A beautifully rich and gorgeous story with an intriguing serving of mystery, set in 1930’s Burma.
It’s no secret that I am a fan of Dinah Jefferies and this is as beautifully and vividly readable as one would expect. Slip back into history and join Belle Hatton who travels to Burma in 1936 to become a nightclub singer, accompanying her is a newspaper clipping suggesting her parents left Ragoon 25 years previously in mysterious circumstances. Two time frames sit side by side, in 1921 we meet Belle’s mother, lost and traumatised, while in 1936 Belle finds her life increasingly in danger. I adore the descriptive detailing, you can almost close your eyes and take in a deep breath of a bygone era. The colour of the place and people just pops with intensity. Belle begins a relationship with a man, yet it doesn’t take centre stage, it is important but certainly not the be all and end all of this particular story. There is one unforgettable moment, using an event from history that is shockingly dramatic and provocative, I saw with Belle’s eyes, felt the pain and fear. I feel as though I could pick up a Dinah Jefferies book without knowing the author and would instinctively know it was hers, each book is completely individual yet the style of the author remains. The Missing Sister is richly and expressively eye-catching, it swept me up into the pages, releasing me only at the very satisfying ending.
A stolen sister. A daughter determined to uncover the truth. Belle Hatton has embarked upon an exciting new life far from home: a glamorous job as a nightclub singer in 1930s Burma, with a host of sophisticated new friends and admirers. But Belle is haunted by a mystery from the past - a 25 year old newspaper clipping found in her parents' belongings after their death, saying that the Hattons were leaving Rangoon after the disappearance of their baby daughter, Elvira. Belle is desperate to find out what happened to the sister she never knew she had - but when she starts asking questions, she is confronted with unsettling rumours, malicious gossip, and outright threats. Oliver, an attractive, easy-going American journalist, promises to help her, but an anonymous note tells her not to trust those closest to her. . . Belle survives riots, intruders, and bomb attacks - but nothing will stop her in her mission to uncover the truth. Can she trust her growing feelings for Oliver? Is her sister really dead? And could there be a chance Belle might find her?
|Publication date:||21st March 2019|
|Publisher:||Penguin Books Ltd|
|Primary Genre||Historical fiction|
Closing date: 05/06/2022
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
Enjoyable, if a little predictable. A book to escape into while nursing a cup of tea and a piece of cake.
Although I found the story quite predictable it was still an enjoyable read, and the descriptions of Burma , the people, and places were very evocative. Belle is searching for that missing piece, the truth that will help reconcile her feeling of being incomplete, and once and for all help her understand how and why her mother left her, how she never recovered from losing a child, and how not knowing the truth ripped her family apart. It’s not an easy journey, you are swept along as a host of characters step in to help her, or throw her off the path, at first not knowing who she can trust. She is naive, despite her independence, and at times I wanted to shake her for not seeing what was right in front if her. Ultimately I felt her character changed as the story unfolded, and her independence left her as she became reliant on men to help her, which was a shame. If you are looking for a book to while away a few hours in this is perfect, enjoyable, if a little too obvious at times, still a good read.
Belle gets a job as a hotel singer in 1930s Rangoon and delves into the disappearance of the sister she never knew. An intriguing story which paints a vivid picture of the hustle and bustle of Rangoon.
“The Rangoon Post 10 January 1911: Stolen from the Garden – the Case of the Vanishing Baby”; this old newspaper clipping, discovered by Belle after the death of her father, was the first time she even knew that she had a sister & helped to explain why her parents had left Rangoon before she was born. Now Belle has got a job as a hotel singer in 1930s Rangoon and she can’t resist delving into the mystery. She is befriended by several of her new acquaintances but soon realises she doesn’t know who she can trust and what the motives are of those who are supposedly helping her.
Dinah Jefferies’ paints a vivid picture which transports the reader into the hustle and bustle of Rangoon. I loved the feeling of this book and enjoyed unravelling the mystery whilst also getting an insight into that period of history – both in Rangoon and in the sections about England in the 1920s. The parts about Belle’s mother are handled sensitively and help to explain the backstory, without giving too much away. After the beautiful descriptions, gripping action sequences and the gradual unfolding of the mystery I felt that everything was tied up a little too neatly and swiftly at the end of the book – perhaps a good sign that I wanted more!
A sweeping tale, beautifully written in a wonderful setting, heart rending yet ultimately up lifting. Gorgeous. -- Katie Fforde on 'The Sapphire Widow' My ideal read - I couldn't put it down -- Santa Montefiore on 'The Tea Planter's Wife' Dinah Jefferies has a remarkable gift for conjuring up another time and place with lush descriptions, full of power and intensity. - Kate Furnivall
Dinah Jefferies was born in Malaysia and moved to England at the age of nine. She has worked in education, lived in a commune and exhibited work as an artist. Dinah's first novel,The Separation, was published by Viking in 2014; The Tea Planter's Wife is her second novel. She is a contributor to the Guardian and other newspapers and lives in Gloucestershire with her husband. Dinah Jefferies is our Putting Authors in the Picture feature for March 2019. Click here to read more about her author journey on our blog.More About Dinah Jefferies