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review 2016-09-10 20:57
Shocking and heartbreaking
The Other Side of the World - Stephanie Bishop,Penelope Rawlins

This book had quite a profound effect on me. It’s the story of a married couple, Charlotte and Henry, who are living in England in the 1960’s.    Charlotte is an artist, but when she begins to have children, she goes through a depressed period and has difficulty painting or dealing with life as a mother and wife.  Henry, having been born in India and who has never liked English weather, decides that it would help their family to move to Australia and start a new life there.  Charlotte has no desire at all to leave her beloved England behind but is so worn out that she gives in. 


While there was a part of me that could certainly relate to Charlotte’s struggles, my main sympathy was for Henry, who tried so hard to make life better for his family, even throughout his own difficulties.   I can understand Charlotte being homesick as I know I would be, too, if I left all that was familiar.  But home is where the heart is and she had her “heart” with her – her husband and little girls – and I feel that she was almost trying not to adjust to the new country.  Regardless of how I felt about the decisions that Charlotte makes, I also cared for her and so very much wanted the best for them all.  The author developed her characters magnificently and had great insight into their lives.


This is such a beautifully written piece of literature. I truly loved it.  Ms. Bishop has written an honest, no bars held masterpiece.  She knows how to capture her readers’ attention and hearts.   The ending is shocking and heartbreaking and literally took my breath away.   Most highly recommended.


This book was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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review 2015-10-09 20:02
Review: The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop
The Other Side of the World - Stephanie Bishop,Penelope Rawlins

Publisher: Tinder Press, August 13th 2015 (hardback edition)


ISBN: 978-1472230614


Source: Review copy from publisher


Rating: 5*



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...



This novel made for compelling reading, in spite of the fact that there is little action. It's a simple story that makes for easy reading.

I found Charlotte to be a likeable and believable character, and felt great sympathy for her.

I didn't like Henry, but I guess we have all met men like him!

The story is so true to life with all its complexities and difficult decisions.


Thanks to the team at Tinder Press for sending me a review copy.

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review 2015-09-05 12:25
The Other Side of the World - Stephanie Bishop,Penelope Rawlins

It is the harsh winter of 1962/3, Henry and Charlotte are struggling in a poky, damp cottage near Cambridge. They have a sick baby with another expected soon. Henry (a British Indian) hates the cold and wants to emigrate to Australia to get some heat back in his bones but Charlotte doesn't want to go but unwillingly agrees. He is selfish for insisting and she is too for not really trying when she gets there. There was such a sense of yearning in this book - for something that no longer existed. I didn't take to either of these characters but I loved the descriptions of England, Australia and India, the journey. It felt as if you were actually there. The author is very talented with an easy style of writing. I look forward to reading other books by her.

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text 2015-07-28 10:23
The Fragility Of identity
The Other Side of the World - Stephanie Bishop

Set in the mid nineteen sixties this is the story of Charlotte a young, talented painter, struggling with the demands of motherhood and the pressures of surviving on the salary of her academic husband, Henry.


Deeply rooted in Cambridgeshire, she is nevertheless persuaded by Henry to emigrate to Australia in search of a better life; but the reality of their new environment is nothing like the brochures Henry has browsed.


In this new, alien country, Charlotte becomes entirely unmoored, while Henry, an Anglo-Indian who had not previously questioned his Britishness, finds himself confronted by an insidious barrier of covert racism.


Their marriage quickly starts to unravel and ultimately Charlotte begins to fall apart, unable to give herself to her children or her husband because she no longer possesses enough of herself to do so


Precise, unflinching, sometimes painfully sad but always beautifully-observed, The Other Side Of The World is an exploration of what we understand by the idea of home, and a study of the fragility of identity. A first-rate work of literary fiction

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review 2013-02-20 00:00
The Far Side of the World - Patrick O'Brian Captain Aubrey of the British Royal Navy is sent to the South Seas to prevent the American frigate Norfolk from harassing English whalers. It's an excellent book all around, but there are moments of pure perfection in it. The prim parson Martin shows Maturin the letter he wants to woo his lady-love with, it's horrifyingly bad, Maturin tries to tell him so as gently as possible, and Martin completely refuses to hear it. Or at one point Maturin falls out of the cabin window while Aubrey is talking. Aubrey immediately realizes what happens and, without a moment's hesitation, dives in after him, for Maturin is so uncoordinated that he could drown in only an inch of water. Later, upon finding entering the cabin and finding both Aubrey and Maturin missing, their shipmate immediately knows that Maturin fell out of the ship and Aubrey went after him. And of course the ending is basically the best ending of all endings in the entire world. In order to secure the shipwrecked Norfolk's people, Captain Aubrey lands his gig on a small island surrounded by reefs and dangerous tides. The tides mean he can't get back to the Surprise that night, and in the morning he can't see the ship at all. The Norfolk crew assures him that the Surprise has definitely wrecked, and Aubrey is afraid they're right. At least a week goes by without sighting any ship, but then he sees an American whaler coming toward the island. Aubrey knows that if the whaler picks them up, he and his men will be imprisoned, and so he works at brutal speed to get his little gig sea-worthy. But the Norfolk's men destroy his gig at the last moment (I was so angry at this point I was practically weeping with rage), and Aubrey is without hope. The whaler is close enough to hail--and THEN! STUFF HAPPENS! VERY EXCITING STUFF!

I will note that this book contains Maturin once again refusing to help a woman have an abortion. It's a particularly bad situation because he's pretty sure that her sterile husband will kill her once he finds she's pregnant. And lo and behold, her husband does indeed kill her. Your principles sure did help, huh Maturin? If the vaunted spy-master really wanted to save lives, surely he could have come up with SOMETHING besides just letting this teenager go back to her abusive husband and waiting till he kills her. He couldn't come up with a medical lie, like she's suffering from dropsy? Or ask his "particular friend" Captain Aubrey to put the abusive husband on a treasure ship or something? gah! My frustration with him was mitigated somewhat when, later in the novel, he goes on a several minute tirade about how shitty the patriarchy is for women. But still. Maturin, get your shit together.
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