Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Songs of Blue and Gold' by Deborah Lawrenson

Publisher: Arrow Books

ISBN: 978-0-099-50519-8

Length: 432 pages

What the 'blurb' says:

'In the horseshoe bay of Kalami in Corfu, a tumultuos love affair begins between a renowned novelist and a woman escaping scandal. Years later, her daughter Melissa, running from her own past, returns to the island...

Melissa's life in England is in disarray. There are cracks in her perfect marriage, and her elderly mother, Elizabeth, is losing her memory and slowly drifting away. In the last glimmers of lucidity, Elizabeth presents her daughter with a gift that suggests a very secret history- one that leads Melissa to Kalami, where Julian Adie, poet, traveller and novelist, once lived.

But what is the connection between Adie- an alluring hedonist who discarded four wives- and Meliss'a mother Elizabeth? As Melissa chases Adie's shadow across the golden places he loved, she finds her mother may not have been the person she thought. Forced to question morality, loyality and her own unwillingness to let love in, Melissa is gradually led to a dramatic re-evaluation of her own life.....'

Opening Line: 'By the time I reached Corfu, the season was in its last gasp.'

What's good about this novel?

This novel is well written and keeps the reader in suspense as to the answer to the mystery.

Something that I find particularly effective in this novel, is the contrast in atmosphere that Deborah Lawrenson creates throughout. The calm, tranquil backdrop created around Melissa in present day Corfu, emphasizes the intense and dramatic storyline of her mother's past. This is a sign that Deborah is a great story teller.

The characters in this story were well structured, however I did find Elizabeth the more interesting of the two main characters.

The pace of the story was evenly balanced and I was kept interested throughout.

What's wrong with this novel?

Having read Deborah's latest novel 'The Lantern', I didn't feel that the writing and descriptions in 'Songs of Blue and Gold' were as complex and magical. I also found that the two main characters, even though they were well formed, were not quite as strong as the characters in 'The Lantern'.

In 'The Lantern' I was not only able enjoy the story, but the descriptions and the social comment Deborah Lawrenson was making about how the past influences the present day. I didn't feel that 'Songs of Blue and Gold' had these elements. The story on it's own however, was entertaining.

Is this worth a read?

Personally I prefer 'The Lantern', however I do think that 'Songs of Blue and Gold' is well worth a read. It would be perfect in the summer or if you want to be transported to warmer climes, on a very cold winter's evening.


  1. Oh, I really like her writing style and I like how you well you described it. You have a good understanding of what makes a book good.

  2. I've heard all about The Lantern, but I wasn't aware of this book by Lawrenson. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I have this on my shelf and hoping to get to it this in the New Year.