The Snow Globe by Judith Kinghorn **Blog Tour Extract & Book Spotlight**


In the book world, thoughts seem to be looking forward to Christmas and here is the second of quite a few seasonal reads that will be coming up on Books, Life and Everything. I'm lucky enough to be able to share The Snow Globe with you today and even have an extract from the book for you to read. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres and in The Snow Globe, Judith Kinghorn takes us back to 1926.


A beautiful story of enduring love and heartbreaking choices.


As Christmas 1926 approaches, the Forbes family are preparing to host a celebration at Eden Hall. Eighteen-year-old Daisy is preoccupied by a sense of change in the air. Overnight, her relationship with Stephen Jessop, the housekeeper’s son, has shifted and every encounter seems fraught with tension. Before the festivities are over, Daisy has received a declaration of love, a proposal and a kiss – from three different men. Unable to bear the confusion she flees to London and stays with her elder sister.

By the following summer, Daisy has bowed to the persistence of the man who proposed to her the previous year. When the family reunite for a party at Eden Hall and Stephen is once more in her life, it is clear to Daisy she is committing to the wrong person. Yet she also believes that family secrets mean she has no choice but to follow her head instead of her heart. Will love conquer all, or is Daisy’s fate already written?

Intrigued? Here's an extract from Chapter Two.
 
Situated in a quiet enclave of the Surrey Hills known as Little Switzerland, Eden Hall was one of a number of newer mansions hidden from sight. Tall hedges, trees and banks of rhododendrons screened it from traffic passing along the road to its south, but its gated entrance and long curving driveway hinted at what lay beyond.


In autumn and winter, the house and its gardens were often lost, engulfed by the swirling mists and low cloud. But in early spring, when the mists cleared and before the trees were covered with leaves, a few of the upper rooms at Eden Hall commanded spectacular views across three counties: Surrey, to the north and east; Sussex, to the south; and Hampshire, to the west.


Howard Forbes claimed that, on a clear day, beyond the distant northerly ridge known as the Hog’s Back, one could even make out the dome of St. Paul’s—though more often than not, the only visible sign of the capital was the dense smog belched up from the city’s multitudinous chimneys and factories. But somewhere on that murky horizon stood a street named Clanricarde Gardens and the Forbes family’s London home: a stucco-fronted town house Howard had inherited at twenty-two years of age.


Eden Hall was different. For Howard, it represented his own achievements, the culmination of and testament to his hard work: his dream, his vision, built with the proceeds from his thriving business, Forbes and Sons. The company, passed down through three generations, manufactured white lead, oil paint and varnish at its large factory at Forbes’s Wharf in Ratcliff, Middlesex. Its products included special anticorrosive paints and antioxidation compositions for ships, as well as their famous patented white zinc paint, which was claimed not to stain or discolor.


At the dawn of the new century, shortly before his marriage and as a thirtieth birthday present to himself, Howard had purchased his acreage in Surrey, which included an old farm. Later, standing on the lofty site clutching the hand of his eighteen-year-old bride, Mabel, and with an emerging local architect named Edwin Lutyens, Howard Forbes had looked out over the far-reaching views and explained his vision to Mr. Lutyens: a substantial country house with impressive lines, tall chimneys and immense gabled rooftops. He had stipulated windows, lots of them—round ones, square ones, large and small—and doors a giant could walk through. He wanted something future generations could be proud of.


Howard got what he wanted: a grand country house in the medieval vernacular style, and with its double-height entrance hall, sweeping staircase and oak paneling, double-height drawing room and oriel windows, the place was every bit as impressive as Howard Forbes’s vision. And yet there was some humbleness about the place, too, Howard thought, for Mr. Lutyens had used only locally sourced timber, stone and bricks and had retained a few of the old barns and cottages from the original farm.


Despite its appearance, inside, Eden Hall was modern—twentieth-century modern: It had electricity, central heating and two bathrooms, with running hot water, flushing lavatories and William De Morgan ceramic tiles. But it had been Mabel who’d been responsible for the interior decor, for the Morris & Co, bedroom wallpapers and curtains and for the velvets and silks and hand-printed linens. She had chosen every paint color and textile, each item of furniture. And having put her own stamp on the place, and with a natural preference for country living anyhow, Mabel decided early on to make Eden Hall the family’s primary residence. Mabel had grown up in the country; it was what she knew, where she felt happiest and most comfortable. Howard, she said—and thought—would be able to divide his time between London and Eden Hall, and while he was working, she would throw herself into creating that home, a country idyll: a place her husband could escape to from the stresses and strains of the city, a place where their children could grow up with space and fresh air in abundance. She would, she’d conceded, visit London—particularly during the season, and particularly if they had daughters. They had both laughed at this.

Howard and Mabel had been fully committed to having a large family, and Howard—like any normal man, he’d said—wanted sons and needed them to carry on the business he had taken over from his father. But of the eight babies Mabel had conceived and the four she had carried to full term, only the three girls survived. Howard’s longed-for son and heir, born prematurely during the war and named Theo, after Howard’s father, had clung to life for only seven weeks.


But Howard and Mabel’s plans had been fulfilled, in part. For while Howard spent his weekdays in the city, Mabel had remained with her daughters at Eden Hall, establishing a home—that country idyll they had both longed for—managing the house and gardens and staff and attending to her charity work. And when Iris, their eldest daughter, moved out, Mabel’s mother moved in. Now newly married Lily also lived in London and only Daisy remained at home.

My Thoughts

The Snow Globe is set in the mid 1920's in that period of history between the two World Wars. It reminds me of Downton Abbey with its Upstairs Downstairs feel and I particularly like how you are given different viewpoints throughout the book. The snow globe of the title is a wonderful symbol for life at Eden Hall. Daisy's sheltered life is tipped upside down after she overhears gossip about her father and it takes the whole of the book for the metaphorical snowflakes to settle again. 

    The writing evokes the period well, showing us the changes which women's lives have undergone. With fast cars and cocktails, the future seems harshly lit, a contrast to the tweedy country life in the country. The effects on the generation of men and women who survived the Great War and the optimism felt by the young in the 1920's are poignantly juxtaposed. 

      We are given a family saga of love and secrets, with all of the family dealing with the effects of past indiscretions. They are well rounded characters, particularly Daisy and her mother, Mabel and the lives of these two mirror each other as they both have to make life-changing decisions. Love is seen in many different forms and always at the centre is a sense of loss and loneliness which has to be acknowledged and worked through. Judith Kinghorn's words carry you through and by the end of the book, I was thoroughly engaged.

In short: a family saga which takes you back to the 1920's with panache.

About the Author



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Judith Kinghorn is the author of four novels: The Echo of Twilight, The Snow Globe, The Memory of Lost Senses and The Last Summer. She was born in Northumberland, educated in the Lake District, and is a graduate in English and History of Art. She lives in Hampshire, England, with her husband and two children.



You can follow Judith here:  Website   |  Twitter   |  Facebook

Book Links:   Amazon UK  |  Google Books (UK)   |  Kobo 
   |   Apple Books (UK)

 The Snow Globe was published on September 25th 2017.



 Thanks to Ellie Pilcher of Canelo and Judith Kinghorn for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 



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