Hello, and welcome to my blog on my day of ‘The Hourglass’ blog tour. I’d like to thank Anne Cater for giving me the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, as well as Unbound Digital for gifting me a copy of The Hourglass by Liz Heron.
‘The Hourglass’ was published by Unbound Digital on the 25th of October 2018 in both e-book format and paperback. I’ve included purchasing links at the bottom of the post.
About The Author
Liz Heron grew up in Scotland and studied at Glasgow University. After living in Paris, Madrid and Venice, she embarked on freelance life in London, contributing arts and literary journalism to Spare Rib, The New Statesman, The Listener, The Village Voice, New Society, The Guardian and many other publications. Her literary translations from French and Italian range from Georges Bataille and Giorgio Agamben to the novels of Paola Capriolo. Her own books include Truth, Dare or Promise, a compilation of essays on childhood, and Streets of Desire, an anthology of women’s 20th-century writing on the world’s great cities, both published by Virago, as was her short-story collection, A Red River (1996).
Liz began researching her novel, The Hourglass, during her second spell of life in Venice. Her website is www.lizheron.co.uk
She writes a blog, mainly on film: www.lizheron.wordpress.com
“ Spring 2000. Paul Geddes visits Venice to research the fin-de-siècle opera singer, Esme Maguire, seeking out a cache of papers held by Eva Forrest, the widow of a collector. What he reads begins in the 1680s, moving through the city s later history of Enlightenment and Revolution, describing a life stretched beyond human possibilities.
She travels across Europe to sing in Regency London and Edinburgh, then Belle Epoque Paris, always returning to Venice, its shadows and its luminosity, its changes and its permanence.
What would it be like to live for nearly 300 years, as an exceptional being who must renew herself time after time, as those she has loved age and die? Could this story be grounded in reality or be merely the product of an ageing woman s delusion, as Paul suspects.
Warily, Eva and Paul fall in love, their tentative emotions bringing them closer until, on a trip to the Dolomites, Eva s past catches up with her.”
What I Thought
‘The Hourglass’ is a beautifully written book that weaves together a dual storyline of historical and contemporary fiction, set in the scenic city of Venice. One of the main narratives is that of a very artistic nature, following a famous opera singer Esme Maguire who had lead a truly extraordinary life for almost 300 years while travelling the world singing.
Esme’s character made my heart swell and break as we were swept through her life story; we experienced her lost loves, heartbreak and grief through her own words. We learnt the circumstances in which she has become immortal and the consequences of becoming so. While reading the book, I could feel the passion and heart that the author had poured into this book. Liz’s ability to create an atmostpheric read is wonderful, almost poetic.
I couldn’t help feel saddened Esme; who I felt was lonely as she lived this life on a type of loop of changing names, lying and loves. The alternative dual storyline that was set in contemporary times was that of Eva and Paul. Eva has recently become widowed, she contacts researcher Paul with promises of papers that would shine a light upon the life of Esme Maguire. What beings as a business relationship in the city of enlightenment and revolution, becomes a whirlwind romance. I felt that the dual narrative really worked, although I wish there had been slightly more focus on Eva and Paul, but I think that’s just personal taste. Although, I did like pondering the question, is a mortal life really worth it?
Overall, I enjoyed the read and would recommend to those who enjoy reading books that centre around the arts with a historical tone. Also, I’d like to say how stunning the cover is, one of my favourites!
Thank you again to Anne. Without these blog tour opportunities she provides, I would have not found some really great reads, authors and publishers!
To purchase your copy, click here!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my review of ‘The Hourglass’, there’s been some great posts this tour by some super bloggers that you should check out! Thank you again for reading!