Originally published: 9 July 2020
Author: V B Grey
Published by: Quercus
Length: 368 pages
Reading dates: 26-30 June 2020
Delia Maxwell is an international singing sensation. Discovered in the 1950s, she is still a popular and glamourous star as the 1960s begins. Lily Brooks has watched Delia all her life, studying her music and mannerisms. After meeting outside the BBC one evening and rescuing her from autograph hunters, Lily gets her dream job as Delia’s assistant. But after Delia disappears and private investigator Frank is hired by Delia’s record company to discover her whereabouts, he starts to wonder if there is something suspicious about Lily.
As Lily steps into Delia’s spotlight, proving herself a gifted singer and actress, Frank becomes even more suspicious of Lily’s motives. But he is starting to fall for Delia so can’t help wondering if his feelings for her are clouding his judgement.
The truth is something far darker: the shocking result of years of pain and rage, rooted in Europe’s darkest hour. If Delia thought she had put her past behind her, she had better start watching her back.
I loved reading about this period of British history – a period that is often overlooked. I really enjoyed the old-fashioned glamour of London in the early 1960s. I love that Delia has real star quality, while still being a nice person. She has a whole host of people looking out for her and helping her career including her record company boss Peter and her best friend Celeste who is also her costume designer – I loved the descriptions of the clothes.
All the characters in the book have been affected by the events of World War 2. Investigator Frank and record company boss Peter served together as pilots and Frank spent some time in a German prisoner of war camp after getting shot down. At 14, Delia was sent to Hungary to Switzerland by her father to escape the concentration camps and she later found out her family all perished in the Holocaust. Even Lily who was born after the war ended saw the suffering of her mother. The shocking back drop of World War 2 and what people had to do to survive, against the glamour of the early 1960s, where memories were still fresh was a startling contrast.
There are secrets aplenty in this book – almost everyone is hiding something, and the story is perfectly plotted, drip feeding discoveries throughout. Told from the point of view of Delia, Peter and Lily, I could well imagine this as a beautifully shot film. I truly felt transported to 1960s London – a enthralling and dazzling read.
Thank you to Quercus for my gifted copy for review as part of the blog blast. Don’t forget to check out these other awesome bloggers!
About the author:
V B Grey is a television screenwriter whose credits include Jimmy McGovern’s BAFTA award-winning Accused: Tina’s Story as well as over thirty-five episodes of Midsomer Murders, Casualty, Rosemary and Thyme, The Bill and Wycliffe. She has also written non-fiction and been a magazine editor and freelance journalist. Her previous novels, written under the name Isabelle Grey, include two psychological thrillers, The Bad Mother and Out Of Sight as well as four books in the DI Grace Fisher series, Good Girls Don’t Die, Shot Through the Heart, The Special Girls and Wrong Way Home. She grew up in Manchester and now lives in north London.