About the Book
To the outside world, artist Justine Tree has it all… but she has a secret that threatens to destroy everything.
Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.
Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for twenty-seven years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds? Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?
Format: ebook (366 pages) Publisher: Beulah Press
Publication date: 10th May 2018 Genre: Contemporary fiction
Find Connectedness (Identity Detective Book 2) on Goodreads
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Connectedness is the second book in Sandra Danby’s series featuring freelance journalist and ‘identity detective’ Rose Haldane. Readers like me who haven’t read the first book, Ignoring Gravity, can be reassured that Connectedness works perfectly as a standalone. However, you may well find yourself wanting to go back and read the first book to find out more about how Rose’s own personal experience fuelled her interest in helping others to reunite with lost family members.
Connectedness moves between London in 2010 – when Justine, now an established artist, hires Rose to search for the daughter Justine gave away over twenty-five years earlier – and Spain in the 1980s. The impulse for Justine’s decision after all those years is the recent death of her mother and a feeling that now is the time to confront the mistakes of the past. She also feels increasingly aware of the contradiction between the emotional openness others see in her art and the secrets she keeps hidden away.
I particularly liked the parts of the book in which the young Justine travels to Málaga to study art, in the footsteps of Picasso. The reader experiences alongside Justine a different climate, food and lifestyle. It’s during this time that Justine falls in love for the first time but also makes a series of decisions that will change her life forever.
Back in the present day, it has to be said that Justine isn’t the easiest of clients and Rose is initially frustrated by Justine’s reticence and unwillingness to impart information. Gradually, Rose manages to break down the barriers Justine has erected around her earlier life. Eventually the pair find a common bond and Rose is able, with the assistance of some useful contacts, to make progress with her research. I won’t reveal the results but safe to say there are touching scenes towards the end of the book which also sees Rose pondering a new venture.
For Justine, her experiences inevitably provide the inspiration for making new art. “So she was exploring the idea of things that belonged together, which could be separated in space but never detached, because they were attached invisibly, forged together, welded, melded, stitched and linked. Flesh, stone, metal, biological matter, timber, people, family. Memories, knowledge, thoughts, experience, history.” In other words, connectedness; something I think we all cherish at this particular moment in time.
My thanks to the author for my copy of her book via NetGalley and for her patience in waiting for it to reach the top of my review pile.
In three words: Engaging, touching, emotional
Try something similar: The Vanished Child (Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery #4) by M. J. Lee
About the Author
Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane in her ‘Identity Detective’ series, Sandra is not adopted. She writes about family secrets, identity and adoption reunion mysteries.
A dairy farmer’s daughter from the East Yorkshire coast, Sandra turned her childhood love of stories into an English degree and became a journalist. Now she writes fiction full-time. Her short stories and flash fiction have been published online and in anthologies. Sandra is now writing Sweet Joy, the third in the ‘Identity Detective’ series, set in London during the Blitz. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association ‘New Writers Scheme’. (Photo credit: Goodreads author profile)