Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Photographer's Wife

The Photographer's Wife is the Suzanne Joinson's second novel. It is about a British woman, Prudence Ashton Miller, who spent  part of her childhood in Jerusalem where her father was working. Prudence, however, is not a photographer's wife. Eleanora Rasul is the photographer's wife.  Although she is central to the story, she is not the protagonist. The title of this book is baffling.

The story begins in Jerusalem in the 1920s where an 11 year old Prudence Ashton has recently moved into the Hotel Fast in order to be with her father Charles Ashton. Her mother was confined to an institution in England. There she meets her father's friends and business associates William Cunningham, an aviator, the beautiful Eleanora who has just married the Arab photographer Khaled Rasul, her father's mistress Frau Baum and Khaled Rasul's friend Ihsan, who is teaching Prudence the Arabic language.

The story alternates between the 1920s and the late 1930s/early 1940s when the English are trying to erase from history their time collaborating with Germany in Jerusalem. War between England and Germany is about to begin and there are things that need to be covered up. The British government wants Prudence, now separated from her husband and with a son, to give them photographic evidence of this past that could incriminate them in working with the Nazis. This brings back memories that Prudence thought had left her mind.

At first I thought that this was a historical fiction novel. It is not written with the historical fiction template and I was not sure if it was written poorly or another type of novel. I soon realized that it is another type of novel and is written in prose. While I felt the story moved a little slowly, it was only because my expectations were wrong. I am not used to reading this type of novel.

The plot was interesting and the reader does not know until the end of the book that the reason for telling the story is that the British government wants to erase this part of their history. I think the book may have been more exciting if there were clues throughout the story of this intent.

This was a great read and I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

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