Review | Song of the Skylark

Title | Song of the Skylark 

Author | Erica James 

Publisher | Orion Publishing 

Publication Date | 10th March 2016 

Purchase | Amazon 

Source | Review Copy (Netgalley) 

Rating | 5/5 

Lizzie has always had an unfortunate knack of attracting bad luck, but this time she's hit the jackpot. Losing her heart to her boss leads to her losing her job, and with no money in the bank, Lizzie finds herself forced to move back home with her parents. When she reluctantly takes another job, she meets Mrs Dallimore, a seemingly ordinary elderly woman with an astonishing past . . .
Now in her nineties, Mrs Dallimore is also coming to terms with her situation. Old age is finally catching up with her. As she and Lizzie form the bond of unexpected friendship, Mrs Dallimore tells the story of a young girl who left America before the outbreak of World War Two and, in crossing an ocean, found herself embarking on a new life she couldn't have imagined.
As Lizzie listens to Mrs Dallimore, she begins to realise that she's not the only person to attract bad luck, and that sometimes life has a way of surprising you . . .

I have never read a book by Erica James before, and from what I've encountered through the reading of Song of the Skylark, I can only attest that it has been my loss. Erica is an extraordinary writer who has this ability to wrap you up not only in the storyline but into the characters themselves, place you in a time capsule and transport you there - right into the story.

Upon finishing this book, I found myself sat there with no words, only tears. The emotions brought to the forefront when reading this book is those of heartfelt understanding, compassion and a sadness that is respectfully joined with joy.

The characters Erica has created in this story are charming, and you can't help but find yourself rooting for the leading character, Lizzie even though her actions are far from what you would support. Having cheated on her long-term partner simply for a quick fumble with what I can only describe as a feckless cheating scoundrel with no remorse for what he's done to his wife and child, Lizzie finds herself amidst her world that has blown apart.

With no job, no home and no friends, she does what any girl with a broken heart would do - she goes home to her parents and finds herself volunteering in a retirement home where she meets the absolutely charming Mrs Clarissa Dallimore. I love Mrs Dallimore (Clarissa), I could easily see myself enjoying her company just as much as Lizzie did, and in fact I was so transfixed by her story that I found myself a tad disappointed when the story returned to Lizzie's point of view. Clarissa's life story is one that I can understand from knowing a little about my own grandmother's life at the time of the Second World War.

My heart broke for Clarissa, who is one of the most resilient, warming, honest and lovable characters I have ever met. Her struggles in life are ones that I know many people faced, and her strength was nothing but admirable.

Thank you Erica for writing such a beautiful, honest and memorable book. Mrs Clarissa Dallimore would be proud, and her story and those of families like hers will be back in the forefront of people's minds, ensuring that we surely do not forget the price and sacrifices so many people paid during the Second World War. 

I give with huge recommendation, Song of the Skylark by Erica James 5 out of 5 stars! Well deserved for a thoroughly enjoyable book. 

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