Today’s team review is from Judith, she blogs at http://judithbarrowblog.com/
Judith has been reading What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes
I gave What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes 5* out of 5*
I started off liking What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes; I finished the novel loving it.
To say this is an easy book to read could sound derogatorily, but, believe me, that is not what I mean; the author’s writing style is relaxed conversational and draws the reader in. The story is told mainly in the first person from the protagonist’s point of view (which gives us an insight to her opinion and relationship with the other characters), but there is also omniscient narrator’s viewpoint from the other characters’ point of view. The clever use of texts between three of the characters, the flashbacks that reveal the protagonist’s past, are innovative and revealing. It sounds complicated but it works so well.
The dialogue is true to each character and is skilfully handled, especially the internal dialogue of the character of Freya, a vulnerable young woman, susceptible to self-doubt and with a dread of returning to the mental unstable state she once found herself in – and of Jennifer’s friend, Abi, an outwardly confident career woman. And, as the story progresses, the initial portrayal of all the characters subtly changes as their personalities are truly revealed.
The various settings are drawn with an economy of description, yet still give a sense of place for the characters to move around in; the reader is given no doubt that this is a story placed slap bang in a Surrey community that is, in essence,an English upper middle-class society. And the small details, revealed mostly through the dialogue, show the amount of research the author has carried out to give a true sense of the era.
The various strands of the plot and sub-plots are shrewdly drawn together, each character sharing an almost equal portion of the story. By the end of the novel I felt as though I knew each character, their lives, and how they viewed the world and those around them.
I finished the book with a sense of sadness; one that I had read the last page – always a good sign for any reader I suppose, and also a sense of sadness for the characters – so much did they seem to become real people. I’m not sure how I wanted it to end but …
If I have any reservations about the novel it’s the instant friendship between, Jennifer and Freya, And the speed with which it grows. Yet, on reflection, I suppose, given the inner need of both these characters, it is plausible.
I have absolutely no hesitation recommending What Jennifer Knows. It’s a lovely début novel from Wendy Janes.
I received a copy of What Jennifer Knows from the author and as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT in exchange for an honest review.
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