The Separation by Dinah Jefferies – 4*s


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.

My review – first posted on Goodreads in June 2014 ( clearly before I got a bit wordier!)

The Separation opens in Malaya in 1955 during the Emergency. While Lydia is away visiting her sick friend, her husband packs up the house and takes their two daughters with him to England. When Lydia returns she is at a complete loss as to what has happened to her family, meanwhile her children have no idea why they have not waited for their mother.

The story that unfolds is one of betrayal, deceit and heartbreak with the hope ultimately love will prevail. I’ve no intention of spoiling this read by giving away anymore of the plot. But I will say I was instantly hooked and intrigued to follow both Lydia and her daughter Emma in their search for the truth. The Malaysian setting was particularly well drawn with the background of the Emergency lending an air of pervading threat. It also presented an insight into the often less than savoury world of the colonial British.

This is an excellent debut novel from Dinah Jefferies and based on this serving I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for her future offerings.

I received an e copy of this book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

To buy via Amazon UK or


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