Kate MacDonald writes:
Alice Jolly is a friend of mine. We met when we were both living in Brussels, and we both became Members of the Society of Friends at Brussels Meeting. We were both mothers of young children, working in and around books: I was an editor, she was a novelist. She moved to Stroud about ten years ago, and has won prizes for her writing. Her most recent novel, Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile has been shortlisted for three prizes this year already: the Walter Scott Prize, the Rathbone Folio Prize and the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize.
Her third novel, Between the Regions of Kindness, came out in 2018, and I’m halfway through it. It’s of interest to Quakers because of its strong theme of being kind to others, and the tensions among those who are faced with war and try to work for peace, with the action moving from the Second World War and the 2003 war in Iraq, where one of the characters goes as an unarmed peace worker. The Coventry sections struck me with memory, because I recall that Alice and I had had conversations about the Coventry Blitz, so she must have been working on those sections of the book then. The video interview on her publisher’s website was filmed in a Gloucestershire Quaker Meeting House, and is a very atmospheric setting for the mood of the novel.
And the novel is EXCELLENT. I do recommend it, and will be buying Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile next.