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The Picture Book (2011)
by Jo Baker
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307957098, Hardcover)Guest Reviewer: Kate Alcott on The Undertow by Jo Baker
Kate Alcott, the author of The Dressmaker, was a reporter covering politics in Washington D.C., where she and her husband still live.One warning for the reader about to open The Undertow: don’t plan to read this remarkable, tender novel in short snatches of time, because it won’t work. Jo Baker’s story following the Hastings family through four generations will pull you up and hold you to the last page.
A young and frightened seaman facing the battle of Gallipoli during World War 1 scribbles out a cheery postcard to his wife. Years later, his great-granddaughter picks the postcard out of an old album and thinks about what this distant, unknown man must have felt and feared; for her and for us, he breathes with life.
It is, yes, a grand sweep of a family’s love and sadness and joy through time – but what makes the story stand out is the author’s gift for drawing every character vivid and full. She paints them with finely tuned detail. She understands their strengths and weaknesses, and, with great sensitivity, their contradictions.
As in real lives, choices are made, paths taken and sometimes regretted. Always, time moves on. So settle down in a chair and dive in. Follow these people through chapters that crackle with the bloody horrors of war and others that end as lightly as a kiss. You will be absorbed by them all – and their stories are ones you will not soon forget.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:30 -0400)
"A novel about four generations of a British family--their secrets, their loves and losses, dreams and heartbreaks--captured in a series of individual moments that span the years from World War I, to World War II, to the 1960s, and up to the present"--Provided by publisher.
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