Review of The Separation – Dinah Jefferies

Posted: August 26, 2014 in general fiction, Review

The Separation

A diplomat’s wife in 1955 Malaya, Lydia returns home after a month of nursing a sick friend to find her husband and daughters missing. Told her husband had been posted up-country she sets out to join him, making an arduous trek through a jungle teeming with rebels. Faced with devastating news she seeks refuge with Jack Harding, the man she’d given up for the sake of her family.

Emma returned to England with her father and little sister, her mother taking care of business in Malay before joining them. After learning her mother has died she is enrolled in a strict girl’s boarding school, while dealing with the news her father is to marry again to Veronica. Finding a letter in her school file that a mystery benefactor is paying her fees, Emma vows   to find out who it is and tracks them down with Veronica’s help, exposing the dreadful truth about her mother’s disappearance.

Told from the two different perspectives of Lydia and Emma, this is a gripping tale of love, betrayal, survival, and hope. It also teaches you a lot about post-war Colonial attitudes and the struggle by Malay to become the independent country of Malaysia. I was shocked at the callousness of the father and became invested in Lydia’s journey, hoping it would end well. This was an absorbing book that drew me in and I couldn’t put it down.


Supplied by Penguin Group (NZ)

Reviewed by Jan

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