Since then I have been privileged to interview Dinah here about Before The Rains and to review The Silk Merchant’s Daughter here and The Sapphire Widow here. I’ve loved every word so when I saw Dinah’s latest book, The Missing Sister, was available on Netgalley I broke my own self-imposed ban and requested it. My grateful thanks to the folk at Penguin for approving me to read it!
The Missing Sister was published by Penguin on 21st March and is available for purchase through these links.
The Missing Sister
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?
My Review of The Missing Sister
Belle’s new job in Burma will change her life forever.
Settling down to read one of Dinah Jefferies books is always a real pleasure and The Missing Sister was no exception.
As always, I was completely transported to the setting. I can think of very few other writers who convey a sense of place more beautifully or accurately through their descriptions. The scents and sounds of Rangoon, the noise of the markets and so on are all so perfectly created. I love that area of the world and every time I read a Dinah Jefferies book it feels as if I’m actually there.
However, what I found fascinating this time was that in The Missing Sister there is a darker and more menacing feel than in the previous Dinah Jefferies books I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed this slight change. There’s an underlying threat and a real sense of mystery throughout as Bell has no real idea who she can trust as she tries to find her missing sister. Some of the events that take place have a sharper and more political edge than I’m used to with Dinah Jefferies’ writing and I thought they were enthralling. The plot twists and turns whilst exploring themes that are relevant to today’s word as well as the 1920-30s of the narrative.
Themes of corruption, racism, social hierarchy, religion, superstition and mental health meld seamlessly with romance, history and geography so that I felt The Missing Sister was a brilliantly rounded novel full of suspense and interest that held me in its thrall.
I loved the characterisation too. Although the exciting narrative revolves around Belle who is vivid and feisty, it was Diana who gained my sympathy most. I simply couldn’t forgive Douglas for his behaviour towards her, regardless of his motives. I thought the way Dinah Jefferies balanced Dinah’s story with Belle’s was poised to perfection and the manner in which the men underpin the action, but never overly dominate it, made the book feel well balanced and hugely satisfying to read.
The Missing Sister is another triumph from Dinah Jefferies. It’s emotive, transporting and engaging. Above all else, it’s a hugely entertaining story too. I recommend curling up with it and reading it in one go. You won’t regret it!
About Dinah Jefferies
Dinah Jefferies was born in Malaysia and moved to England at the age of nine. Her idyllic childhood always held a special place in her imagination, and when she began writing novels in her 60s, she was able to return there – first in her fiction and then on annual research trips for each new novel.
Dinah Jefferies is the author of the novels, The Separation, The Tea Planter’s Wife – a Number One Sunday Times bestseller, The Silk Merchant’s Daughter and Before the Rains. She lives in Gloucestershire