Friday, January 10, 2020

Book Review: The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

Pages: 471
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: December 10, 2019
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "An unforgettable historical about true love found and lost and the secrets we keep from one another from an award-winning author.  Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying on just the right side of scandal, all while running from the life her parents would choose for her Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina's orbit one night and can never let her go even while knowing someone of her stature could never end up with someone of his. Except Selina falls hard for Lawrence, envisioning a life of true happiness. But when tragedy strikes, Selina finds herself choosing what's safe over what's right.  Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, Iona Grey's The Glittering Hour is an epic novel of passion, heartache and loss. 

It's 1936 and Alice is staying with her grandparents at their estate as her parents are on a business trip overseas.  Alice is feeling sad without her parents around, but thankfully, she has Polly, her grandparents' servant to keep her company.  Polly gives Alice letters from her mother as well as clues to a treasure hunt that she set up.  This obviously gives Alice something to look forward to while missing her mother.  Then the narration is also shared with Selina, Alice's mother, except it takes readers back to the year 1925 when Selina was a young woman and had her whole life in front of her. She was always in the tabloids, along with her other wealthy and adventurous friends, and was commonly referred to as a "Bright Young Thing."  While on a treasure hunt of her own with her friends, she meets a struggling artist, Lawrence. He is pretty much the opposite of the type of guys she should be dating, but despite this, they fall in love. Her parents have encouraged her to marry someone else, so Selina will have to decide soon which path she will choose and this decision will impact her life forever.  The Glittering Hour is a charming historical novel and while I found it predictable, I still enjoyed getting lost in Selina's glittering world.

I really enjoyed the unconventional character of Selina in The Glittering Hour. She is outgoing, witty, and knows how to have a good time. She is exactly what I would expect from a Bright Young Thing.  When she meets Lawrence her world is turned upside down.  I did enjoy their romance despite the fact that it was heart wrenching and not the simplest of romances.

In the future, Selina sends her daughter, Alice, on her own treasure hunt in The Glittering Hour and I could see where this was going, but nonetheless, I enjoyed going along for the ride. It was a fun way to uncover Selina's story alongside Alice, so in turn, the dual narrative did work for me. Another aspect of The Glittering Hour that kept me engaged were Grey's evocative descriptions of the exciting time of the 20s in London.  

So, if you enjoy historical fiction that will tug on your heartstrings and is filled with family secrets, give The Glittering Hour a try this winter. I was hoping to love it a bit more than I did, but overall, it was a decent read. 


  1. A dual timeline story will always interest me, and the 1920s is such a fun era! I'll keep this one on my TBR but perhaps won't be running out to read it soon.

    1. Yes, the time period is the best part. I wouldn't run out to read it, but yes, definitely keep your eye out for it at the library. Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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