Jubilee's cover shows an idyllic, watercolour image of a young girl running in a field. Her back is to the viewer, evoking Jessamy, 10 year-old daughter of Evie Winter who vanished during a village celebration of the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977.
In 2003, Evie dies and her niece, Rachel, is left to sort through her belongings at the farmhouse, Winter's Copse, where she finds a series of letters that Jessamy's uncle, Robert Winter, wrote to Evie from a Japanese prison camp during World War II.
Jubilee consists of several, loosely connected narratives. Rachel's story is told directly, as she tries to make sense of her cousin's disappearance, and to come to terms with her own childlessness.
Evie's history is retold in the third person, while Robert speaks through his letters. The long reign of Elizabeth II gives structure to the linked plotlines, spanning sixty years.
Jubilee is an engaging, well-crafted novel. The story and characters, while moving and dramatic, are rendered quite subtly, never overreaching itself. It makes for a pleasant, thoughtful read, and with its intriguing narrative and strong female characters, would probably adapt well as a radio or magazine serial.
As a reader, I sometimes felt that the emotional impact could have been conveyed more forcefully, but nonetheless, in Eliza Graham's capable hands, Jubilee has a quiet authority which Queen Elizabeth might well approve of.