14 Aug 2020


Book Review / The Separation by Dinah Jefferies

What happens when a mother and her daughters are separated, and who do they become when they believe it might be forever?

Malaya 1955. It’s the eve of the Cartwright family’s departure from Malaya. Eleven-year-old Emma can’t understand why they’re leaving without their mother, or why her taciturn father is refusing to answer her questions.

Returning from a visit to a friend sick with polio, Emma’s mother, Lydia, arrives home to an empty house ─ there’s no sign of her husband Alec, her daughters, or even the servants. The telephone line is dead. Acting on information from Alec’s boss, Lydia embarks on a dangerous journey across civil-war-torn Malaya to find her family.

The Separation is a heart-wrenching page-turner, set in 1950s Malaya and post-war England.

Published:     19th June 2014
Publisher:  Penguin
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


It has been a little while since I last picked up a book by this author but I had forgotten just how beautiful her writing is.  This story is split into two perspectives - the first being from the view of the mother, Lydia, who returns home to discover that both her husband and two children have moved away.  She understands that her husband had got an urgent job in another location and moved quickly with her to follow them when she can so we follow her as she travels the very hard and troubling path.  The second part of this story is that we follow Lydia's daughters as they travel with their father to their new home.

This truly was a heartbreaking story where you have a mother who is separated from her children and not sure how long it will take or whether it is possible for her to see them again.  Along the way, Lydia also meets several other characters including a boy who she is asked if he can accompany her on her journey to safety.  She agrees but there is more to this boy's history than she realises.  

This was such a beautiful story in a mainly sad kind of way and I would highly recommend.