ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Pieces of Us by Caroline Montague
The Pieces of Us by Caroline Montague is published by Orion and available now in eBook and audiobook and from 15th February in paperback. My thanks to the author and the publishers for the proof copy.
Marina and Hugh were once madly in love. But after the loss of their beautiful little daughter, grief has created a distance between them that feels impossible to bridge. Marina knows leaving Italy is the only way they will be able to move on, but Thorncliffe Hall, Hugh’s family home in England, is so grey and unwelcoming.
Just when life feels like it may never regain colour, Marina and Hugh come across a striking china coffee pot in a London shop window, adorned with a fox flying through the night sky. The coffee pot comes attached with a mystery, one that is connected with Hugh’s own family many years ago.
By digging into the past, Marina is about to discover a story far beyond her wildest dreams. But will the past help her heal the present?
A heartwrenching, utterly unforgettable story for fans of Sally Page and Amanda Prowse.
The Pieces of Us is a dual timeline story with a focus on an industry that I found really interesting to read about. The modern day storyline focuses on Marina and Hugh. Having suffered a terrible tragedy they leave Marina’s native Italy to live at Thorncliffe Hall, Hugh’s family seat in Staffordshire. Struggling to deal with her loss, Marina wants to find out more about a coffee pot which features a fox soaring through the air and which seems to have a link to Thorncliffe and Hugh’s ancestors.
It was the idea of a family mystery and the history of the coffee pot that really intrigued me about this book and made me want to read it but it ended up being the historical storyline, set in 1925, which I found more absorbing, and which made up the greater part of the book. Without giving too much away, it follows a plucky young woman and delves into life in the potteries, the skills required, and the dangers of such work. I found myself really drawn into this strand and I very much liked and admired the protagonist with her interest in women’s rights and her work as a potter.
The Pieces of Us is an engaging read which I became thoroughly engrossed in. The author has clearly researched the potteries and has weaved together a story that transported me to the working conditions of the 1920s alongside the opulence those of privilege enjoyed, all against the backdrop of those difficult post-First World War years. I enjoyed it very much.
Caroline Montague lives with her husband at Burnt Norton House in the Cotswolds made famous by TS Eliot in the first of his four quartets. She is also a designer and mother to seven children and step-children. She divides her time between England and Italy.