Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall | Book Review

“When you’re young, you get to look at time through the reduction end of the telescope. The wrong end, the generous end that makes everything appear so far away, that gives the impression that there are light-years of space between you and those magically distant objects. And then, without warning, time turns it around on you, and suddenly you’re looking through the correct end, the end you were always supposed to be looking through, if you were paying attention. The end where everything is magnified and perilously close. The end that zooms in without mercy and forces you to see the detail you should have been focusing on all along.”

2017
When Angela discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession in a stack of forgotten letters, she begins to look for the intended recipient. Her search takes her to the 1970s and 80s, when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network known only by its whispered code name: Jane.

1971
As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was forced to give her baby up for adoption. Swearing she’ll do everything she can to make sure other women have the right to choose, she joins the Jane Network to provide safe but illegal abortions. There, she crosses paths with Nancy, who was told that if she ever found herself ‘in a position’, she should ask for Jane. Nancy soon becomes the Network’s newest volunteer, desperately trying to help others.

Over the years, Evelyn, Nancy, and Angela’s lives intertwine to reveal the devastating consequences that come from a lack of choice, and the buried secrets that will always find a way to the surface and threaten everything one knows to be true.

32. Looking for Jane

Heather Marshall’s phenomenal debut is inspired from historical events surrounding The Jane Collective and R v Morgentaler which ruled that abortion was unconstitutional as it violated women’s rights.

The book explores the events that lead to changes in law through a fictionalised tale of three women connected across several decades. However, this story is not about abortion or adoption but about a mother’s love and a women’s right to choose.

In tracking the long-lost letter, the story travels back and forth through time. Marshall builds a crackling mystery as the events of the three women’s lives intersect. The risks they take feels as if your heart is permanently lodged in your throat. The challenges they overcome is a powerful and inspiring depiction of their courage and bravery.

It is evident in the overlapping of facts with fiction that the author has put in an enormous amount of research behind this book. Her strong, well-defined characters and the emotionally charged plotline keeps you engaged from the first word to the last.

This is an invaluable piece of writing, extremely relative to the times we live in when decades of hard work for women’s rights is being erased before our eyes. A riveting story that merges history with the present, this is a book that needs to be read by women of every generation.

Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall. Published in August 2022 by Hodder Studio, an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton, a Hachette UK company. This ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton.

Book 32 of 2022.

Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.

Available on Amazon*.

About Photo: One of the mothers forced to give up her baby for adoption knits a pair of yellow booties for her child and hides a note in it. The booties carry a deep significance throughout the story, connecting the women who each hold them at some point in time.
These yellow booties are made in felt fabric with a blanket stitch finish.

32. Looking for Janeb

About the Author: Heather Marshall was born and raised in Canada. After completing two Master’s degrees, Heather worked for several years in politics and communications before finally turning her attention to her true passion: storytelling. Aside from writing, some of Heather’s favourite things include lavender, old houses covered in ivy (preferably with a good ghost story), cups of tea, bingeing episodes of Frasier, and roaming dusty bookshops with her husband. Looking for Jane is her debut novel
Heather Marshall lives with her family and their giant cuddlebug golden retriever near Toronto.
You can find her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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