When an early copy of Laura Wood’s, ‘A Snowfall of Silver,’ arrived on my doorstep I was absolutely thrilled. Despite wanting to devour this immediately I restrained myself because Laura’s stunning writing deserves to be savoured and not devoured in greedy gulps. So I waited patiently for a day when I would have uninterrupted time so I could completely lose myself in the pages and not be distracted by day to day demands. Laura takes us back to the characters we first met in the glorious, ‘A Sky Painted Gold,’ but this time it’s Lou’s younger sister Freya, who takes centre stage in the story. I knew from the opening scene that Freya would completely steal my heart when she plans a daring escape to London in the middle of the night to pursue her dreams. Freya longs to be an actress and is convinced that leaving the confines of Cornwall and running away to the hustle and bustle of London is the only answer. But London is far more complicated than Freya expects and it looks like her dreams are over before they’ve even begun until a chance encounter with Kit gives her what seems like the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to join a theatrical company on a tour. Freya is determined to fully embrace every moment of this adventure but life and love doesn’t always turn out in the way we expect.
Without wishing to sound too much like Freya, nothing I write in this blog will every truly capture how beautiful and dreamy this story is and how much I adore it. Laura has this enviable talent of effortlessly transporting the reader to this different time and place, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in this wonderful experience. I loved the internal struggles Freya feels as she tries to understand what love is and how her life should be. All she knows of love has been found in books and as we watch her coming of age quite beautifully we feel her confusion and pain most viscerally. Her innocence and naivety is charming and enchanting, it’s intriguing to see the world through the eyes of this girl who has lived such a sheltered existence. She can’t comprehend why the exceptionally talented Viola is restricted to regional theatre until she realises that the comments about her exotic looks are not meant in a kind way. Seeing it through her eyes makes it feel more shocking especially when almost ninety years later it feels in some ways like very little has changed. Her initial shock at seeing Nora’s relationship with other women, is tempered by her absolute acceptance of something that wasn’t even considered as actually existing at this time. I love how Laura weaves these reflections on society in what is ultimately a wonderfully romantic story.
Intricate and richly detailed, I loved the shabbiness of behind the scenes life compared to the apparent glitz and glamour of the stage. You could visualise the stunning costumes but then see the hours of painstaking work that goes into them, the tiny invisible stitches that no one could possibly see in the audience. The grubby and rundown boarding houses versus the opulence of the hotels that the leading cast member and producer stay in. Despite this you can’t help but be drawn into their world and envy their freedom and experiences as they explore the country. I particularly loved the scenes where they became stranded and transformed something disappointing and mundane into the most spectacular and divine time. But I’ve said more than enough and now I must invite you the reader to step inside and be swept away in the most sublime and stunning story.
Thanks to Harriet and Scholastic for sending me a gifted copy. ‘A Snowfall of Silver,’ is released on the 1st October and is available to pre-order now online or from any good bookshop. If you can support your local independent bookshop please do, you can find your nearest one here.