It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Keeper of Songs by Fiona Mountain.
About the Author
Fiona grew up in Sheffield worked for the BBC for ten years, in the press office for Radio 1. She has written five novels, which have been published around the world. Her debut, Isabella, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. It was followed with Pale as the Dead and Bloodline, which feature ‘ancestor detective’, Natasha Blake. Bloodline is the winner of the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award from the Mystery Writers of America. She lives in the Cotswolds with her family.
About the book
1967: Enigmatic young folk singer Molly Marrison disappears on the cusp of fame.
2002: Silva is working as a housemaid at Chatsworth when her father suddenly dies, leaving her with one instruction – find Molly.
The only clue is a haunting song, centuries old, that Molly recorded before she vanished. The only person who can help Silva fulfil her father’s dying wish is song collector, Robbie Nightingale. They were teenage sweethearts, but Silva’s not spoken to Robbie for decades. If they try to find Molly, what else will they discover? For Molly is not the only girl to have disappeared. Silva’s mother, Sukey, vanished when Silva was a child, leaving her with scars that Robbie once tried to heal.
A modern day Downton Abbey set at Chatsworth House, England’s most famous stately home. The Keeper of Songs is inspired by the work of Mercury Music Nominated folk singer and song collector, Sam Lee and by Bella Hardy’s song ‘Henry & Clara,’ which is based on real events – the murder of ‘The Runaway Lovers’ in the Winnats Pass in the Peak District.
The dual timeline and stories of Molly and Silva are told individually at first and yet slowly become intertwined to become one. The first Silva becomes aware of Molly is when her father utters his last words, then it is just a question of finding out who Molly is, where she is and why is she the last person Silva’s father thought of.
At the very core of this story is one of the oldest traditions to pass information and history along – the tradition of oral history through the medium of folk songs. The modern day folk singers are the conduits for the men and women of the past, of their voices and experiences, they keep the songs and pass them on to the next generation, hence the keeper of songs.
Mountain combines history, factual events and the rich tradition of folklore and the truths of history. The difference is the folk song is usually told by the working men and women, the people whose voices aren’t heard or written in history books. If this book awakens an interest in the subject then I can only recommend tracing the extraordinary roots of these songs – some of them are quite surprising.
It’s a beautiful read that manages to combine multiple genres at the same time. The dual timeline lends itself to a modern and historical story, then a mystery and the magical realism of folk song is woven into the story to create a captivating read.