The Knighton Women’s Compendium wasn’t really on my radar until I realised it was by Denise Picton, whose debut novel The Family String was my favourite book of 2022. As a result I put in a belated request for a review copy and was then even more excited to discover the book featured my favourite kind of narrator – a child! I regretted the time I’d wasted having initially eschewed this (thinking – from the cover perhaps – it was another book about women in a retirement village!), though at the same time happy I could savour this delectable treat.
I LOVE books written from a child’s point-of-view. It can be hard for writers to nail the voice without it sounding contrived, but if it’s done well it offers an opportunity for a story to be delivered without much of the nuance we usually get from a narrator who – whether they mean to or not – adds a layer of subjectivity.
Some of my favourite books are those ‘told’ by children, such as Lost & Found by Brooke Davis, Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel, The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna, The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady, Room by Emma Donahue, as well as everything I’ve read by Favel Parrett. And (not-so-coincidentally) I notice the media release for this references the two books first on my list.
The events of The Family String by Denise Picton are relayed to us by not-always adorable though desperately likeable, 12 year old Dorcas.