Accept it, he is dead.
No, it’s not true.
It is. Everyone thinks so except you.
When the family home in London is bombed in the early 1940s, Maddie and her two young daughters take refuge in Norfolk, in the country house where Maddie’s husband Philip spent the summers of his childhood. But Philip is gone, believed to have been killed in action in northern France. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Maddie refuses to give up hope that she and Philip will some day be reunited.
Something happened at Knyghton one summer years before. Something unresolved, that involved Philip, his cousin Lyle and a mysterious young woman named Flora. Maddie’s curiosity, which turns to desperation to find out the truth, is shut down at every turn. No one will speak about it, and no one will reassure Maddie that Philip will ever return to Knyghton.
One Moonlit Night is an entertaining and enjoyable read set during WW2, following Maddie and her two young daughters. Forced away from their London home when it is bombed during the blitz, and with Maddie’s husband Philip MIA (presumed dead), Maddie moves with her daughters Sarah and Grace to the country estate Philip’s family owns in Norfolk. But getting used to such a different setting with a family she doesn’t know (and who seem to harbour various secrets), as well as trying to come to terms with the fact that her husband might never come back, means things aren’t smooth sailing…
If you enjoy books set in this time period that focus on how war affects those left behind, One Moonlit Night is a great read. We are mostly seeing things through Maddie’s eyes but we also have some chapters with her husband Philip. But we join him months ago – so is he still alive now? Rachel Hore keeps the tension as we uncover more of his attempts to return home to England to his family. These sections really highlight the bravery of the resistance in France, as they help British soldiers stuck there, and you’re really rooting for Philip to make it home!
There are plenty of important themes addressed in this novel but I don’t want to give too much away about the plot. Some parts I could guess were coming and others were a surprise. The characters are convincing and largely likeable – Maddie seems great and I really wanted things to work out for her.
It was lovely to read a novel set largely in Norfolk too, having spent many years in Norwich myself after attending UEA (where Rachel actually taught me in one of my English Literature modules!) before I moved to London.
An atmospheric, touching novel – recommended.
My rating: 4/5
Many thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review, and for inviting me onto the blog tour!
About the author:
Rachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving her family to Norwich, where she taught publishing and creative writing at the University of East Anglia before becoming a full time writer. She is married to the writer D.J. Taylor and they have three sons. Her last novel, A Beautiful Spy, was a Sunday Times bestseller.