by Jill Dawson
Lucky Bunny is on the second Jill Dawson novel I have read and I am already seeing a pattern. Not that that is a bad thing. It is a story of a strong woman looking back on her tough childhood.
Queenie Dove’s story is one of frustrated opportunities, abuse and determination. She grows up in the grim surroundings of London’s East End during the 1930’s Life is tough for everyone. Queenie is a genius but any ambitions that she or anyone es might have had for her are stifled by her would-be criminal father and her depressive mother. Her only anchor is her Nan who does all she can to protect Queenie and her brother Bobby from the worst excesses of their unsuitable parents.
With her father’s connections, it is almost inevitable that the two children find themselves on the wrong end of the law. But this in itself brings Queenie new friendships that will last a lifetime.
There is nothing fanciful in Jill Dawson’s writing. Her characters and the situations they face are believable because they are disturbingly real. Children like Queenie really did exist and to some degree still do. The events portrayed in this book can and did happen.
Queenie Dove is a strong woman molded by the opportunities and terror of the war years. Her story will resonate with many women I am sure.
Luck Bunny is full of atmosphere. The story has a gritty reality that makes Queenie’s tale believable and compelling.
by Jill Dawson
Watch Me Disappear is a haunting and at times disturbing tale. Tine Humber returns to her native Norfolk for her brother’s wedding only to reawaken tragic memories she has fought long and hard to suppress.
Thirty years previously, in the summer of 1972, her childhood friend Many Baker disappeared. No trace was ever found of the 10-year-old and now, as Tina begins to reassemble the fragmented memories of that long-ago summer, she begins to see events more clearly. But with the new clarity dawns a certainty that the truth behind Mandy’s disappearance may be much closer to home than she had dared to believe.
Her questions threaten to tear her family apart and bring to the surfaces memories and feelings they would all rather forget.
I found this book a little disturbing in places, dealing as it does with a subject most of us would much rather not contemplate. It reminds me that sometimes, true horror and real monsters are with us every day and not just between the well-crafted pages of a Stephen King novel.
The plot is slow-burning leaving the reader plenty of space to consider their own speculations about what happened Mandy on that summer afternoon. It also offers an interesting view of the remote and often-overlooked corner of England.
Jill Dawson is a skilled storyteller. She brings not only her characters to life but also the period itself and the innocence of youth. This is the first Jill Dawson book I have read and I am sure it won’t be the last.