What happens when a mother and her daughters are separated; who do they become when they believe it might be forever?
1953, the eve of the Cartwright's departure from Malaya. Eleven-year-old Emma can't understand why they're leaving without their mother; why her taciturn father is refusing to answer questions.
Lydia arrives home to an empty house - there's no sign of her husband Alec or her daughters. Panic stricken, she embarks on a dangerous journey to find them through the hot and civil-war-torn Malayan jungle - one that only the power of a mother's love can help her to survive.
I have just finished reading The Separation by Dinah Jefferies which is an unbelievably stunning debut that took me on a journey I was not expecting. The storyline is set back in 1955 in Malaya around a family who have been separated. Mum Lydia Cartwright returns home to find their house empty, her husband and two daughters Emma and Fleur gone without a trace. She embarks on a heart breaking journey to try and find her family as she is given information that they have made their way to the north but her journey is a very traumatic and dangerous one but nothing can come between a mum and her love for her children.
This is a breath taking read and quite hard to believe that this is a debut because it was flawless. Such a captivating read that made it impossible to put down as there was always something gripping going on as the storyline was consistently fast paced and eventful all the way through.
The storyline alternates between Lydia and Emma, I think I warmed more to Emma because her part was told by first person narrative so we feel first hand her heart rending thoughts and feelings about being wrenched away from her mother. The part of Lydia was told in third person narrative so although we don’t hear first hand how she feels, it still was easy to see how desperate she was to find her children after such a cruel act of betrayal from her husband, we long for her to find the right path back to her daughters.
Although we know where the family are it doesn’t make this a predictable read because I still couldn’t see how or if Lydia would find them and also there were so many little twists and turns which I never could have predicted coming, I was so tense at times during this book!
The book shows the author’s passion and knowledge for the Emergency in Malaya which I confess I had no knowledge about so it was a real learning curve too that had me intrigued. This was an amazing read that I thoroughly enjoyed and will be recommending this one for a long time yet. I am so excited now to read the authors next release The Tea Planter’s Wife.