Soho 1958. Martha Palmer, an aspiring singer working in a coffee shop, is desperately short of cash. She’s been scouted by a photographer. The money’s good. But there’s a catch …
Sussex 1976. Nothing much happens in fourteen-year-old Natasha James’ life. Her mother has taken to her bed and her father, the local doctor, is preoccupied with his patients. But when the magnetic Martha Palmer moves into her village, Natasha is drawn into a glittery world of extravagant parties, steeped in the embroidered rhythms of jazz.
But who is the mysterious Martha Palmer? And why is she the keeper of so many secrets? Desperate to fill in the gaps of Martha’s past, Natasha uncovers a heart-breaking love story, the truth of which threatens to destroy all that she holds dear.
A Song Unsung is a truly unique novel that draws you in instantly. The story is told via a dual timeline, something I absolutely adore, as I am sure those of you that have followed my blog already know.
As a young woman, Martha Palmer leaves home with very little money to her name. She has always loved to sing, and has often dreamed of pursuing a career doing what she loves most, however she soon has to accept that it is simply a fantasy that will never come to life. For the time being, Martha is simply trying to earn enough money to survive, and that is when she is approached by someone who has the ability to bring her dreams to life.
In 1976 we meet Natasha, a bored and incredibly lonely 14 year old girl. That soon changes when the elusive Martha Palmer moves in to her neighbourhood, and Natasha soon finds herself caught up in Martha’s spellbinding aura. Natasha is entranced by everything Martha possesses, from her beauty and fashion sense to the lifestyle she leads, and before long she is utterly addicted to solving the mystery that is Martha Palmer.
This book certainly took us on an adventure right from the start. I loved getting to follow the growth of Martha’s character as we got to see her in both the 1950’s and the 1970’s. It is clear that she has had a difficult time over the years, but there is definitely an air of mystery that keeps you well and truly invested in her life story. Natasha is another intriguing character who has a rather complex personality. Of course, she is what most would see as a typical, often difficult teenager, however the obsession she develops over Martha’s mysterious life shows she is looking for more adventure herself.
The storyline is so wonderfully structured, with plenty of drama and mystery laced throughout the plot to keep the reader hooked to the very last page. Each character you encounter in the book is well fleshed out and often relatable in some way, ultimately making them more human to the reader.
A beautifully written story that had me enthralled to the end.
About the Author
Independent author, Fiona Cane, graduated from Exeter University with a degree in Philosophy. She worked in London in film PR, before moving back to Sussex where, as a married mother of two, she divided her time between coaching tennis and writing books. To date, she has published two mysteries, Killing Fame, and The Gate – the psychological thriller, When the Dove Cried – and the critically acclaimed literary thriller, The Other Side of the Mountain.
A-coming-of-age story with a mystery at its heart, A Song Unsung is Fiona Cane’s fifth novel, and is about an impressionable teenage girl who falls under the spell of a beautiful woman with a mysterious past.
*Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours and Fiona Cane for providing me with a gifted copy of this book in return for my honest review. All thoughts are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.*