Red Joan

Jennie Rooney

Red Joan

Joan's voice is almost a whisper. 'Nobody talked about what they did during the war. We all knew we weren't allowed to.' Joan Stanley has a secret. She is a loving mother, a doting grandmother, and leads a quiet, unremarkable life in the suburbs. Then one morning there is a knock on the door, and suddenly the past she has been so keen to hide for the last fifty years threatens to overturn her comfortable world. Cambridge University in 1937 is awash with ideas and idealists, yet unworldly Joan feels better suited to a science lecture and a cup of cocoa. But a chance meeting with the glamorous Russian-born Sonya and her charismatic cousin Leo blurs the edges of the things Joan thought she knew about the world, and about herself. In the post-War world of smoke and mirrors, allegiance is a slippery thing. Working in a government ministry with access to top-secret information, Joan is suddenly faced with the most difficult question of all: what price would you pay to remain true to what you believe? Would you betray your country, your family, even the man you love? 4.0 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
Red Joan

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 400
RRP
Date of Publication March 2013
ISBN 978-0701187576
Publisher Chatto & Windus
 

Joan's voice is almost a whisper. 'Nobody talked about what they did during the war. We all knew we weren't allowed to.' Joan Stanley has a secret. She is a loving mother, a doting grandmother, and leads a quiet, unremarkable life in the suburbs. Then one morning there is a knock on the door, and suddenly the past she has been so keen to hide for the last fifty years threatens to overturn her comfortable world. Cambridge University in 1937 is awash with ideas and idealists, yet unworldly Joan feels better suited to a science lecture and a cup of cocoa. But a chance meeting with the glamorous Russian-born Sonya and her charismatic cousin Leo blurs the edges of the things Joan thought she knew about the world, and about herself. In the post-War world of smoke and mirrors, allegiance is a slippery thing. Working in a government ministry with access to top-secret information, Joan is suddenly faced with the most difficult question of all: what price would you pay to remain true to what you believe? Would you betray your country, your family, even the man you love?

Inside the Whale by Jennie Rooney.

The Opposite of Falling by Jennie Rooney.

Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

Lucy Beresford

Eventually, there are a couple of plot twists which stretch credulity, and which alert readers will have spotted before Joan or her son or perhaps even MI5. But in fictional terms, this only adds to the pleasure. For as Sonya says, “you can make anyone think anything you want them to, so long as you also make them think they have figured it out for themselves”. Rooney is a novelist at home with life’s ambiguities, her plotting pleasingly intricate, her narrative richly textured.

28/03/2013

Read Full Review


The Times

Kate Saunders

Rooney’s re-creation of the politics of the day is brilliant.

30/03/2013

Read Full Review


The Sunday Times

Elizabeth Buchanan

Particularly acute on the muddle of emotion, reason and morality that festers around betrayal, this compelling, impressively detailed story, with thrillerish overtones, asks the question: if Joan had been male could she have done what she did?

31/03/2013

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore