Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Sixpenny Song by Jennifer Johnston

review by Maryom

When Annie's father dies she isn't exactly heart-broken, in fact mildly inconvenienced might be a better description of her feelings. With her mother having died while Annie was still a child and with breaking free from her domineering father when he refused to allow her to go to university, Annie has had nothing to tie her to home and hasn't returned in over ten years. Even so, she decides the right thing to do is head back to Dublin for her father's funeral. Back there, she discovers things aren't quite as she imagined - by leaving Annie the house where she grew up, her father seems to still be trying to direct her life, but she starts to discover that their family history was not quite as she's imagined and that maybe, just maybe, her father wasn't quite the man she'd thought he was.

A Sixpenny Song is a short but satisfying tale of family secrets that packs a bigger punch than might be expected of its size, just under 200 pages. In some ways the story is one of those 'must face the past before you can build a future' tales but not in a lazy formulaic way. The characters are real, stand-alone people, that I felt I got to know as the story, and their stories, unfolded. I loved the way it took the world as seen through Annie's childhood memories and turned it on its head. Children see the grown-up world around them from a slanted, biased stand-point; they like the people who let them do as they wish, and dislike those who try to impose order and rules. Being distanced from her father, first at boarding school then in self-imposed exile in London, Annie has had no chance to gradually revise her opinions as she's grown older - which is why so many surprises lie in wait for her back in Dublin.

A charming, engaging read, great for winter evenings.

Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - 
Tinder Press
Genre -
Adult fiction, literary

Buy A Sixpenny Song from Amazon

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