ARC Review | The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls

The Silent Stars Go By

by Sally Nicholls

YA Romance, Historical Fiction

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Seventeen-year-old Margot Allan was a respectable vicar’s daughter and madly in love with her fiance Harry. But when Harry was reported Missing in Action from the Western Front, and Margot realised she was expecting his child, there was only one solution she and her family could think of in order to keep that respectability. She gave up James, her baby son, to be adopted by her parents and brought up as her younger brother.
Now two years later the whole family is gathering at the Vicarage for Christmas. It’s heartbreaking for Margot being so close to James but unable to tell him who he really is. But on top of that, Harry is also back in the village. Released from captivity in Germany and recuperated from illness, he’s come home and wants answers. Why has Margot seemingly broken off their engagement and not replied to his letters? Margot knows she owes him an explanation. But can she really tell him the truth about James?

Thank you to the publisher Andersen Press for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

There is nothing quite like a Sally Nicholls novel to really draw you in with her gorgeous writing and attention to detail, so I was so excited to receive an early copy of her upcoming novel, The Silent Stars Go By, out next month!

Her newest novel is set in England after the first World War, and follows the life and big secret of Margot Allan – she fell pregnant with her fiance Harry’s baby and was forced to pretend it was her own mother’s child when Harry ended up being MIA during the war. But when Harry returns, Margot realises that some secrets can’t stay secrets forever, and eventually the truth will surface. But how will everyone react?

I really enjoyed this novel! It was quite short, only about 200 pages, but it sure did pack a punch. I love, as always, the writing style of Nicholls. She’s so delicate and precise with her prose that it just reads so warmly and so well. I think I chose the perfect time of year to read this too, because it got me right in the Christmas mood (though, to be fair, that usually happens to me around September every year lmao)

I thought the characters were excellently written and found myself torn emotionally for Margot’s situation. What I loved most about this novel was the setting. I think Nicholls did a wonderful job of really capturing the essence of post-war England, and her attention to detail with the time period was really quite excellent. The language was spot on, and I was quite fascinated myself learning about some of the things I hadn’t already known – such as they keep cards during a ball of who their next dance belongs to. My only complaint is that I wish it had been longer, and I look forward to what Nicholls brings to us next!

This wonderfully sweet, romantic new novel from beloved UKYA writer Sally Nicholls is out on November 5th, so I urge you all to go pre-order a copy from your local indie or wherever you can!

ARC Review: Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls


Author: Sally Nicholls

Publisher: Andersen Press

Release Date: 7th September 2017

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Pages: 432


Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

Thank you to the publisher to sending me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Where do I start with this book? As soon as I heard about it and saw the ARCs around on social media, I just knew I wanted it. So of course I was delighted when my request was accepted.

I’m a big fan of historical fiction. I’m a big fan of feminism and the suffragette movement (I’m actually doing my Leaving Cert history research project on the suffragettes). And I’m a big fan of LGBTQ+ books. So what do you get when you combine these three things? An amazing book, also known as Things A Bright Girl Can Do.

Even the characters were doing things and saying things that supposedly took place over a century ago, Nicholls mastered the art of making her characters – Evelyn, May and Nell – so real.  It had such a good representation of a gay relationship between Nell and May.

Nicholls’s writing was also impressive when it came to dealing with the time period they were in and the things they were fighting for. They were women fighting for their right to vote and Nicholls’s writing was so powerful and moving. I think the author obviously done her research because the setting and culture really jumped off the page and made me enjoy this even more and become so immersed in it.

I would really recommend this for anyone who is a fan of historical fiction! It comes out on the 7th of September so mark it down in your calendars! It’s not a book that you should miss!