|The Golden Anklet by Beverley Hansford|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: A search for identity is paired with a blossoming love story as children's-home-raised Jane discovers her true past. An interesting premise that takes a meandering route.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 544||Date: September 2015|
Jane Carroll is becoming more and more successful as a young journalist on a woman's magazine. Yet, although her future looks secure, Jane would like to discover more about her past. As an orphan she was raised in a children's home with no information regarding the identity of her parents apart from what was on her birth certificate. Therefore armed with this certificate and the help of her new boyfriend Bob, not to mention genealogist dabbling neighbour Gerald, the search begins. However nothing is as straightforward, or indeed as safe, as she thought it would be.
Beverley Hansford has always harboured an ambition to write but, as many of us will recognise, work got in the way. Now retired, Beverley is making up for lost time, having published both non-fiction and fiction. After his debut novel, Julie about a young woman facing upheaval and Autumn Gold which looks at a couple in their later years, we're treated to a delve into an identity that isn't what it had always seemed.
We also have a bonus in that Jane's research into her origins is set against the burgeoning relationship between her and photographer/knight in shining armour, Bob. In fact the story begins with the night they meet.
Both are likeable, their love story humming along nicely with a charming quaint, mannered feel. If it was music, their relationship would be a very sweet middle of the road standard rather than raunchy rock and roll. This low key feeling is an interesting device that allows the main genealogy story to move front and centre along with some subtle questions about what – or who - gives us our sense of self.
The genealogy thread of the story catches the zeitgeist of a hobby fuelled by programmes like Who Do You Think You Are?. Therefore Jane having an amateur genealogist isn't a coincidence or plot convenience in this day and age; it’s probably the case that none of us are more than 100 metres from someone who researches their ancestry.
About half way through the story we may begin to wonder what will happen to warrant the number of pages that are left. Don't worry: a little more than half way through we find out and the writing shifts up a gear to something rather exciting.
In the first half we've meandered along with a few surprises and a few fulfilled predictions. The narrative is almost clipped in a Brief Encounters way, adding to the vintage feel of the love story. There are a couple of places where the author really wants to make sure we get certain messages loud and clear but this is just surface stuff that's swiftly forgotten once we move from romance to thriller. I won't give anything away but this is a total game changer as we hold on tight for the ride. Trust me – even being able to guess the identity of the baddies doesn't detract from the roller coaster.
This is just the novel to pass an afternoon while showing us the potential of Beverley's talent to leave us anticipating his next project.
(I'd like to thank the author for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: If this gives you a hankering to discover your past, we also recommend Who Do You Think You Are?: The Genealogy Handbook by Dan Waddell. If you would like to stay with thrillers about hidden pasts, we also highly recommend Every Contact Leaves a Trace by Elanor Dymott and/or Dreamland by Robert L Anderson.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Golden Anklet by Beverley Hansford at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Golden Anklet by Beverley Hansford at Amazon.com.
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