The Silver Locket contains many things I identify with – WW1, music halls, Dorset and the East End.
Straight away we’re introduced to Rose’s dissatisfaction with her life and how negatively she views Alex Denham. The story switches to Alex getting ready to attend Lady Courtenay’s evening party and we learn about the label society has given him. We find out about his negative view of the Courtenay family. During the evening party Rose shuns Alex twice – the second time while she is with local Baronet’s son, Michael Easton. Alex and Michael are both in the Royal Dorset Regiment… so at the very beginning of the story we have the antagonism that makes you want to read on.
Next we are introduced to two sisters living in the East End before we return to the family home in Dorset. One of the sisters performs at a music hall. Intrigue! Why are the two sisters a part of the story?
WW1 begins and while we are following Rose as she starts her voluntary nursing career in London and then in France, we are also spending time with Alex (and periodically Michael) as he fights with the Royal Dorset Regiment.
The war scenes both in the trenches with Alex and with Rose (in hospitals near the frontline and on the trains) are masterfully crafted. While the romance of the ‘dancing’ between Alex and Rose kept my interest, there is also the harrowing and poignancy of WW1 and later in Russia.
Rose is a strong character from the very beginning. She knows her own mind and is not scared of taking herself off to London to fulfil her need to be more than a Baronet’s wife who will tell her how she should think. She continues to be strong when facing the wounds and the terror of nursing on the trains and so close to the front line. She takes herself off, sometimes walking miles to be where she wants to be and everything she does goes against the society rules she was born into. I have much admiration for her!
Alex is also a strong lead. Despite the scandal of his birth, the fact that he doesn’t want to forgive the community in Dorset for their treatment of him and a moment of weakness with Charlotte, he knows what he wants but doesn’t take anything for granted.
The Silver Locket kept my interest throughout the book from the community and family life in Dorset, the romance of Rose and Alex, the nastiness of Michael Easton, the two sisters in the East End, WW1 and the nursing. At no point is the story dull or boring!