“Country girl Tara is whisked off to ’60s London to become a star; there she is dressed, she is shown off at Chelsea parties, photographed by the best. She meets songwriters, singers, designers, and records her song. And she falls in love – with two men. Behind the buzz and excitement of her success, the bitterness between her elder sister Lucy and her friend Matilda haunts Tara. Their past friendship is broken and among the secrets and the strangeness of both their marriages, the past keeps on reappearing.”
I absolutely loved The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, so I was thrilled to receive a review copy of this book – and even more thrilled when I started reading and discovered that a lot of the characters were referenced in the book, and a few were even a part of the cast (including Inigo Wallace, one of the part-time protagonists). The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp continues in a delightfully similar vein, following the story of Tara. One of eight children, with only her strict vicar father to look up to – their mother having died shortly after giving birth to the last of the Jupp brood – Tara is constantly in the shadow of her beautiful big sister Lucy. One of her passions, horses, leads to the development of her second main passion, singing – a journey that starts when she gets a job tending horses in a stable at a stately house near their home in Cornwall. The owner of the house – Lady W-D – introduces her ungainly daughter Matilda to Tara and Lucy, in a meeting that changes their lives forever. A close friendship blossoms between Matilda and Lucy, but when a handsome Spanish man – Raoul – comes between them, they part ways acrimoniously.
The Jupps are certain that they will never see Matilda again, but she explodes back into their lives when she becomes a fashion model, meets a famous record-making man and returns to Cornwall to marry him. Tara’s future is cemented when she sings at their wedding and Matilda’s new husband transforms her into singing sensation ‘Cherry Merrywell’ and whisks her off to London to become a pop star. But life there is vastly different from Cornwall, and 17-year-old naive Tara has much to learn about real life – and just exactly what being London’s hottest new pop star entails…
The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp is another glorious literary romp from Eva Rice, even better than The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets (its length means that the vast, colourful array of characters are developed in greater depth, and the storyline is built up and played out in much more satisfying length and detail). Eva’s quirky and ingenious writing is peppered with witty, original tidbits (like Lucy’s Photographic Memory for Houses – Trademark). A book that is by turns hilarious, flippant, melancholic and bittersweet, The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp is an absolutely delightful read that well exceeded my expectations.
Many thanks to Quercus for the review copy.