Rachel Hickman wanted to work in children’s books since joining the Puffin Club as a child! She achieved her dream and has been working in children’s publishing for over 25 years and is a founding director of Chicken House Books. One Silver Summer is Rachel’s debut novel, to be published in May by Old Barn Books.
One Silver Summer by Rachel Hickman
After losing her mother in an accident, Sass is sent to live with her uncle in England. Far from her native Brooklyn, the rocky shores and crumbling castles of Cornwall seem like the perfect place to hide her grief. And when she stumbles across a silver horse in a sunlit meadow, Sass feels a surprising sense of peace….only to have it broken by a boy. A novel that explores the ache of loss as beautifully as it captures the breathless excitement of first love.
Saskia may be thousands of miles from her hometown, but her heart cannot escape the pain and sadness of leaving her old life when her mother is killed in a tragic accident. Even the beautiful landscape of the Cornish hills doesn’t seem to ease her suffering, that is until she stumbles across a beautiful horse, and then its owner, Alexander. He too is suffering and finds himself drawn to this girl who treats him how he is desperate to be treated: like a normal person. Alex and Sass connect with each other in a way they haven’t with anyone before and through their shared love of horses, their feelings grow. However, as often is the case, the path of true love never runs smooth and their blossoming, hidden romance seems blighted by outside forces. Whether it be Sass’ inability to forgive herself for her mother’s death or Alex’s secret identity, they cannot prevent the inevitable intrusions. With secrets all around, can they find their way to true happiness?
One Silver Summer is told in the style of a sweeping old-fashioned romance (think Maeve Binchy or Rosamunde Pilcher) brought up to date with a backdrop of modern day celebrity (think OK magazine!). Sass’ identity has been wrenched from her through the death of her mother, the loss of her home and leaving her friends behind. She’s got to rediscover herself in a new home, with a ‘new’ family. And Alex is in the same position – only he is trying to preserve his own identity whilst keeping up a very royal appearance. Many readers will empathise with the roller-coaster of emotions felt when you cannot control what is happening around you. But even in the midst of the chaos, you can still fall in love. Who wouldn’t enjoy the idea of meeting a prince on a windswept hillside and taking romantic horse rides through the surf?!
The Cornish setting and lovely descriptions of the landscapes are the perfect backdrop and there all the elements you’d want to see in a modern-day romance. Animal lovers will enjoy the horses that feature in the novel and all will appreciate the idea that animals can provide such comfort in times of distress. I particularly enjoyed the plot twists (no spoilers!) and would have liked to seen more of certain story lines. Interest is added through the wider cast of characters: Alex’s regal Grandmother, Helena, who has had her own secret romance; Sass’ Uncle trying to come to terms with the loss of his sister as well as now being a father; the somewhat vile scheming Plum, desperate to make Alex her Prince. For readers aged 11+, who are just discovering romance sagas, this is a great place to start.
Follow Rachel Hickman on Twitter @hickman_rachel
With thanks to Old Barn Books for sending me a proof copy to review. Lookout for our author interview with Rachel coming soon!