Gallery of Vanished HusbandsWhen Juliet Montague’s husband disappears, so does she. As far as the conservative Jewish community in which she lives is concerned, she is invisible. She does her best to conform to their rules, but then on her thirtieth birthday she does something unexpected. Instead of buying the fridge that she has been saving for she pays for her portrait to be painted.

It is the first in a series of portraits that punctuate Juliet’s adult life as she joins London’s lively post-war art scene and proves to be an astute spotter of talent. Yet she remains an outsider in both her worlds: a mother of two, drawn to a reclusive artist who never leaves Dorset, and unable to feel free until she has found her husband – a quest that leads her to California and a surprising discovery.

Set partly in Penge and Chislehurst as well as the West Country this beautifully written novel also brings you into the world of Jewish traditions and expectations and to which Juliet does her best to conform to. However she finds them restrictive and ignores them rather than fighting against them much to the frustration of her parents.

I thoroughly enjoyed this charming, warm and engaging novel, the characters are well formed and you do feel as if you become a friend to Juliet on her journey. If you are looking for a great summer read that’s well written and entertaining this is the book for you.


Sheila O’Reilly