Two Silver Crosses
by Beryl Kingston
‘Nobody is to know where we are. You must forget England. That part of your lives is over.’
Twins Ginny and Emily Holborn have everything they could ever need in their Wolverhampton home: a loving family, a garden to play in and a staff waiting to attend to their every need. Until, one summer day in 1926, they disappear without a trace.
Ten years later, bright-eyed solicitor Charlie Commoner is given his first job: track down the still-missing Holborn twins. Despatched to France, he’s left to unravel a web of infidelity, mystery, and terrifying family secrets.
Let bestselling author Beryl Kingston sweep you away on a journey from London to Paris, through tragedy and triumph in the search for two sisters wearing two silver crosses.
I found this to be a compelling read, the relationship between the two sisters especially so.
Growing up in England, Emily and Virginia (Ginny) have all the privileges of living at the big Holborn house. Their father is set to inherit the estate and the business, but his death puts paid to that. Their mother – half-French – is bullied into leaving by her brother-in-law who threatens to expose her secret. She takes the girls to France for a new life, but financially they soon struggle and have to take on much harder duties to earn enough money to pay the rent. Their mother swears it is necessary, and so long as the girls never marry they will all be fine.
The idea of never marrying, or even falling in love, is not easy for the girls to accept but they agree – for their mother’s sake. Until, that is, love finds them.
When Emily meets her future husband, it is truly proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, because she isn’t concerned with his looks but more with the kindness in his voice. The girls continue their relationships without telling their mother, and circumstances mean they are never quite in the right place when advertisements are posted asking them to get in touch. Their grandfather has died, and has named them in his will. Are their fortunes about to change? If only they can be found in time.
This is a well written story with many a twisting plot. At first, the story is slow to get going. There is a lot of background information to get them to where the real story begins – the search to find them and reveal their inheritance. The author creates some strong imagery, but at times I feel the plot is weighed down by descriptive detail – as beautiful as it may be.
The pace picks up as the search intensifies and missed opportunities thwart them at every turn. The silver crosses are a nice touch, a unifying element to allow for certain twists in the tale.
The progress of the war and its impact on their lives is fascinating – from the Spanish Civil War, the protests against the fascists and then the German invasion across Europe.
Great characters – both sisters are well-defined with unique personalities. Claud Everdale makes a great villain, and watch out for Bertha and Grace: they are both a joy to behold and incredibly annoying.
The ending comes all too quickly, and for me it is left hanging, even though it’s not difficult to see what happens after the book ends – I just would have like more at the end and less at the beginning.
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot – the middle section is particularly good and kept me reading late into the night. I’d recommend it to those who enjoy historical women’s fiction, peppered with romance and a good dose of intrigue.