I am so delighted to be taking part in the tour for this stunning book, “Tall Chimneys” by Allies Cresswell. It is available to purchase in paperback and eBook, published via Createspace. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and Allie for my copy of this book.
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (5 Dec. 2017)
Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition. Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder. Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself. A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever. One woman, one house, one hundred years.
This is stunningly beautiful book. Tall Chimneys is a Jacobean house set in a dip alongside the Yorkshire Moors. The story that unfolds is one that shows the relationship the Talbot family have with the house over a hundred years. It is told from the perspective of Evelyn, the youngest family member at the time. As she tells her story she also includes things going on in the world, providing reference dates through history. The house has a hold over Evelyn, it has always been there for her, it has been her home as she has watched it pass through the family. It has been a place that at witnessed and seen many things along with Evelyn. It has hosted parties and soiree’s, held secret wartime meetings, met famous people and also American servicemen, seen births and deaths and has remained just a little out of time, not really modernised properly at any point. It holds a whisper of times gone past.
This is such a beautiful story to read. It dips into family dynamics and social class structure of the times, looking at the differences and expectations of those “above stairs” and also those “below stairs”. There is a wonderful array of characters, some you will love, other despise, odd one will probably infuriate and then there are the loathsome, they share different personalities, outlooks, opinions and expectations on life, love, death and loss.
As Evelyn led me through her story I could not help but feel for her, she has stayed true to Tall Chimneys, has been caught up in the time bubble that has surrounded it, in doing this she has used the house as a security blanket, it is her home, safe haven and refuge. The detailing that Allie has added to this book regarding the house, the interior, gardens and surrounding area built up a wonderful image for me. All this was given as Evelyn made her way through the story. Then at the end of the book we are brought up to present day as a distant relative shows an interest in discovering his roots, it is a very good way to bring an end to the story, this I found quite emotional as I knew I was also coming towards the end of this book.
For me the pacing is perfect for this book, from the first few lines of the prologue to the final line in the epilogue. As I read of the pull that the house had over Evelyn, I found a similar pull keeping me held with in the story, so much so that I stayed up to finish this book until 2:45am, that was how much of a hold it had on me.
I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book, stunning, beautiful, wonderfully written and totally captivating. Ideal for readers of Literary Historical Fiction, General Fiction and Women’s Fiction.
Thank you so much Allie and Rachel for a copy of this book. My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.
About the Author:
Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.
She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.
She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.
Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.
Many thanks for reading my post. If you liked it, please give it a share. Better still, go and buy the book xx