Sophia's Version Hardcover – 28 May 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
This contemporary novel, set during the memorial service for her dead mother, is the springboard for Sophia to look back and examine her relationship with her family. Tensions are running high between Sophia and her siblings during the memorial service - and when they are introduced to their mother's lover, Sophia has to come to terms with the fact that her mother led a 'secret' life.
This revalation leads to a very satisfying middle section of the book when Sophia takes us back to the place she, her mother and younger sister were evacuated to during the war. Here we meet the characters and see the places that are to influence Sophia as she grows up.
The final section of this novel brings the reader back to the memorial service and to more devasting news that Sophia and her sisters must come to terms with.
All in all this is good read - a story that looks at family relationships and concludes 'how well do we really know the members of our family?' A question I am sure we all ask at some point in our lives.
This is an intriguing, even touching novel; a fictionalised biography about the passage of a young girl, Sophia, through life to maturity. It begins in wartime Britain, in London where she was born, and takes us through her exile as an evacuee to a bleak part of the north of England where she reluctantly spends the rest of her childhood, cut off from a favourite aunt, Rosa, who is almost a mother figure. It is a story of family loyalties and divisions, told mainly in flashback, and begins when four sisters and a brother meet, in their maturity, on their way to their mother's funeral.
There is a mystery about why the mother wishes to be cremated in a place with which she had no known connection, and part of that mystery is what there was in their mother's life that they knew nothing about. In the process, the siblings also discover things they didn't know about one another. One of the reasons is the difference in ages and lifestyles. Sophia, the elder sister and the main character in the story, has lived abroad and her sisters largely dispute what she remembers about them and above all about their mother, Miriam, with whom she had an uneasy relationship, unlike the adored Aunt Rosa who she preferred to her real mother. The part played by the father is also a matter of some dispute and, all in all, a picture of a rather unhappy and dysfunctional family is heart-wrenchingly revealed.
Partly set in the past, and part in the present, this nevertheless covers a sweeping canvas of real life shown in a vivid and often entertaining way.