Reading a good book is something like eating your favourite meal: you want to savour every bite, wanting it to last longer. That’s exactly how I felt when I read Eva Rice’s The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp.
The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp
2013, Heron Books
In this novel, we get to meet Tara Jupp, a seventeen-year-old girl living in 1960s Britain. A minister’s daughter living in Cornwall, she lives with her father and her many siblings.
Tara is a teenager living a quiet life in Cornwall, riding horses, visiting her neighbours, and singing in the choir. But her talent in singing gets discovered, and in no time at all, she is taken to London–where music, fashion, and high society is within reach.
In London, Tara becomes Cherry Merrywell, and is starting to become well-known due to her talent. She gets to meet interesting people, and comes across someone she met in childhood.
Back home, Tara gets involved in a family drama that centres on her sister, and her sister’s best friend. Will she be able to help her sister untangle the drama? Will Tara know who she truly is?
While not exactly a sequel to The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, it mentioned some of the characters in it, and it was nice to get a glimpse of them again.
And speaking of the characters, I had a lot of fun getting to know them. I loved meeting Tara’s brothers and sisters, including Lucy, Imogen, Roy, and Lucy’s husband Raoul (although both Raoul and Lucy made me want to tear my hair out with frustration at one point). Matilda, Lucy’s best friend, was an interesting character too.
The London crew were also an interesting group of people I’d love to make friends with, if only they weren’t fictional. I’d love to be friends with Clover and explore her home, the smooth Digby would have been a superb photographer in real life.
These people have made the 583-page adventure real fun for me, and I am sorry that it ended. However, I felt that it ended the way it was supposed to be, for Tara, at least.
Reading The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp reminded me so much of Dodie Smith’s I Capture The Castle, but Tara’s story set in the 1960s. There are parallels: both stories are narrated by seventeen-year-old English girls, both are taken into an adventure at some point in London, they were both able to discover who they really are and what they really want during the course of their adventures. And both of their stories have open-ended, yet satisfying endings. You can either speculate that they had their happy ending, or that they took on a different life journey.
And there’s another parallel: Both stories are good, that I want to read them again while cosily lying in bed or sitting in a comfortable chair, eating delicious biscuits and drinking hot chocolate or milky tea.
Excuse me while I proceed to do just that. 😉