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The White Hare    by Jane Johnson order for
White Hare
by Jane Johnson
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though a body is revealed to readers at the onset of The White Hare, and violence continues through the pages, that's not what this historical novel is all about. Rather, as we learn in the Author's Note at the end, it focuses on 'all those things in life we sense but cannot know.'

It opens in 1954 Cornwall, where Mila has purchased a neglected house with an uncanny reputation in the White Valley. Mila, her five-year-old daughter Jane, and Mila's difficult mother Magdalena are moving there to escape the scandal of Mila's involvement with Jane's married father. Overbearing Magda's vision of their future is of a restored guest house, hosting the wealthy. Mila wants a safe refuge for herself and precocious Janey, who has a very special relationship with her plush toy, Rabbit.

On their arrival, an enormous white hare greets them. They soon meet WW II veteran Jack Lord. He helps unload their furniture and fixes their car. Mila meets sinister local vicar Casworan Martin and befriends green fingered Keziah and her artistic partner Ariadne. They tell her of the Lady, whose realm is the White Valley. Martin calls Mila a lost soul but she starts to feel blessed by her surroundings - until Janey is badly injured.

As the story progresses, Mila and Janey grow ever closer to Jack, whose own secrets are eventually revealed - to him as well as the others. The White Hare is an absorbing, magical read, highly recommended!

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