before and probably will not again. What started as a poignant read progressed into a slow and drawn out one. I liked the beginning and the ending but the middle was much too slow for me.I'm sorry to say that it just wasn't my cup of tea.I gave this book 2.75 (rounded up to 3.0 stars) of 5.0 stars for plot, story line and characterization. If you're into slow historical reads you'll love this book but a more fast paced read is what I was looking for and the era is not one that I enjoy.I received a complimentary ARC of this book by invitation.This in no way affected my opinion of this book which I read and reviewed voluntarily.
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  • Janet (MommyTheReader)
    January 1, 1970
    If you enjoy books that make you cry big, ugly tears, The Glittering Hour is for you. I'm not an easy crier when it comes to books. Teary eyes here and there, yes, but this book messed me up with its bittersweet ending.The Glittering Hour is a multifacted gem of a romance. I'll never do it justice trying to describe it, and I'd hate to give away too much, but expect to be wowed with passion, deception, devotion, hope, and dazzling love. The writing is absolutely perfect! A satisfying balance If you enjoy books that make you cry big, ugly tears, The Glittering Hour is for you. I'm not an easy crier when it comes to books. Teary eyes here and there, yes, but this book messed me up with its bittersweet ending.The Glittering Hour is a multifacted gem of a romance. I'll never do it justice trying to describe it, and I'd hate to give away too much, but expect to be wowed with passion, deception, devotion, hope, and dazzling love. The writing is absolutely perfect! A satisfying balance between character and plot driven, and not a bit of the stuffy feel I sometimes get from historical fiction. One of my favorite books this year. (I'm excited to see Iona Grey has published a previous novel too!!!) 💜💜💜💜💜
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  • Stefanie
    January 1, 1970
    The Glittering Hour is a dual timeline story that I truly enjoyed. The present timeline is about a young girl who has had to stay behind with her grandmother while her parents go on a journey. The past timeline is her mother’s story.Alice, cooped up with her grandparents that she barely knows, misses her mother dearly. Polly, the woman who takes care of her, suggests she write a letter to her mom and so Alice does just that.Selina, her mother, eagerly writes back and decides to give her daughter The Glittering Hour is a dual timeline story that I truly enjoyed. The present timeline is about a young girl who has had to stay behind with her grandmother while her parents go on a journey. The past timeline is her mother’s story.Alice, cooped up with her grandparents that she barely knows, misses her mother dearly. Polly, the woman who takes care of her, suggests she write a letter to her mom and so Alice does just that.Selina, her mother, eagerly writes back and decides to give her daughter clues for a treasure hunt to tell her personal story to her daughter.Oh my, what can I say about this book. The past timeline (Selina’s story) is just so heart-achingly beautiful. A tale of true love that stands the test of time even when life doesn’t allow it to blossom as fully as it should. No matter what, love is what holds you together. It’s what allows you to breath, to live, to cheat death.One thing about this book that I need to express STRONGLY! It starts off slow, very slow, but PLEASE continue to read on because it gets so good and you’ll end up unraveling a beautifully worded masterpiece.This one comes highly recommended from me and I promise the slow start is worth it once you get to the heart of this book.TW: Drug and alcohol abuse, Death of a sibling, Death of a friend, Death of a parent, Battling incurable illness.
