The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls is a beautifully written book. It takes you back to a 1919 Christmas setting and leaves your heart warm, days after you’ve finished it. Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Tours and Andersen Press, for sending me a copy of this book, alongside all the amazing goodies as well.
Seventeen-year-old Margot Allan was a respectable vicar’s daughter and madly in love with her fiance Harry. But when Harry was reported Missing in Action from the Western Front, and Margot realised she was expecting his child, there was only one solution she and her family could think of in order to keep that respectability. She gave up James, her baby son, to be adopted by her parents and brought up as her younger brother.
Now two years later the whole family is gathering at the Vicarage for Christmas. It’s heartbreaking for Margot being so close to James but unable to tell him who he really is. But on top of that, Harry is also back in the village. Released from captivity in Germany and recuperated from illness, he’s come home and wants answers. Why has Margot seemingly broken off their engagement and not replied to his letters? Margot knows she owes him an explanation. But can she really tell him the truth about James?
I loved The Silent Stars Go By as a whole. Margot is an amazing character, and I felt for her many times throughout the book. The love story between her and Harry was so beautiful and pure. A love like that is so hard to find in today’s world, and this is perfect for those romantics out there, that strive for loves like their grandparents had. I loved the letters and the communication between them. It’s so refreshing, compared to today’s relationship drama. It reminded me of my late grandparents, who would always have something to talk about, and do little things about each other. Not for the public, or for their social media, but just for their significant other.
Considering the secret Margot and her family had, I was expecting more emotions, drama and pushbacks. But I am glad things happened the way they did. And even though the ending was emotional and painful, it’s also heartwarming and full of hope.
“Father once said,” she said thoughtfully, “that it never does to compare your troubles to other people’s. That grief is grief, and you can’t know how heavy someone else’s is unless you carry it.”
A certain topic floated to the surface in this book. And even though not a main plot discussion, it’s a very important one to mention. There were times, before 1926, when adoption was illegal in Britain. Even though orphanages excited, the mother always remained the legal guardian of her child. Sadly, many of the mothers weren’t told this information, and they believed they lost all rights to ever see their child again. The book briefly touched on this topic, and I really wish that it focused a bit more. Nevertheless, it was mentioned, and it is worthy of noting.
The Silent Stars Go By is a book that I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s so beautiful and real, with a Christmas to top it all up.