Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Monkey Puzzle Tree


During the Second World War Gillian and her brother Tom, 6 and 4 years old, are sent to “the country”, to be billeted at an isolated rural property in south Wales in order to stay safely away from the bombing that was sure to hit coastal cities of Britain.

Safe is a relative term though. The children may have been safe from bombs, but there are other ways to put children at risk, especially when concerned parents are not in the picture. Unhappy events in a young childhood may have repercussions in adulthood.

Fifty years later Gillian is still haunted by those early days of separation from her mother. Now living in Canada and learning that her mother is on her deathbed, she travels back to the UK, hoping to find out more about that time from her mother before she is gone. She impulsively decides to visit the farm where her innocence was lost at such a young age and discovers that some things haven’t changed.

Alternating between past and present, we learn more about what happened to the various characters and how lives were changed during and after the war. 

The Monkey Puzzle Tree is Sonia Tilson's debut novel. I'll be looking forward to her next one.