Another Bridget Jones–esque romp—and a good one—from Londoner Jewell (Thirtynothing, 2001, etc.), who this time describes a young woman’s quest to unravel the mystery of her older sister’s death.
Ana Wills is not exactly a heroine from a Brontë tale, but she is a fresh girl from the country who hasn’t seen much of life in her 25 years. Summoned to London to attend to the details of her half-sister Bee Bearhorn’s funeral, Ana finds herself thrown into a very strange new world. She has never been to London before, and she’s not exactly arriving under the happiest of circumstances. Bee was 11 years older than Ana, and the two hadn’t spoken in years. Their mother Gay is an agoraphobic who hasn’t left her house in ages and has never forgiven her first husband, Gregor, for leaving her—for another man. Bee, for her part, never forgave her mother for turning her back on Gregor once he contracted AIDS (and physically tossed Gay out of the crematorium when she showed up for Gregor’s funeral). Glamorous and self-assured, Bee threw herself into the London club scene and was something of a sensation during the 1980s, when she released several successful rock albums. All Ana knows is that Bee died of an overdose—intentionally or not is unclear—and that she wants to find out what happened at the end. With the help of Bee’s London pals Flint and Lol, she begins to piece together the fragments lost to her long before Bee’s death. She finds a lot of surprises (not least being a sizable estate, a disputed will, and a handicapped genius who may or may not be Bee’s son) and, true to form, discovers a lot about herself in the process. She even, in a way she wouldn’t have imagined possible before coming to London, discovers who her sister was.
Funny, sharp, and poignant: a winning narrative full of bright and amusing characters.