As promised, here is my review of Tracy Rees’ Amy Snow.
Abandoned on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy is taken in at nearby Hatville Court. But the masters and servants of the grand estate prove cold and unwelcoming. Amy’s only friend and ally is the sparkling young heiress Aurelia Vennaway. So when Aurelia tragically dies young, Amy is devastated. But Aurelia leaves Amy one last gift. A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can follow. A life-changing discovery awaits… if only she can unlock the secret.”
Amy’s life has always been difficult. She had to contend with an adoptive family that never really wanted her, a confused childhood as a servant who had no chores, an uneasy position as companion to Aurelia, her only friend, heartbreaking duties as Aurelia’s nurse, and finally, when Aurelia can’t hang on any longer, Amy is left with nothing and no one. Or so she thinks.
Amy’s journey to find herself and become her own person is undercut by interjections of Amy’s past, growing up alongside but always behind Aurelia. Rees is able to capture Amy’s personal development and the way that she sheds her oppressive history to grow into an individual.
Perhaps what I liked most about this book though, is the way that Rees also showed how Aurelia grew through the experiences that she shares with Amy posthumously.
For readers like me who enjoy a bit of romance, there is a slight romance element, but it by no means dominates the story. The characters are varied and well-developed, and it’s clear that Rees has taken a lot of time to make clear her characters’ motivations before writing.
There are plenty of twists and turns in the novel as Amy’s journey takes her on a path that Aurelia herself travelled in order to unwind the secret that Aurelia kept from her closest friend. Each plot twist revealed itself to me a few pages before it became known to Amy, but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the novel in anyway. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised with the time it took me to work out what was going on, as usually I can tell what’s going to happen at the end within the first few pages of a book.
Rees’ style definitely keeps you guessing, but it is enjoyable to discover the story with Amy, who is a likeable character. She only gets better as the story progresses – she is not afraid to admit her faults and she grows exponentially throughout the course of the novel.
Be warned though, readers. This book had me crying with the start and end of each new chapter! My friends will tell you that I am a highly emotional person, and if things don’t tend to affect you that way, you might be safe. I have to say though, I would put this book up there with My Sister’s Keeper and The Fault in Our Stars level of sadness. (In case you hadn’t worked out, I’m not a fan of loved ones dying in books… Don’t even get me started on Harry Potter…)
I don’t think I can say any more without giving away the plot of the novel, but it’s definitely a 10/10 would recommend sort of book!
’til next time, readers, much love.