The author traces the journey of the teapot and the several generations of the Jewish family that used it and transported it from Safed to Gibraltar, through London to Lisbon. Some moves were practically and economically motivated, others necessitated by disaster and emergency. The jigsaw puzzle's final piece of why the teapot survived at all is terribly sad, all the more so for having the ring of truth about it. The book is peopled with recognisable, familiar characters - always believable in their sometimes petty and less than admirable behaviour.
Food is the thread here throughout the narrative. Every chapter opens with a recipe or a household hint from the period of the chapter, recovered from the notebooks of the characters. They are charming and idiosyncratic. Knowing that an envelope sealed with egg white can never be steamed open will not change my life, and neither am I likely to underake the production of yemma, with its twelve egg yolks, but I loved reading about it. These snippets add in every sense a taxture and flavour to this family saga that is always richly absorbing and moving.
From Jewish Life, Summer 2007.
The novel is inspired by a true story: Judy Jackson's own exotic family history, carefully logged in their account ledgers, notebooks and handwritten recipe books. The peripatetic Levys - sardine and olive oil merchants - take the reader from Morocco to Safed to Gibraltar, London to Lisbon and back again.
The Camel Trail is a cross between Jane Austen and Mrs Beeton, with a touch of Agatha Christie thrown in. Judy Jackson sustains interest throughout: the reader is keen to find out what happens next. She gives interesting snapshots of English 19th century social history and is best when describing the minutiae of what the characters wore, how they entertained, and, above all, what they ate.
From The Sephardi Bulletin, August 2007.