The Sun’s Companion

Written by Kathleen Jones
Review by Christoph Fischer

The Sun’s Companion by Kathleen Jones is the story of a friendship during turbulent political times. In short alternating segments, we are introduced to Anna and Tamar, who have different yet very similarly negative experiences of growing up in Europe in the 1930s: both are outsiders and misfits in their own ways.

Anna Weissman is a half Jew in the brewing storm of 1930s Germany and eventually comes to England where she has relatives; however, not everything is easy for her here either. Tamar is an orphan who is also somewhat lost in the world. The young women meet at school in North East England where they form a friendship, despite their different outlooks and ambitions in life. Their personal circumstances soon force them onto their individual pathways.

The book does a great job at characterisation and showing life at the home front during the war. For my personal liking, the parallel stories might have been told in longer segments and initially I found it difficult to settle into the story. Additionally, the paperback copy I was supplied with could also have benefited from a more palatable formatting. However, these minor issues aside, the book tells a moving story with engaging characters, whose struggles with identity and belonging are skilfully portrayed.

Detailed, well researched and reflective in tone, the book has great depth while also appealing to younger readers for its coming of age aspects as both women come into their own during the course of the book. A rich and gripping read.