1980s Soho is electric. For Eliza, the heady pull of its nightclubs and free-spirited people leads her into the life she has craved – all glamour, late nights and excitement. But it comes at a heavy cost.
Cassie is fascinated by her family’s history and the abandoned Beaufont Hall. Why won’t her mother talk about it? Offered the chance to restore Beaufont to its former glory, Cassie jumps at the opportunity to learn more about her past.
Separated by a generation, but linked by a forgotten diary, these two women have more in common than they know…
I had no idea what The Glittering Art of Falling Apart was really about when I started reading it. The synopsis didn’t give a huge amount away, and I was glad about this, because it meant I could just immerse myself in the book without any real preconceptions about the storyline, which told two different but intertwined stories. One is set in the present day, and follows Cassie who is trying to sort through her late grandmother’s estate, Beaufont Hall, when she discovers some diaries written by a mysterious past resident of the hall. She is drawn into the author’s story and in turn learns more about her own family history. The other storyline is told through the aforementioned person’s diaries, so we learn about what happened from both perspectives, and see how learning about this affects Cassie and her family.
I generally really enjoy books that flick between different time periods, with (sometimes hidden) links between the narratives, and this one was no exception! I love reading books with historical angles to them but which also have elements of the present (or fairly modern) day too. I enjoy trying to figure out what the link is between them, if there is one at all.
The Glittering Art of Falling Apart manages to be both humorous and sad at times, with parts that were quite emotional. The characters were believable and their secrets and life choices are interesting to read about. Cassie was a likeable character, as was Eliza though she often frustrated me as I could see her downfall happening in front of my eyes. The novel really illustrated how quick and easy it can be to end up like Eliza – it just takes some had choices and being surrounded by the wrong type of people who are bad influences. Quite scary when you think about how easy your own children, if you have any, could be led into a very bad place.
The novel was sometimes a little predictable and I found myself guessing some aspects of the story, but it was really enjoyable. There’s an element of romance mixed in with some mystery, and I loved reading the scenes set in 1980’s London. I felt like I could be right there, enjoying the Soho music scene, with them all. A really enjoyable, and at times poignant, novel.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an ARC of this novel in return for an honest review