RELEASED: July 5, 2018
GENRE: YA Historical Fiction
GOODREADS RATING: 4.42
TRIGGERS: Lots of alcohol
Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.
But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?
A little while ago, I got a request to read and review A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood. Although historical fiction really isn’t a genre I usually lean towards, the blurb intrigued me. One particular review I read convinced me to give it a shot and I’m truly glad I did!
I can’t not say this. As soon as I hear historical fiction, I think “boring stuff from years and years ago with stuffy characters and.. too much historical facts mentioned”. I can’t help it! School gave me this aversion when it comes to history and it has obviously sneaked into my reading preferences as well.
In saying that, though, I have to admit all those things did not bother me one bit. I even dare say there isn’t even mention of one big historical event in A Sky Painted Gold. For some people this is probably a “well, doh, not all his fics are like that”-type of thing, but to me it was.. refreshing. And it makes me want to read more in the genre?!
One thing I expected, I also got and loved: beautifully descriptive writing. That is one thing I adore in books and I guess it’s one of those things a historical book needs in my opinion? This is so personal – and maybe even ignorant – but I just can’t help it?! But that’s enough for my stupid and weird expectations of historical fiction!
It burns me up that crotchety old ladies like my aunt think that just because young people like to dress up and go to parties that they’re somehow loose or morally questionable.
Let’s talk characters and content! Our main character, Louise, is a writer and a romantic at heart. Since the entire book is written from her POV, I was so happy to feel connected to her. I understood her passion, understood her curiosity and was all too eager to see where she would end up and how she’d experience the glamorous life of “the elite”.
As for Caitlin and Robert? Definitely was intrigued right from the bat. She obviously struggles with past events and he had this mysterious air throughout the entire book. Loved it!
Content-wise, I definitely had some The Great Gatsby-vibes at times. The three quotes from that book throughout A Sky Painted Gold probably helped that along as well, but still. The whole “huge house in the distance”-thing with a wealthy family, a lot of secrets.. It just gave me those vibes, you know? Also the parties! The drinks! The descriptions!
Oh, and there’s also mention of how people looked at colored skin back then – which I thought was a lovely addition, to be honest. Could’ve been a bit more pronounced, but still. I’m glad it was there and acknowledged.
For all their talk of being modern, they’re still ruled by their conventions and their prejudices.
There’s only one tiny issue I had – and once more, it’s related to that specific topic I’m known to mention. Alcohol. One of the character is dealing with a lot, is obviously drinking way too much and way too often. Yet, again, it isn’t really.. taken care off by the end of the book? I wish it was addressed at some point. That would’ve made this book perfect.
Overall I definitely enjoyed my dip-of-the-toes into historical fiction! I loved the descriptive writing, the slow-burn romance, the intrigue. Everything! Well, except for that one thing.
For the munches, there was mention about some almond and honey pastries. I seriously do not have the time to bake lately – with the house hunt and all – so indulge me and drool over this beautiful picture. Maybe send some my way if you decide to make them yourself? I’d be eternally grateful!
[I even added the link so just click the image to go to the original site – the recipe’s there!]
What’s the last book our of your comfort zone you read? How did you end up feeling about it? Did you regret it? Did you love it?