Angel of Brooklyn
Jonathon Crane returns to his small home village on the cusp of the First World War with a beautiful wife, Beatrice. Her mysterious and exotic childhood in Normal, Illinois, sets her apart from the village wives and, when the men depart for war, her sense of desperation and isolation increase.
Her blond hair, smart clothes and accent make the local women wary of her, in spite of her continuing friendly overtures. Her life story interests and repels them, but the one story she will never tell is of how she became the Angel of Brooklyn. But secrets aren’t possible in a close-knit community, and when the truth is revealed the women unite against Beatrice; tragedy is the only possible outcome.
In Beatrice Crane, Janette Jenkins has created a heroine as colourful and alien as a bird of paradise. A creature used to warmth, noise and chatter left alone in the cold and drear of the English north is unlikely to thrive, and that sense of doom haunts the pages of the novel.
This is a fine love story in which the visceral horrors of the war are almost incidental to the mental horrors faced by Beatrice as she tries and fails to gain acceptance. The final dramatic climax is truly shocking, being both totally unexpected and yet absolutely inevitable. A fantastic and compelling read.