The title of this book, Shakespeare’s Clock, by Jan Moran Neil is very intriguing, drawing the reader in. Time certainly plays a very important role in this psychological thriller of intrigue and mystery, as the author skilfully switches the action between the present day and back into the sixties school room.
The action initially starts with the meet up of Jayne Thornhill and Shelley Witherington just before Christmas in 2005. We learn that they have been at the same school together but haven’t seen one another for years. The reader views everything that happens in the story through the different viewpoints and perspectives of Jayne and Shelley, as the story weaves itself through the different time zones.
The main events of the story take place in the late 1960’s. This makes interesting reading for those of us who can remember school back then, but perhaps may also be of interest to other readers from a historical perspective, with the events both being played out and explored in this particular time frame. Patricia seems to be allowed to get away with her bullying behaviour, as often happened in those days, and the sexist way in which the boys relate to the girls, and the behaviour of the teaching staff are typical examples of their era.
Although the story is told from the two perspectives of Jayne and Shelley, we get a very strong picture of the dominant character and bully, Patricia, and how her behaviour affects not only herself but the entire group of friends; Shelley, Jayne and Rachel as well as the boys, Danny, Benji and Paul. This impact will affect the group of friends not just at the time, but continue to impact their lives into the future, as a cloud of sadness unites them across the years.
Jan Moran Neil trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the National Youth Theatre. She spent many years in the professional theatre before founding Creative Ink for Writers and Actors. Her plays have been widely performed. Her short story, ‘Death by Pythagorus’ was broadcast on Radio 4 and her sonnet, ‘Silver Surfing’ published by the Royal Society of Literature. Jan has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge and is available for readings from her collections and novels. www.janmoranneil.co.uk