Towards the Vanishing Point

Fiction - Literary
268 Pages
Reviewed on 01/07/2020
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Author Biography

I'm also the author of the future-world, fast paced Nordic thriller trilogy – The Eldísvík Novels : 'Until The Ice Cracks', ' No God for a Warrior' and 'Within Each Other’s Shadow'.
By contrast, my fourth published novel - ‘Too Many Heroes’ - is set in London in 1952.
I live in England and have an MA in creative writing. Researching an assignment for my MA in the National Archives (London), I studied the transcript of several criminal trials and what I read inspired me to write this book.
Before becoming an author, I taught English Literature in inner city London schools. For a time I worked in a specialist unit for teenagers excluded from mainstream school.
Aside from my passion for writing, I’m a visual artist and maintain a studio in the Cotswold town of Painswick.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

Set during the tumultuous times of World War II, Towards the Vanishing Point by Jan Turk Petrie is a novel about a longstanding friendship that survives through years of heartache and devastation. Just before the beginning of World War II, Lily Hetherington and Stella Marsden, both ten years old, become friends. Their friendship remains firm even after the war, which leaves a trail of loss and devastation in its wake. Both girls suffer grief and untold heartbreak by the end of the war but, despite all they go through, their friendship continues. As they work as nurse orderlies after the war, Lily meets Will Bagshaw, a senior nurse at the hospital. Despite warnings from Stella, Lily marries Will. The beautiful relationship that Lily envisioned turns into a nightmare and it is up to Stella to rescue her friend.

Towards the Vanishing Point brings attention to an important topic. Lily suffers emotional and physical abuse from her husband. In many ways, she feels trapped until Stella makes an effort to intervene and save her friend. The events of the war in the background of the plot highlight the painful moments experienced by Stella and Lily in their personal lives. The language and happenings in the story reflect effectively what it would have been like to live during and post-World War II UK. Stella and Lily’s friendship is also inspiring as it defies all odds. Both find solace in their friendship even in the hardest of times. Towards the Vanishing Point by Jan Turk Petrie is a moving novel that focuses on domestic abuse.

Jessica Barbosa

Towards the Vanishing Point by Jan Turk Petrie is set in the 1930s to the 1960s. It revolves around the lives of two best friends, Lily Hetherington and Stella Marsden. The two girls became unlikely friends when they were ten years old. Though they live only a few streets apart, there’s a world of difference between their families. Still, their differences did not stop them from becoming lifelong friends, even as their lives take them through many twists and turns. Fast forward to the end of the war, Stella and Lily were now working as nursing auxiliaries. After the sad ending of her first love, Lily had plenty of admirers, but none of them caught her attention like a male nurse, Will Bagshaw, did. Will also caught Stella’s attention, but not in a good way. She had heard the rumors about the widower with a son and she instinctively knew that he was the worst choice Lily could make. Stella only hoped that she could convince Lily of that before it was too late.

Jan Turk Petrie has created a striking and distinctive plot in Towards the Vanishing Point. Stella and Lily, the two protagonists, come from two very different families and this shows clearly in each of their individual personalities. Each girl went through different ordeals as they grew up. These ordeals were what shaped them into who they were by the end of the book. Petrie built up her characters' personalities and experiences with impressive skill. All her characters were well developed and unique in personality; this helped shaped the plot into something impressive and it built up my interest with every turn of the page. Instead of clashing, Lily and Stella complemented each other perfectly. The interactions between them weren’t always smooth sailing but that made their friendship even more believable. I admired the relationship between these two and saw it as the strongest bond in the book. However, Nobby Marsden is my top pick for a favorite character in this book. He is kind, determined, and willing to step aside when he thought Lily had found her happiness with another man. Nobby is truly one of a kind. Another thing I liked was that Jan Petrie was consistent in her use of the 1930s to the 1960s dialect, using it both in narration and character conversations. This made it easier to immerse myself into the timeline and made the story even more compelling. Overall, I found this book to be a remarkable piece of work.