The Songbird by Marcia Willett – 4*s



When Mattie invites her old friend Tim to stay in one of her family cottages on the edge of Dartmoor, she senses there is something he is not telling her, as if he is holding on to a painful secret.

But as he gets to know the rest of the warm jumble of family who live by the moor, Tim discovers that everyone there has their own secrets. There is Charlotte, a young navy wife struggling to bring up her son while her husband is at sea; William, who guards a dark past he cannot share with the others; and Mattie, who has loved Tim in silence for years.

As Tim begins to open up, Mattie falls deeper in love. And as summer warms the wild Dartmoor landscape, new beginnings take root . . . But can fresh hopes bloom where old secrets are buried?

My Review

I first came across Marcia Willett many years ago and recall that I did enjoy the book I read. I’m not sure whether the author took a hiatus or I moved in to other genres but for whatever reason it has taken until now for our paths to cross again and I’m so glad they did. I will admit I was drawn to the cover at first and then recognising the name was another bonus in deciding to read.

The Songbird centres around the Devon courtyard property of Brockscombe and it’s inhabitants, who are all connected in some way to the owner Francis who lives in the main house. Thrown into the mix is Tim, who worked with Mattie, whose sister Charlotte is one of his new neighbours. Tim has sold up, left work and is declaring to the world that he is taking a sabbatical to ponder his future, there is of course more to this and over the course of the story all is revealed.

His new found friends at Brockscombe are happy to accept him into the fold and his arrival coincides with them all finding themselves at somewhat of a crossroads and dealing with their own anxieties, issues and future plans. The characters are all easy to relate to and it’s easy to get drawn into their lives. Charlotte is a new mum, whose husband is away in the navy. William is Charlotte’s divorced father in law, Kat is William’s cousin and Francis is just Francis whose relationship with each is never really clear until the plot unfolds. Flitting in and out of the story are a host of other equally well drawn characters connected in various ways to the above.

I really enjoyed this book, I loved the characters with all their follies and foibles and I loved the way that secrets and truths are gradually revealed. The action is all broadly set across the Spring and Summer of one year against the backdrop of the Devon countryside which is also an added attraction. It also helps explain the title as the “Songbird” is an ever present thrush, evident all through the piece until the dénouement when the season comes to a close and both he and our inhabitants have fulfilled their aims.

If you enjoy character driven storylines that are in turns, humorous, sad, heart-warming and bittersweet then this is book you’ll love. The good news is there is also an extensive back list to discover.

I received a free ebook via NetGalley in return for an honest review.



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