Things between me and Papa are so different to what me and Mum have. It’s been that way since the first day. An invisible bond. Papa was the one who never stopped encouraging me to strive for my goals. ‘Take every opportunity dis country give you, ich mwen,’ he’d always said…
When Yvette receives a call to say her estranged father Joe has been attacked in a seemingly random act of violence, she rushes to his side. She’d stayed with her mother after her parents separated, but never forgot her father’s kind and caring ways. Memories of his wide smile and loving embraces – so different to her mother Doli – have always sustained her.
But when she arrives, ready to make peace and help him in any way she can, she finds a man different to the larger-than-life father she remembers. Joe is fighting for his life, but is also haunted by memories of his past. He begs Yvette to help him find out the truth…
About the journey that brought him and a beautiful young woman called Doli together, as they both travelled – as part of the Windrush Generation, to start new lives in Britain. About the lives they left behind in St Lucia. And about a dark secret – one that he has carried with him since stepping off the ship that wet and chilly August day. That threatened his and Doli’s marriage from the very beginning…
Only Yvette can find out what really happened on that crossing. Because, for forty years, Joe has believed that he killed a man. A man who had had feelings for Doli too. And who – as Joe knows – might hold the key to Yvette’s own story…
What follows is a heart-stopping debut novel about family, identity, secrets, lies, and the journeys that define us. It will grip you, challenge you, and ultimately break you into a thousand pieces. Perfect for fans of Small Island and Girl, Woman, Other.
This Other Island is a story that is told from the varying perspectives of a mother and daughter. When Yvette (who used to be known as Ruthie) was a baby, she was sent back to St Lucia from England to live with her Aunt Agnes. Whilst raising her, Aunt Agnes was also raising another child named Pattie, and soon enough the girls became inseparable.
Many years later, Yvette returns to England to be with her parents. She has always kept in touch with Pattie and misses her terribly. When Yvette’s father Joe is attacked and taken in to hospital, she rushes to be by his side, but when she learns that her father has also been diagnosed with a terminal illness it turns her world upside down.
Knowing he has limited time left, Joe asks Yvette to locate Ian, a man he met on the boat many years ago, and someone who he thinks he may have done something terrible to in the past. Unsure of where to start with this task, Yvette’s boyfriend Aaron offers to help her find Ian and find out what happened between him and her father all those years before.
I have always been a fan of books that tell a story from varying perspectives, as to me it adds so much more depth to the story and allows us to form a clearer picture of what the characters faced throughout. This is the first book I have read by this author, and it certainly won’t be the last.
The storyline itself was so detailed and wonderfully structured, with each passing chapter giving you a better insight into the characters lives and who they are as individuals. There is an underlying hint of mystery as to who Ian is, and what happened to him on the boat, but it isn’t a central part of the storyline, just an added bonus I would say!.
The characters are well developed and unique. It is clear that the author has put a lot of time and attention in to constructing these fascinating characters, and I certainly found myself able to connect with them and became fully invested in their story.
A beautiful story that captures your attention and your heart from beginning to end. I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to future reads by Steffanie Edward.
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About the Author
Steffanie Edward was born in St Lucia, brought up in London and now straddles between the two.
Anancy, Crick-crick and other Caribbean folk stories have been a part of her life since childhood. In her late teens she enjoyed reading Susan Howatch and books on slavery. Her absolute favourite reads have been Wild Seed by Octavia E Bulter, and Woman At Point Zero by Naawal El Saadawi.
Her writing career started with short stories, five of which have been published. Her first attempt at writing a novel was over twenty years ago, whilst living and working in Abu Dhabi. That novel, Yvette, didn’t make it into print, but the main protagonist, Yvette, has muscled her way into Steffanie’s debut novel, This Other Island.