Monday, 31 August 2015

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

The Other Side of the World
By Stephanie Bishop
Published by Tinder Press (13 August 2015)
ISBN: 978-1472230614

Publisher's description
Cambridge 1963. Charlotte struggles to reconnect with the woman she was before children, and to find the time and energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, cannot face the thought of another English winter. A brochure slipped through the letterbox gives him the answer: 'Australia brings out the best in you'.

Charlotte is too worn out to resist, and before she knows it is travelling to the other side of the world. But on their arrival in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs, and how far she'll go to find her way home...

My verdict
The Other Side of the World is a story about finding your place in the world - what happens when you feel like you don't belong and what makes a place into a home.

This is a beautiful story, written with great tenderness. It takes you from England to Australia and India, showing the contrast between these locations in the 1960s. The vivid descriptions of each country tackle all of your senses - the sights, the aromas and the sounds all seeming very real.

Charlotte was an artist before she had children, but, exhausted and lonely, she is now struggling to cope with motherhood. Her academic husband Henry, who was born in India, doesn't feel comfortable in the cold damp English winters. So when an opportunity arises to move to Australia, he jumps at the chance. Although Charlotte is reluctant to give up her home, she gives in for an easy life, hoping that the move to Australia will lift her out of her current state of mind. But they both discover that the grass isn't always greener...

The Other Side of the World is a highly compelling story that makes you think. It's very sad and emotional. It moves along slowly but steadily, revealing each character's emotions and inner thoughts. Charlotte is on the edge of a breakdown, taking it out on her family, desperate to find something more in life. Henry is so self-absorbed at times, contemplating what it means to be British, that he doesn't see how much his marriage is in crisis. This isn't a book to race through - it's a book to be savoured and cherished.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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