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Book review: The Other Daughter by Caroline Bishop

Photo of the book The Other Daughter with cropped picture of a young woman holding a book. her head and shoulders and feet are outside the picture. A cityscape is behind her at the bottom. Text includes an endorsement from Rachel Hore - A fresh, original, passionate and page-turning story.

The Other Daughter is Caroline Bishop’s debut novel published earlier this year. I chanced upon it in the new books section of the local library. The strapline is You only get one life – but what if it isn’t the one you were meant to have?

The chapters alternate between 1976 and 2016 with two female main characters’ stories intertwining. It is set in the London and Switzerland. I was particularly interested as I have visited some of the places in Switzerland including Chateau de Chillon on the shore of Lake Geneva. It was easy to visualise the characters in these places.

The story highlights the late stage at which moves towards equality for women reached Switzerland. There are other disturbing social problems in the background. I enjoyed this book. The mystery is unravelled slowly in a way I found very satisfactory.

The endorsement from Rachel Hore – ‘A fresh, original, passionate and page-turning story’ is accurate.

Switzerland is a very beautiful country, which makes it more poignant to learn that it is not without its problems.

Another novel set in Switzerland with some disturbing content is Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier. I read that before I began reviewing most of the books I read and enjoyed it less than her other books.

The summer of 1976 was the very hot one, which is the setting for another book with some dark content: On Midnight Beach by Marie-Louise Fizpatrick, which I reviewed here.

What I read in December 2019 (Part 1)

This post includes just one book review. December is always a busy month.

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

I have read and enjoyed a number of Tracy Chevalier’s books. They are all very well-written. One I wished I hadn’t read was Virgin Blue, because of the unpleasant subject matter. Had I turned to the back cover of New Boy before I began reading this library book I might have been put off. However I noticed after I had begun it that it said on the back that it was a retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello. If you like a happy ending…

…I was reminded of The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, which (unfortunately) I had to study for a school exam and When he fell by Kate Hewitt, which has a similar setting and some other similarities.

The story is very well told with clues to the characters in Othello in the choice of names. It is a fascinating book. There are resources for book clubs on Tracy Chevalier’s website.

What I read in May 2019 (Part 3)

Two more books I enjoyed reading.

The Perihelix (2nd edition) by Jemima Pett was an e-book I won during the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge. I do not really enjoy reading books on a screen. (I use my laptop for this as well as for all my blogging and reading blogs. Apart from the temptation to move the mouse before I have reached the end of a page and then have to go back to read a couple of words, I miss the possibility of changing my posture or even sitting in a different chair!)  The Perihelix is the first of a trilogy of science fiction books for adults. I haven’t read much science fiction recently, but this is a book in the tradition of Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The well-written story is a quest and there are plenty of unexpected twists and turns. The changes to language in the future are credible and readily understood. I was also reminded of the Harry Potter stories, although they are a different genre. It took me longer to read than if it had been a physical copy, but once I became engrossed in the story I read it in longer chunks. One sentence made me laugh out loud!

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier like another book of hers (At the Edge of the Orchard) is set in North America during the time of the early settlers. It was a library book. It is a good, well-researched story with a reading list at the end and background notes. Apart from enjoying the story I learned some background to the end of slavery in North America.