The Stargazers

The Stargazers


It's the 1970s, and Sarah has spent a lifetime trying to bury memories of her childhood: the constant fear, the horror of her school days, and Fane, the vast, crumbling house that was the sole obsession of her mother, Iris, a woman as beautiful as she was cruel. Sarah's solace has been her cello and the music that allowed her to dream, transporting her from the bleakness of those early years to her new life with her husband Daniel in their safe, if slightly chaotic, Hampstead home and with a concert career that has brought her fame and restored a sense of self.

The past, though, has a habit of creeping into the present, and as long as Sarah tries to escape, it seems the pull of her mother, Fane Hall and the secrets hidden there cannot be suppressed, threatening to unravel the fragile happiness she enjoys now. Sarah will need to travel back to Fane to confront her childhood, and search for the true meaning of home.

Our Review

"I said to you once that I think of the past now, that is to say our childhood, as rather like living with wolves. Everything was chaotic, so terryfying, so confusing. The wolves were at the door and we ended up eating ourselves instead of making them disappear."

The Stargazers is an excellent piece of historical fiction, filled with tension and family drama. Sarah lives in a crumbling house in Hamstead with her loving husband and her two young girls. Life should be perfect, but Sarah can't help being haunted by her traumatic childhood. 

Sarah's mother Iris lived in Fane hall as a young child, until her Uncle Clive kicked her and her mother out and took the stately home as her own. Over the years Iris' obsession with Fane Hall grew until she talked of nothing but regaining her former home. Sarah and her sister Vic were close as young children and looked out for each other but as they grew they each began to look after their own survival and their relationship fractured. 

This book covers a myriad of topics ranging from childhood neglect to the fall of the british aristocracy. Harriet Evans writes in a beautifully, lyrical fashion and her characters are incredibly vivid. This book slowly ambles to 'the point' so if you want fast-paced this isn't the book for you. 

One aspect of the book which I felt was covered particularly well was the way Sarah's upbringing had an effect on her own experiences of motherhood and caused her to doubt herself at every turn. 

"Sometimes Sarah found there were lost moments, long seconds when she couldn't remember who she was. 

She wasn't a musician, wasn't the girl who married Daniel in New York in a yellow jumpsuit. She wasn't the one who saved Stella, who helped her fly, who gazed at the stars with Bird Boy on summer nights. She was Friday's mother. That was all she remembered." 

The Stargazers was a haunting book and I would recommend it. 

"There are many things now that I don't understand, and I suppose that is why childhood is so fascinating to us all. We will never fully grasp the circumstances into which we were born and grown up." 

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4/5

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