On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming


This month’s book was On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming.

In 1929, Betty, the author’s mother then aged three, was kidnapped from a beach in Chapel St Leonard. Within a week or so Betty reappeared unharmed and throughout her childhood the secret surrounding her birth and subsequent adoption was kept by the village.

Laura Cummings, who has a background in art history, discusses the work of famous painters as a means to unravel her mother’s experiences. Most of us found this acutely irritating. Betty had a fascinating story to tell and for us, being taken up endless artistic cul-de-sacs detracted from, rather than enhanced Betty’s bitter narrative. On a more positive side, Cummings gave a brilliant description of Chapel St Leonard and Lincolnshire in general which delighted those in the group who were familiar with the area. We were all pleased that we had read the book but could only award it 7/10.