The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

Review by Kelly Pells

Publisher: Tinder Press

Set in the 1960s, Charlotte is a dissatisfied wife and mother. Her young daughter takes up all her time and robs her of her artistic aspirations. Her husband, Henry, is sick of the cold and dreary English countryside. They both want things to change, but when Henry suggests moving across the globe to Australia Charlotte wants to stay in the place that she knows. She is too tired to fight, though, and soon they are arriving in Perth. Charlotte is left wondering if this is the life she really wants and if anywhere will ever feel like home again.

  I was worried when I picked this book up that it was going to be depressing. It doesn’t exactly deal with cheery subjects – marriage troubles, depression, dissatisfaction – but Bishop’s writing more than makes up for this. This book is very atmospheric, from the greys and browns of the English countryside to the sticky yellow heat of Australia. Bishop immerses you into the world of the characters.

  She also does a great job of creating sympathy for the characters. Most of the story focuses on Charlotte, so I definitely found myself sympathising more with her than with Henry, her husband. Their situation – the loneliness, the lostness – would be relatable to many. I imagine that most people have experienced something similar at some point in their lives. The emotion is palpable. Some parts of this book made me feel slightly uncomfortable, but I think that’s a sign of the strength of Bishop’s writing that it provokes such reaction in the reader.

  I think that the plot on its own isn’t anything particularly special or original. However, it’s Bishop’s writing that makes this one worth a read. The flow and rhythm of the language carries you easily from page to page, never seeming to drag or slow down.

  If you’re looking for an exciting summer read, this probably isn’t the book. But if you’re looking for something that’s well written, with strong three-dimensional characters and strong emotions, I’d suggest you pick this one up.


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