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  • Heidi Rice
    January 1, 1970
    Another masterpiece from Iona Grey which was thoroughly worth the wait. I completely fell in love with Selina Lennox, Lawrence Weston and little Alice – Selina's daughter – who as she waits for her mother's return from an overseas trip during the 1930s begins a treasure hunt which will change her life and reveal a deeply emotional story of love found, love lost and love reborn. As always with Grey's writing, the two time periods and places in which the book is set – London's high society in the Another masterpiece from Iona Grey which was thoroughly worth the wait. I completely fell in love with Selina Lennox, Lawrence Weston and little Alice – Selina's daughter – who as she waits for her mother's return from an overseas trip during the 1930s begins a treasure hunt which will change her life and reveal a deeply emotional story of love found, love lost and love reborn. As always with Grey's writing, the two time periods and places in which the book is set – London's high society in the desperate gaiety of the 1920s and Blackwood, a rundown country estate in the 1930s – are beautifully observed, but it's the people we meet that will make this story live long in the memory. Selina, the wild party girl so desperate to escape the sterile propriety of her aristocratic family and the devastating loss of her beloved brother Howard in the carnage of the First World War, that she lives life on the edge until she meets a man who can see the frightened girl inside her and love her still – thus beginning a passionate affair that burns bright, but maybe too bright. Lawrence, a working class artist struggling with his own demons, so sensitive, so passionate, so kind, so observant but also held back by the same social mores and class structure that have crippled Selina. And Alice, Selina's little girl, introverted, artistic, shy, and unobserved by all the adults in her life except her mother and kind maid Polly, cast adrift in a stately home which holds the secret that will eventually liberate her if only she can find the answers to the clues her mother has left her. As their stories intertwine, the end result is a beautiful, emotionally complex and deeply compelling tale that will break your heart, but also inspire your soul. I'm not kidding, it's that good!! Read it.
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  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    I am not one to do half stars when rating books but in this case I feel it’s absolutely necessary. When reflecting on what I’ve just read ( I literally just closed the book) 3 stars seems to low and 4 stars seems too generous. So 3 and a half it is lol. Overall I really enjoyed the book. I have to say the writing was great and the characters were well developed. I’m a character driven reader and I was invested in all the different viewpoints. There were a lot of POVs in this book but the author I am not one to do half stars when rating books but in this case I feel it’s absolutely necessary. When reflecting on what I’ve just read ( I literally just closed the book) 3 stars seems to low and 4 stars seems too generous. So 3 and a half it is lol. Overall I really enjoyed the book. I have to say the writing was great and the characters were well developed. I’m a character driven reader and I was invested in all the different viewpoints. There were a lot of POVs in this book but the author executed it in a way that the reader does not feel overwhelmed. I applaud her for that. My favorites if I had to choose were Selina(the main character) and her daughter Alice. There is just something about having a child’s perspective in a book that really draws me into a story. I adored the closeness that the author conveyed between this mother and daughter. It was told mostly through letters and correspondence while the two are separated. Their letters were a great touch and really added depth to the story.The Glittering Hour also features a dual timeline. The first one being 1925. I love the 1920s. It’s one of my favorite times in history. I am so used to reading about the time period In America and it was nice to get a perspective from England. The second timeline takes place a little over ten years later in 1936. I enjoyed both timelines of the book equally and sometimes when reading a book structured like this I prefer one timeline over the other.Now to the romance. There is a forbidden romance in this book. Selina comes from a wealthy family and is a socialite. She is described as a bright young thing of her time. A bit wild for her time, a party goer and surrounds herself with people that proper society would frown upon. ( side note- Selina has two best friends: Theo and Flick whom I didn’t feel like I knew well enough but really enjoyed) The love interest Lawrence is a poor artist and photographer. Their affair is short and although I enjoyed how the two meet and come together I was not invested. Something was lacking for me. If I properly explain I risk spoilers. If I had any further complaints it would probably be the length of the book. For as long as the book was not much happened. I kept waiting and wanting more from the story. I would recommend this book to others but not to everyone. I think this book does have a target audience. If you enjoy a longer drawn out historical drama pick this up. If you are someone that relies solely on a plot and expect a lot to happen to keep you engaged skip this. It is not for you. I owe a huge thank you to the publisher: St Martins Press. They are so generous in allowing me to read and review their books. It is such a privilege to be able to do so and it brings me joy. Special thanks to Iona Grey. She is a phenomenal writer. The writing in The Glittering Hour and the characters in the story are what kept me reading to the end of the book. I look forward to reading more from her. Iona also cares about her fans and readers. Her reaching out to me and thanking me for reading her novel really meant a lot.
