Secrets of the Chest

Secrets of the Chest

4.5
Average: 4.5 (2 votes)
Pages: 
225
£5.59
ISBN:
9781786121165
30% Off paperbacks and hardbacks!

Thornton, 1603. Mary de Courtsey, a four year old ‘little maid' is given a handmade oak chest in which to keep her secrets and treasures. Throughout her coming of age, marriage, separation and darkest hours she maintains its secrecy and vows it will be always passed on via the female line to future generations. Now in 2015, Suzanne has just turned 18 and inherits the chest from her grandmother. As Suzanne reads a final letter from her grandmother bequeathing the mysterious chest to her, an amazing family history is revealed. From the tempestuous and challenging tale of survival and murder in the 1600s, illicit children at the turn of the 19th century through to a more recent past via France and Istanbul, her female ancestors reveal themselves and their engaging stories to her through their diaries and their unbroken protection of the family chest.

Evelyne Morris

Evelyne
Morris

When Hitler's bombing raids returned to London in June 1944, Evelyne's mother was evacuated to Southport and it was there where she died that September whilst giving birth to Evelyne. Evelyne's father was born in Istanbul, Turkey of Mediterranean parentage. He started one of the first English language schools in Sussex and Evelyne's childhood life was influenced by being surrounded by people and languages from all around the world. The inspiration for this book came from a combination of her background and imagining the possible history of an antique oak chest owned by one of her friends. What tales might that be able to tell?

Reviews

by
Miriam Smith
4
"Secrets of the Chest" is one of those books that takes you on a journey through endless years and numerous countries. I absolutely loved reading this superb book and it's one that I will remember for a very long time. Suzanne has just turned 16 and inherited an oak chest from her grandmother. As she reads her final letter bequeathing the chest to her, an amazing family history is revealed. The chest has been handed down to the daughters and granddaughters in the family since 1603 and with it keepsakes, diaries and journals of the lives, loves, ordeals, and challenges of the female line in the family tree. Such a beautiful and emotional tale, I was immensely moved by Mary de Courtney's heartbreaking account of her life. Given the chest as a birthday gift at the age of four, Mary keeps her most treasured possessions in it and vows to maintain its secrecy throughout her troubled marriage and subsequent darkest hours. The majority of the book is written in a diary format, which really worked for me and really gave the first hand account in true clarity as you read it. The letter itself to Suzanne at the start of the story was very poignant and it was at this point that I knew I was going to enjoy this book and that it would also be very emotional. As I got to the end of the book it was good to look back at the family tree included in Suzanne's letter to see how all the characters were related to each other and it was all very interesting to see the differences in times and attitudes throughout the periods mentioned, in particular during the 17th century when women were treat so bad by their husbands and allowed to marry so young. A fantastic and powerful read - that is disturbing at times - but a huge must for historical family saga fans. The author Evelyne Morris has written a superbly crafted and engaging tale for which I highly recommend and would happily read again. 4.5 stars
by
S Cooper
5
A very thoughtful, well written book. The characters are so real, it's as if I've known some of them all my life. I would really recommend this to everyone; whether you like romance, fiction, intrigue, family tales, mystery, or just a good old read. The story twists and turns through time, taking you on a journey across the centuries to places as far flung as Turkey, Malta as well as Britain, through the 1600's, to modern times. The section on WWII is eyeopening too. Understanding the emotions and choices of those people in a time of war plays a juxtaposition against the harsh choices forced upon those same people; and both through no fault of their own. Do yourself a favour; buy this bool. Treasure it. Re-read it. And hopefully, the BBC will pick it up, if Spielberg doesn't, as this would make an amazing movie or major TV drama.

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