The Other Side of the World by Jenni Francis
The Other Side of the World opens with twenty-year-old Coral catching a plane to travel from the UK to the other side of the world – New Zealand. She is pregnant, running away, and determined not to be found by the people she has left.
The story picks up with her son, Tom, all grown up and married to Lucy, struggling with the demands of work and their young son. He suffers from debilitating headaches and seems to have a history of them from when he was a boy, but to begin with, the reasons for these headaches aren’t revealed. Tom has never known his father – his mother refuses to talk about him.
When Coral suddenly dies, Tom and Lucy are devastated but surprised when Tom inherits a significant amount of money. After looking through some paperwork, they find some clues about Tom’s father that sends them over to Scotland to see if they can find him and get answers to the many questions they have.
But then tragedy strikes, and Tom must abandon his search for his father to care for his immediate family.
The Other Side of the World is an engaging family drama that explores how past and present are linked and how family traits can be passed down. It’s lovely to read a novel by a New Zealand that embraces the New Zealand and the Scottish landscape too – who can resist the Scottish Lochs?
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
River Press Publishing