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  • Beadyjan
    January 1, 1970
    As an impassioned devourer of historical fiction, I was intrigued and delighted to receive an invitation to read The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey and join in the blog tour.What I thought, was that it might be a sweet, glitzy romance, an enjoyable read. I wasn’t even that positive about the era it's set in – the roaring twenties is perhaps not my period of history, of choice (or maybe that should read wasn’t)What I didn’t realise is the HUGE impact this book would have on me. Probably the MOST As an impassioned devourer of historical fiction, I was intrigued and delighted to receive an invitation to read The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey and join in the blog tour.What I thought, was that it might be a sweet, glitzy romance, an enjoyable read. I wasn’t even that positive about the era it's set in – the roaring twenties is perhaps not my period of history, of choice (or maybe that should read wasn’t)What I didn’t realise is the HUGE impact this book would have on me. Probably the MOST romantic love story I’ve ever read and the most utterly heartbreaking too. The authors' wonderful skill is so great that I actually became the main character, Selina for the duration of the book. It begins with a lonely 9-year-old, Alice, missing her Mum who has gone away on a business trip with Papa. Left in the dauntingly huge stately home of her austere and remote grandparents, with a stern governess to care for her, her unaffectionate grandparents and the occasional tenderness of her mother’s loyal maid Polly.Miserable and lost, Alice seizes on the chance to occupy her time until her beloved mother Selina returns, by throwing herself wholeheartedly into a mysterious treasure hunt, left by her mother with clues provided by Polly which lead Alice to discover, in glimpses, the story of Selina’s earlier years. As she discovers hints and clues, we the reader, are treated to a little more depth of detail about this engaging young woman’s youth.In the 1920s Selina was one of the bright young things, whiling away her time in a flurry of parties, and high spirited japes, often fuelled by alcohol and occasional brushes with drugs, sex and drunken car chases. Always in the news and not always for the right reasons, she is a flibbertigibbet, shallow and spoilt.With her close friend Flick by her side the two young women dance, laugh and party like there’s no tomorrow, mixing with the well to do and wealthy in whose circle they move.Circumstances suddenly throw Selina in the path of a handsome and pretty darned gorgeous painter Lawrence. But being from a different class entirely, the two can never be friends or even seen speaking in public. It’s one thing for a young woman of class to be seen falling about drunk at a party (as long as the RIGHT kind of people are at the party) It would be quite another for 2 people of obviously different ends of the social scale to be at the same party and actually socialise – now that WOULD be frowned on!But as is the way of the world the 2 are drawn to each other like moths to a destructive flame.What follows is an utterly delightful love story, revealed in spoonfuls that I guzzled down. It honestly made my heart ache.The stories of then and now begin to intertwine, mysteries unfold and little pieces of my heart began to break off as it becomes apparent that a happy ending is unlikely and not quite everything is exactly as it seemed. There are some very poignant scenes in the latter portion of the book, which I defy even the most hard-hearted reader not to shed a tear at. But if you’re that unemotional, perhaps this isn’t the book for you, it is unashamedly romantic and a real tearjerker. This IS a book for anyone who has ever loved, lost or dreamt of something they can’t have. It’s a book to read at night, tucked under the duvet with a big box of tissues. (Oh yes I ugly-cried myself to sleep over this book - Waaahhh)It’s about enduring love, abiding friendship secrets and loss. With a nod to the changing roles of women and society and a reminder of how times have changed, a few lovely little twists along the journey, adorable Alice and Selina whom I wanted to despise for her apparent brittle shallowness and instead loved for her rich depth and tenacity.It is delightful, it is beautifully written, it is immaculately atmospheric and it is perfectly charming. Can you tell I loved it? Go ahead read it, if you’ve got this far I know you’ll love the Glittering hour too.
