Joinson, Suzanne. “The Photographer’s Wife”, Bloomsbury, 2016.
Photos from Long Ago and Far Away
Eleven-year-old Prudence Ashton watches her father begin his plans to redesign Jerusalem by bringing in parks from England. It is 1920 and her father has hired William Harrington, a British pilot, to take aerial photographs of the city and she notices that something is going on between him and Eleanora, the young English wife of a famous Jerusalem photographer. At his time in history there was quite an interesting mix of people living in Jerusalem including British colonials, exiled Armenians, and Greek, Arab, and Jewish officials and they all were getting along even though they is a sense that trouble is on its way to the area. Harrington learns that Eleanora’s husband is part of an underground group intent on removing the British and quite a dangerous game begins.
Some seventeen years later Prudence has become an artist and lives near the sea. She suddenly has a surprise visit from Harrington and what he has to say, shakes her completely. Prud knows that she must try to find out what is going on and this means you must explore secrets that are still in Jerusalem.
This a novel about betrayal— betrayal between father and daughter, between husband and wife and between state and citizen during the period between World War I and World War II. The complexity of relationships reflect the social and political situations in Jerusalem. In the 1920s Jerusalem was a city of characters from all over the world trying to influence the city’s future and satisfy their own political desires. Writer Sandra Johnson wonderfully describes the resentment against the British who are there.
In 1937,we once again Prudence who is a single mother living a quiet life in Shoreham by the Sea, Sussex. She and her son have run away from pressures of the London art world and Prue is recovering from the end of her marriage. Lieutenant Harrington comes back into her life and this causes her to look back at her early life in Jerusalem. This is a book that keeps you guessing and makes you think.