THE KEEPER OF SONGS
Publication Date: 2nd July 2021
Secrets hide in the strangest places
A missing singer
A doomed love story
A family split apart by secrets & lies
Can an ancient song show them the way forward?
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.
Inspired by the work of Mercury Music Nominated folk singer and song collector, Sam Lee and Bella Hardy’s song ‘Henry & Clara’ from her album ‘The Dark Peak and the White.’
Based on real events - the murder of ‘The Runaway Lovers’ in the Peak District.
A dual timeline family history mystery.
Will appeal to fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Lucinda Riley.
Audio drama adaptation with ‘Alternative Stories & Fake Realities’ Podcast.
‘Romantic, meticulously observed, historically fascinating and musically highly literate. Fiona Mountain understands everything about the fine folk art of storytelling. The Keeper of Songs is a wonderful tale exquisitely told, showing a deep empathy with the landscape of the Peak District and the traditional music that has emanated from it. Fiona creates a world of romance, detail and heartfelt emotion.’
- Mark Radcliffe, Broadcaster, musician, writer and presenter of BBC Folk on 2.
‘The depth of Fiona’s research for this book is evident in her thoughtful and magical portrayal of the stories deep within our old songs. She is a natural diviner of the worlds that dwell within them, both real and fictional and she has created a novel that reveals more secrets than one knew a song could ever keep.’
- Sam Lee, Mercury Prize nominated folk singer, song collector and broadcaster, author 'The Nightingale, Notes on a Songbird.
With such a lightness of touch and meticulous attention to detail, surely Fiona Mountain must have cleaned the chandeliers of Chatsworth in a former life? The Keeper of Songs is a well crafted and heart-rending tale of love and loss woven skillfully across multiple generational divides, and throughout, her love for Chatsworth and the beautiful Peak District shines through. A gripping read; I loved it!
- Christine Robinson, Author of Chatsworth, the Housekeeper's Tips, Tales & Tipples'
‘It's been a great pleasure to read The Keeper of Songs, and I know it's a book that will stay with me for a long time. Fiona Mountain's own fascination with the power and resonance of music and folklore is evident as the threads of the narrative slowly weave together, and the lost lives and lost loves, the secrets and lies, the misunderstandings and the regrets, resolve themselves - though not without grief - into a satisfying conclusion. Her meticulous research takes us from the depths of the caves of Castleton to the majesty of Chatsworth House, but it's folk music that drives the story - the ancient songs, telling tales of tragedy and true love, that generations of singers have kept alive to this day
- Jane Sanderson, Author of ‘Mix Tape.’
'A hauntingly Beautiful Romance. Set against the glorious backdrop of the historic Chatsworth House, this is a hauntingly moving story of love, and loss, and hidden truths. Fiona Mountain weaves the words that will enchant and thrill your senses.'
- Essie Fox, Author of 'The Last Days of Leda Grey.'
One word to describe this book – captivating! It was like the story had cast a magical spell over its reader. This story has all the makings for a great story; mystery over a singer’s disappearance, secrets, deep rooted family connections, Derbyshire countryside, music and an air of romance. The twisting and turning plot was fabulous. It was packed full of heartbreak, love, mystery and echoes from the past. I loved the dual POVs too. I loved Silva’s mission, which was set by her dying father, to find Molly, the beautiful and mysterious singer who had disappeared in 1967. From that point on I was hooked. All the way through I kept thinking – this would make an excellent BBC drama
- Lucy Mitchell
I absolutely adore split time line novels, especially if there is a musical undercurrent! This book had it all for me; it's one of my books of the year so far! This is an easy ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ from me!
- Sarah Louise Hope
I loved the sense of place, the descriptions of the rooms, gardens, the methods for looking after all the artefacts, and the way that Chatsworth is more than just a stately home, it’s a community for everyone who works there. A truly enchanting read.
- Nicola Smith, Short Book & Scribes
A beautiful story of love and loss tied together across the decades by two wonderful women. The plot was also wonderful. It was full of mystery and love and heartbreak and haunting echoes that ran back centuries to the song that played such a great role in the story, The Runaway Lovers. I have to visit Chatsworth House now, I've wanted to go for years and I think this book might just be the push to make me go. A delight to read.
Such a beguiling, entrancing and lovely story about, music, heartbreak, the past and how going back home can also be good to reignite past loves and heal old wounds. Wow this book had me gripped and entranced from the first page all the way to the end. An amazing and heartwarming tale of love, sadness, hurt and anger which closely resembles the folk songs which are enthused in every line.I really loved this book and can highly recommend this to anyone who loves folk music, old folk tales, love, hurt, secrets, deceits, lies and maybe possibly redemption. This book wrings every emotion you have and more. It makes you laugh, cry and gives you hope.
- Crazy Red Head Blog
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.
- Cheryl M-M's Book Blog
Such a beautifully told tale of family history, music and love, woven together with the perfect setting of Chatsworth House. A lovely read with very likeable characters, and I would highly recommend it! - Reading Jeanie
This is a beautiful tale of romance, history and music. So beautifully written. The characters are all lovable and I think this story will be in my heart for a long time. - 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫 from me.
- Nimalee Ravi
I’ll be honest, this isn’t the type of book I would normally pick up and although it’s been billed as a modern day Downton Abbey, I got some major Daisy Jones vibes and so I was intrigued! This is a really beautifully written story and breezed through it in a couple of days.
The Keeper of Songs is a beautiful story of romance and mystery. This book was a magical read that I couldn’t put down. I now really want to visit Chatsworth House because Fiona’s descriptive writing made it sound phenomenal.
This book was amazing. Loved every page. It was a moving, romantic and emotional read. The characters were amazing and the story was epic.
- Rhianydd Morris