William Boyd is a master….

…of mixing facts with fiction. It’s almost impossible to think that Amory Clay is a fictional character. She comes to life in Sweet Caress – photos and all. The images are no real surprise, given she spent her life as a photographer, first capturing events in Berlin in the 1920s. London was not ready for these images from the Berlin demi-monde, and Amory’s first exhibition causes a real stir, unfortunately not leading to professional success and wealth. Yet she meets one of the most important men in her life and moves to New York to get away from it all. The readers follow her on this fascinating and often dangerous journey, a journey that claims war victims and destroys relationships, but also brings new hope and encounters. When New York is no longer a happy place for Amory, she moves back to London, documents a march of the Blackshirts and is seriously injured. But it wouldn’t be a William Boyd novel if the main character wasn’t incredibly resilient and ready for new adventures after her recovery. Germany at the end of WW II, then bliss in Paris and Scotland and – the war in Vietnam, where she finally gains real recognition as a photographer.
Perhaps I liked the Barrandale Journal best, little interludes throughout the book, where Amory Clay takes time out for quiet reflection in a rather isolated spot, walking her dog, the Labrador Flam. If you haven’t got all your books for the summer holidays yet, this is one to get!

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