Berry applied the Page 69 Test to The Notorious Pagan Jones and reported the following:
From page 69:Visit Nina Berry's website.The envelope was unsealed and yellowing at the corners. Pagan lifted the flap and carefully pulled out a stack of folded stationery on heavy white paper. Letters. She unfolded the first one with the care of an archaeologist unrolling an ancient papyrus.It’s 1961, the height of the Cold War, and to Pagan Jones the events of World War II are like some distant nightmare. But as the story moves along, that terrible conflict casts a warped shadow over everything she thought she knew about her family.
Handwriting in black ink slanted across the paper in a jagged scrawl. She didn’t recognize it. Her breathing quickened as she read the first two words. Liebe Eva.
Her mother’s name, Eva, with a casual German greeting in front of it. Pagan understood enough German to know that Liebe was, at the very least, friendly. It didn’t have to be more than that.
But it could be.
The events on page 69 of that book may seem small, but they are vital to the backstory of Pagan’s mother’s mysterious past, and to what motivates Pagan throughout the rest of the book. Eva Jones committed suicide when Pagan was only 12, sending her sensitive daughter into a dark spiral of alcoholism. But why did Eva kill herself? She left no note, and had seemed completely happy up the morning of her death.
Pagan knows she shouldn’t blame herself for her mother’s death, but the guilt weighs on her just the same. Maybe if she finds out what triggered the suicide, that is one burden, at least, she can set aside. So Pagan is driven to find the truth, and what she finds in her father’s safe on page 69 is the first big clue that will send her on a quest that will traverse at least three books and as many continents.
Writers Read: Nina Berry.
My Book, The Movie: The Notorious Pagan Jones.