This is a SECOND OPINION review. An earlier review is on IEBR HERE.
Kathleen Jones understands the art of story and how it works. By the end of the first couple of ‘The Sun’s Companion, her effortless-seeming prose had me completely engaged. Tamar Fell is a schoolgirl who has moved home too many times. In her new school she meets Anna, who has moved as well, though not because the rent is due, as is Tamar’s case. Anna is a German Jew. The Second World War hasn’t yet broken out, but Anna has experienced terrible things, and she’s fled with her mother and can’t ever go back.
Despite their very different backgrounds, a friendship is forged between these two girls. This part of the book, charting the girls’ growing years against a background of approaching war, is completely gripping. Unfortunately I cared more about the girls as children than I sometimes found myself caring later about their adult selves. Anna’s single-mindedness in pursuit of her dreams, for example, failed to strike a chord with me and I was sorry to see Tamar’s story – and, indeed, the whole book – culminate in an ending that came across as too pat.
This sounds like a gripe, but don’t let that put you off. This was a book I read for pleasure, and which had me hooked all the way through. The real strength of the story lies in its detail. Here we have life in an England overshadowed by war, skirmishes with the arts establishment, robust experiences as a Land Girl and so much more. And everything is written as if from experience. You can’t believe Kathleen Jones hasn’t been there. So much rings true.
Kathleen Jones is fine writer. Her use of language is skillful and precise and has the beat about it of real life. Hardly surprisingly, I recommend ‘The Sun’s Companion’.
Available in Kindle Format
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