Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Book Review - Searching for a Silver Lining by Miranda Dickinson

Amazon UK
Title: Searching for a Silver Lining
Author: Miranda Dickinson
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Publisher supplied review copy
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Publication Date: 20th October 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

It began with a promise . . .

Matilda Bell is left heartbroken when she falls out with her beloved grandfather just before he dies. Haunted by regret, she makes a promise that will soon change everything . . .

When spirited former singing star Reenie Silver enters her life, Mattie seizes the opportunity to make amends. Together, Mattie and Reenie embark on an incredible journey that will find lost friends, uncover secrets from the glamorous 1950s and put right a sixty-year wrong.

Searching for a Silver Lining is an uplifting and captivating story, and makes me think it is never too late to say sorry, and that you really shouldn't hold a grudge for 60 years. It started slightly slow but still in a way that had me interested, as as the story continued, and there is a race against time, the pace increases, and so does the addictiveness of the book. I read this in one afternoon, and can't think of a better way I could have spent the time. 

I had been slightly worried about elements of this book as they first appeared in the book, and also of the mention of the 1950s in the blurb, but if like me you aren't a history nut, then don't worry its not in your face. There are diaries, but we only get short relevant extracts about Mattie's grandfather which were interesting. The other main way we get history is from Reenie's reminisces, but since they are in conversation form, it was like a grandparent telling a grandchild stories of their youth, and from that point of view very comforting. 

Reenie Silver is without a doubt the star of this book, with Mattie in more of a supporting role, despite Mattie being the main character, and the point of view we see everything from. Reenie was part of 50s group The Silver Five, but never got a chance to play the biggest gig of their career at the Palm Grove, London. She has taken responsibility for 60 years about the band splitting up that night, although no one knows the reason why. There has been a 60 year rift between the band members, and thanks to a graveside promise Mattie has made to her dearly departed grandfather (who she also had a rift with), the pair embark on a massive task.

When I think of road trips, I usually think of epic stories down Route 66 in USA, possibly with a group of people just out of college doing something amazing. Searching for a Silver Lining turns the road trip concept around, and involves an octogenarian, Reenie, Mattie and club owner Gil touring all over Britain to try and reunite The Silver Five for a one off reunion concert. 

At times I was in tears with elements of the story, other times I was willing some romance to happen, other times I was just smiling and laughing as everything progressed. There is a romance but its so supplementary to the main story, it almost barely registers. It is how Mattie and Reenie communicate and their relatively new friendship and how it develops that I loved reading about the most. 

Reenie has had a colourful past, and the stories she tells adds a fair amount of glamour to the situation, although perhaps a pinch of salt is needed as you listen to her. She is larger than life, but there is a lot to her under the surface too, and I enjoyed learning about all facets of her personality. 

Without a doubt I think this is the best and most enjoyable book that Miranda Dickinson has written to date, and is one I would love to see made into a film. It definitely is my new favourite by her, and I'm just sad that I have reached the end of the story, as I was loving it so much. 

Thank you so much to Francesca Pearce at Pan for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

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