Prompt: A book recommended by a celebrity you admire
Who doesn’t love the Richard and Judy Book Club? For this prompt I chose the winner of their Search for a Bestseller competition, The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox by Clare Gradidge.
What’s it about?
Set in wartime England, Josephine ‘Jo’ Fox returns to home town of Romsey having left over twenty years earlier. The illegitimate daughter of a teenager, Jo’s birth caused embarrassment for her family. The death if her mother sets Jo on a personal quest to find out the identity of her father.
Jo arrives in Romsey the day after a bombing raid has destroyed the local pub. Seven bodies have been identified, but an eighth, the body of a teenage girl is unidentified and out of place. Getting a job with her childhood friend and local coroner, Bram Nash, they set out to find out the truth about this girl and her death.
As the towns secrets are revealed, Jo may also find out the identity of her father and the shameful circumstances surrounding her birth.
What I think:
This is an instantly engaging story with fascinating main characters. Both Jo and Bram are complex and interesting characters who are haunted by their pasts. Their fragile rekindled relationship develops throughout the book. Josephine is feisty and independent but also sensitive and vulnerable.
There’s lots of 1940s atmospheric detail and I particularly loved the flashbacks to Jo’s childhood.
This is a great mystery with some really interesting and hideous characters as the town secrets are gradually revealed. A well-deserved winner.
You can order a copy from:
Waterstone’s: Click here
Amazon.co.uk: Click here