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Review – Suzanne Whitfield Vince’s The Many Lives Of June Crandall

June Crandall

june crandallThe debut novel from Suzanne Whitfield Vince is the story of Grace Adams. We follow her journey from being abandoned at birth, growing up in various orphanages and foster homes, and always feeling that there is something missing. Something more.

We first meet Grace in 2004. She has completed her debut novel (The Many Lives of June Crandall) and is about to do a book signing to promote her book. From here, through various flashbacks, the first half of Vince’s novel allows us to discover how the book came about via important events in Grace’s childhood and adolescence. As one would expect with her upbringing, Grace has not had an easy time. Three or four huge losses in her childhood are immediately followed by dreams – akin to past life regressions. In each of these dreams (from concentration camps to Japanese bordellos) Grace is a different person, the one constant throughout these visions however is the appearance of a figure, each time named June Crandall. June’s role in the visions changes each time: mother, friend, lover. But, always June is a figure of hope. Sensing that June is important outside of these visions Grace sets out to find out more about her birth and abandonment.

The second half of the novel proceeds forwards from 2004. We follow Grace’s investigation as she searches both for the family she has never had, and the mysterious June Crandall that resides in her dreams. It is here in the second half of Vince’s novel that we get to witness her ability to conceal and divert. At several points I did wonder what there was still left to tell, only for more pieces to fall into place, effectively meandering the story into a more accomplished piece.

Let there be no doubt, Vince’s writing is of a high quality. One of those pleasurable reads where nothing at all distracted me. No apparent typos, no grammatical errors. Nothing. I was allowed to be fully immersed in Grace Adam’s world and came out feeling all the better for it. If there is one downside (for me) to Vince’s debut it is perhaps the overly warm and fuzzy feeling I got as it came to conclusion. I’m not so sure that I’m comfortable with happy endings being quite so happy. That however may say more about me than the wonderful tale I have just read and enjoyed.

***** 4 1/2 STARS!!!



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