I got, The Skylark’s Secret by, Fiona Valpy, From NetGalley for a fir and honest review

book cover The Skylark's Secret
The Skylark’s Secret


Loch Ewe, 1940. 

Gamekeeper’s daughter Flora has her life altered by World War II as her remote highland village finds itself turned into a base for the Royal Navy’s Arctic convoys. With  life in her close-knit community changed forever. 

In defiance of his disapproving father, the laird’s son falls in love with Flora, and as tensions build in their disrupted home, any chance of their happiness seems doomed.


Flora’s daughter, singer Lexie Gordon, is forced to return to the village and to the tiny cottage where she grew up. Having long ago escaped to the bright lights of the West End, London still never truly felt like home. 

Now back, with a daughter of her own, Lexie learns that her mother—and the hostile-seeming village itself—have long been hiding secrets that make her question everything she thought she knew.

As Lexie pieces together the fragments of her parents’ story, she finds the  courageous, devastating sacrifices made in her name. It’s too late to rekindle her relationship with her mother, but can Lexie find it in her heart to forgive the past, to grieve for all that’s lost, and finally find her place in the world?


I read this book in a day which is something I do not normally do, but this is one of those stories that draws you in from the start, not only with the style of writing,  but the way that the author draws you into the story.

The story is told over two timelines, one set, during World War II, when Loch Ewe, was used as a naval base for the arctic convoys, where Flora’s relationship with Lexie’s dad and the problems which caused.

In addition to this it examined how the small village coped with the change from being a quiet village out of the way, from the world to being a naval base and its young men away fighting in the conflict, and the losses that happened.  

The Second timeline was all about Lexie coming back to the village after being a rising star in the West End, with not only having her career ended, a lone parent and her mother just having passed away.

I loved the way that the book knitted the two parts of the book together, with little puzzles laid in the 1970’s only to be resolved fully in the part which went back to the 1940’s. What also made the two timeline work was that as a reader I was never confused about which timeline I was in, while reading  a chapter.

The only weak point in the story for me was the way that the people were written in that they were almost two dimensional stereotypes, with the Laird being a bully and his wife being timed, while the old people interfered  with the life of the young. Having said that, the descriptions and personalities that the writer gave them was enough for the book.

What i must praise though is the writing about the place that the story is set in, was what made this book above average, the way that the land, sea and atmosphere was described really added to the atmosphere of the story.

This story is aimed at people who love stories about how the human spirit deals with the problems in life and how people are not just about what they do individually or how they respond to events at the time but also how it affects future generations. So if your into stories that have these elements then you should read Fiona Valpy’s latest book The Skylark’s Secret.

About the Author

Fiona Valpy, lived in France, after moving there in 2007 for seven years. During that time with, her family renovated an old farmhouse in the Bordeaux winelands, developing new-found skills such as  cement-mixing, interior decorating and wine-tasting.

This gave her the inspiration, along with a love for the place, the people and their history, have found their way into the books she’s written, which have been translated into German, Norwegian, Czech, Slovenian and Turkish.

Fiona now lives in Scotland, but enjoys regular visits to France in search of the sun. 

Books by Fiona Vaply

Click books to buy from amazon

Comment below, if you have read any of Fiona’s books or are interested in novels that have a good sense of place about them.

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