Review published on April 20, 2017.
If you are looking for a wonderful time-slip story that is full of hope and set in the beautiful setting of Tenby, then look no further! I have thoroughly enjoyed escaping into the world of Nora and Chloe in both the present and the 1950s!
In the present, Nora seems to have the weight of the world on her shoulders – working in a job that isn’t making her happy, she’s just split up with her partner and she’s also in counselling to help deal with the anxiety she constantly feels. And then out of nowhere she gets an image of a seaside town stuck in her brain and the pull to Tenby is too much, so she finds herself packing up her London life and taking the brave step to reconnect with the world and to find her way again to making herself happy.
In the 1950s, Chloe goes to Tenby every summer to stay with her aunt and her family and it is the highlight of her year. Everything seems so much more glamourous to her by the seaside and she soon meets her best friend, Llew, there and can think of nothing better than the big dance of the summer.
As we follow both stories, they soon reveal that both Nora and Chloe fall quickly under Tenby’s spell and the people they meet have an immediate effect on their hopes and dreams for the future. With Nora, she begins to regain her confidence and it is so lovely to see how she finds her feet and settles in so well. It also gives her time to reconnect with her grandmother, who lives nearby, and, through her stories, she begins to learn more about her mother, who seems reluctant to ever revisit Wales and seems to have spent her whole life avoiding the area.
And with Chloe we see her transform from young teenage girl to a young woman during her yearly visits to the seaside – how her relationships change with members of her family and those she meets up with every summer, leading up to something that changes her outlook and attitude for her adult life.
I found this to be such an absorbing read as you really get a feel of each character with some wonderful writing, and beautifully described locations that just make you want to visit Tenby right away! As a young swimmer I remember one of our weekends away was spending time in Tenby for a gala meet, so it brought back some lovely memories for me and I could understand how Nora and Chloe fell for its’ charm so quickly!
It is a story full of how you can reinvent yourself after setbacks in your life, and how just a different setting or different people around you can inspire you to move on and reassess events that have happened in your past. This is the first book by Tracy Rees that I’ve read, but it definitely will not be the last!!
Karen Mace 5/4
The Hourglass by Tracy Rees
Quercus 9781784296261 pbk May 2017