The Juniper Tree by Barbara Comyns
RATING: ★★★★★ (5/5!)
I love all of Barbara Comyns’ heroines and the worlds she wraps around them. The Juniper Tree proves an excellent modern-day tale of a woman’s complex meandering through friendship, motherhood, marriage, and grief. The story is embellished by the character’s passion for antiques, a passion which leads her into an at once idyllic and loomingly sinister, gothic world. I will always appreciate Comyns’ ability to deftly conjure emotion and struggle without sentimentality. With a smattering of symbolism and that trademark building sense of dread, Comyns creates a lush contemporary fairytale dreamscape.
Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to read the 2012 reprint by Capuchin which had an introduction by Margaret Drabble (a British woman author I’ve heard much about but not gotten to read as of yet!). I recommended this title to a friend after encouraging her to read some of Comyns’ work. This friend is a librarian so, of course, she did some research on which edition she wanted to order, and soon there was an email in my inbox telling me to order this new edition, along with a link to this interesting article in Slate about the apparent literary rivalry between Margaret Drabble and A.S. Byatt (another fave!) who are–little did I know–sisters! The twisting paths of research!