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  • Denise Reed
    January 1, 1970
    I feel almost shameful writing less than a 5-star review for this book. Everywhere I look are 4 and 5-star reviews, and while there are many great elements to The Glittering Hour, it just didn't come close to reaching that level for me. As there are many great reviews out there, I'm just going to hit the pros and cons, in which for me, the cons outweighed the pros.Pros: First, I liked the dual time periods - 1925 (the past) and 1936 (the present), as they helped to tell the story of Selina I feel almost shameful writing less than a 5-star review for this book. Everywhere I look are 4 and 5-star reviews, and while there are many great elements to The Glittering Hour, it just didn't come close to reaching that level for me. As there are many great reviews out there, I'm just going to hit the pros and cons, in which for me, the cons outweighed the pros.Pros: First, I liked the dual time periods - 1925 (the past) and 1936 (the present), as they helped to tell the story of Selina Lennox, and her daughter, Alice, who is a child staying in her rather cold, emotionless grandparents' home, while her mother and father are in Burma on business. The letters from Selina to Alice were a bonus, and the treasure hunt Selina sets up (with the help of her faithful servant friend, Polly) around the grounds of the grandparents' massive estate, was an interesting concept as it revealed details about the Selina's past. Secondly, I liked the references to the "Bright Young People," a frivolous set of British society's youth in the 1920's. Finally, I adored the characters of Lawrence and Alice. Unfortunately that is where it ended for me.Cons: My first issue was with the plot, which interested me in the beginning, but stalled out around the forty-percent mark. I kept putting the book down and finding excuses of other things to do rather than pick it back up - for me, that is not the sign of a great book. Secondly, and my biggest sticking point, was that the writing was terribly, terribly slow and infinitely wordy. I found myself skimming multiple pages just to make it through the book. Even though I liked the characters of both Lawrence and Alice, their parts in the story were far too short, but still somehow too overly descriptive and drawn out. Finally, one of the big "secrets" was disappointing - if you couldn't see it coming almost from chapter one in the descriptions of Alice, I don't know what to say. It was a tale as old as time, and quite frankly, as overused as that phrase has been. While the ending was a tearjerker and tied things up nicely, for me, it just didn't make up for the tedious writing style and beleaguered plot.That being said, I am definitely in the minority on this one, so please don't just take my word for it. Many of my Goodreads friends, who are spot-on reviewers, loved it, so it may just be cynical, grinchy, bah-humbug me. I wanted to love it, but in the end, in the year of some pretty great historical fiction, it was only a 3-star read for me.
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  • debbicat ☮~Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars! What a wonderful read! I loved the main character, Selina immediately. Her boldness, zest for life; also for what happens at the beginning when she saves a cat from the streets after a night of partying. She did the right thing, what I would have done...and I liked her so much for it. At this same time she meets someone she falls very hard for, but he is not part of her glittering world. A poor man, an artist...photographer. Her parents would not approve. They fall deeply in love but 5 stars! What a wonderful read! I loved the main character, Selina immediately. Her boldness, zest for life; also for what happens at the beginning when she saves a cat from the streets after a night of partying. She did the right thing, what I would have done...and I liked her so much for it. At this same time she meets someone she falls very hard for, but he is not part of her glittering world. A poor man, an artist...photographer. Her parents would not approve. They fall deeply in love but cannot really be together. A tragedy takes place and while Selina loves Laurence very deeply, she marries someone else; needing to feel safe and running from ever loving so deeply again. Someone who her parents approve of and who can give her the life they want her to have. Part of the story is told in her letters to her daughter, Alice, while she is traveling with her rich husband abroad on a business trip. Those were the sweetest parts. Selena has such a deep love for young Alice. Alice adores her mommy and is eager for her to come home. There is a dual timeline here. Going back and forth with the time when Salina is young and carefree; then to 10 years later when she is traveling with her husband and keeping in touch with her daughter via weekly letters.I will say here that the story was slow for me in the beginning. It seemed wordy and I wasn't sure I was all in until at least 50%. I read this along with some other friends in the Traveling Sister Group. Some loved it. Some not as much. By around 60% I had to know what was happening. There is a mystery and I needed to find out what was going on. I didn't want to put it down.I ended up loving this book and I highly recommend it. I knew it would be a 4 to 4.5 star read in the last 70%, but I moved it to a 5 with the ending. A very satisfying read for me. I look forward to more novels by Iona Grey.Many thanks to the publisher, NetGalley, and Ms. Grey for an outstanding read for me during December 2019. Beautiful!
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