Happy Holidays from Jennifer, Jean, Alice,
Elizabeth, Tara, Laura, and Ariana
Told in multiple voices, Joss' novel is a stunner. It's crime fiction the way Kate Atkinson is crime fiction — a novel cleverly plotted around a single event that reaches out across the story in mysterious and menacing ways. Set in an isolated farm in the English moors, Picnics in the Sun examines the lives of Howard and Deborah after Howard has had a debilitating stroke. Their marriage is in decay; their lives, like their farmhouse, are crumbling. The plot becomes increasingly suspenseful as a festering event in their past infects their present and a stranger inserts himself cruelly into their lives.
Our Picnics in the Sun is [Joss's] gutsiest book yet as there seemingly isn’t a likable character in it...Yet it turns out to be every bit as much of a pageturner, and a search for grace, as Quiet Dell. Much of that is due to Joss’s artful writing — the psychological depth of her characters, the description of the English countryside and the trust that one has in her, given the richness of her previous books...I’ve been re-reading parts of the book and I’m agape at what Joss pulls off here. These are two books [Our Picnics in the Sun and Quiet Dell] that not only transcend their genres, they’re just plain transcendent.