The Redemption of Isobel Farrar by Alan Robert Clark – Review
By Sandra Callard
Set in 1926, this tight-paced and always interesting novel focuses on Isobel Farrar, a rich, elderly but still beautiful woman, who has returned to her English home for a very specific reason – to find her son, who she was forced to give up during a hateful and cruel relationship with her former husband. When she finds that her son has also been searching for her, this strange occurrence brings them together.
But there is much more to the tale than that, and it leads Isobel and her son, Frank, on a huge and lengthy journey as they try to build a home together. The story unfolds to become nothing like you would think at the beginning, and it becomes more baffling as time goes by.
The novel is filled with interesting and unusual characters, who all seem to have a part to play in the unravelling of this mystery, and what seemed originally to be a simple affair now has a twist in every tale – and this stretches the relationship of mother and son to breaking point.
This rich array of characters all contribute with clues and knowledge that gradually move the mystery closer to its solution. Look out for Arthur, a real gem of characterisation, as the skill of the author is apparent on every page as the fascinating truth comes nearer.
The lower classes in this story are the ones that hold it together, and because they can wander around the parts of London and wider areas without the restraints that would apply to a rich and elderly woman, they are in fact the necessary glue that eventually fixes the whole of the mystery together.
Although I did love the story, some sections are indulgently long and can frustrate the sort of reader who wants their mysteries to move on apace. However, they are beautifully composed and I did read every one, despite urges to skip the odd paragraph.
The author, Alan Robert Clark, was unknown to me, but I will keep my eyes open for more from him, as I throughly enjoyed The Redemption of Isobel Farrar and admired the clever and original way he put it all together.
‘The Redemption of Isobel Farrar’ by Alan Robert Clark is published by Fairlight Books, £8.99 paperback