Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published by: Pan Books (June 2010)
Pages: 327 (Paperback)
My Rating: 8.5/10
JUBILEE BY ELIZA GRAHAM
About the Book:
It's the Queen's Golden Jubilee, and Rachel and her aunt Evie are celebrating with the crowds on the village green. The scene is tranquil, but Rachel and her aunt can never forget what happened exactly twenty-five years ago. On that day, Evie's young daughter Jessamy vanished. She hasn't been seen since. Soon after, news comes of Evie's sudden death, and Rachel must return to the village to deal with her aunt's estate. The extraordinary story she uncovers there will change everything. It is a story of departure and return, of atrocity and betrayal, of unrequited love and the dreadful legacy of war.
By the time the kitchen clock struck seven I knew that my cousin wouldn't be coming back
After reading and loving the first two Eliza Graham novels -- Playing with the Moon and Restitution -- I was eagerly looking forward to another mystery with the backdrop of the War and I think she has once again come up with another excellent and compelling story!
The story starts with the now grown up Rachel reminiscing about the day of the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 when she was aged 9 and her 10 year old cousin Jessamy seemingly vanished off the face of the earth, there were no signs of a struggle, no reports of a child being dragged off, she was happy and had no problems, so what could possibly have happened to her?
We are taken back and forth in time throughout the book, from the prison camps of the second World War , the Queen's Coronation in 1953, the Queen's Silver and Golden Jubilees, through to the present day, as we are slowly building up a picture of Jessamy and her family and of the secrets they hold. Indeed, on the day Jessamy vanished she said to Rachel that she hated keeping secrets.
Evie (Jessamy's mother) and her twin brother were evacuated to the Winters family farm in the country during WWII and I loved how we were given snippets of the letters that Robert Winter wrote, but never sent, to a young Evie while he was in a prisoner of war camp. It gave us an insight into not only the terrible conditions but also of the slowly deteriorating mind of a young man who struggles to live a normal life after the War has ended and he comes back to work on the family farm.
I enjoyed this book and was engrossed in the story from start to finish, I thought the prisoner of war camp was handled sensitively and knowledgeably, the characters both main and on the periphery were strong and believable, and overall a thoroughly good mystery.
Eliza Graham's website is here -- to whom I must thank for sending me her book to review.