When it finally arrived I was shocked to see it; to read the words Mum wrote about these women fighting for rights I know I take for granted. Mum was here. And while she was, something happened that changed the entire course of my life. Perhaps, if I can summon the courage, the next eight weeks will help me finally figure out what that was . . .’
When Jessica, a young British woman, discovers a shocking secret about her birth she travels to Switzerland in search of answers. She knows her mother spent time in the country writing an article on the Swiss women’s rights movement, but what she doesn’t know is what happened to her while she was there. Can Jess summon the courage to face the truth about her family, or will her search only hurt herself and those around her even more?
A breathtaking, richly historical commercial women’s fiction debut, set against a stunning Swiss backdrop in the 1970s women’s rights movement. The Other Daughter follows one woman in her search for the truth about her birth, and another desperately trying to succeed in a man’s world.
The Other Daughter was enlightening, educational but above all a very good story.
It followed Jessica as she travelled to discover what really happened when her now deceased mother, Sylvia visited Switzerland to research the Women’s Rights Movement in the 70’s
I never realised how behind the rest of Europe it was at giving its women the vote, and recognition, always thinking it was a forward thinking country. Yet the 70’s were a period of great change and I loved how Bishop used the past and the present to illustrate the differences.
The past was Sylvia, a journalist in a a man’s world who fought to be given the real stories, ones that didn’t involve home making, babies and crafting. Her one chance, a visit to Switzerland to investigate the status of women’s votes set off a series of events that had repercussions for the future. What struck me more than anything was the utter disregard the majority of the male population both in Switzerland and the U.K. had for women. It raised so many questions. Were women a threat to their masculinity, a threat to their jobs? Who would be left to look after the children, the home and most importantly who would feed and clothe the men.
The Other Daughter wasn’t just about the women’s movement, but one of self discovery, of Sylvia’s need to balance career and motherhood, of Jess’s need to find who she was, and what her future held. Bishop used their individual voices to tell their story, as she effortlessly switched between past and present.
Bishop gave us a brilliant sense of time and place, of a 1970’s society that struggled with changing attitudes, of men who still believed women should be in the home, pregnancy a reason not to be at work, in other words women could not have it all.
The present was Jess’s search for answers not only about her past but also about herself. She, was a woman who could have the career, be a wife and children, but what do you do when that is not possible? Bishop piled on the heartache, the angst, mystery and misleading information that pushed Jess to her limits but also made her assess her own choices and indeed her future.
The Other Daughter was well written, and although seen mainly from a woman’s perspective raised so many questions that would lead to a myriad of answers and debate. Yet it didn’t forget what it was, and that was a novel, a story, one that would pull the reader into the lives of theses two wonderfully string women.
I would like to thank Simon Schuster for a copy of The Other Daughter to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Caroline Bishop began her journalism career at a small arts magazine in London, after a brief spell in educational publishing. She soon moved to work for a leading London theatre website, for which she reviewed shows and interviewed major acting and directing stars. Caroline turned freelance in 2012 and a year later moved to Switzerland, where her writing veered towards travel and she has contributed to publications including the Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph and BBC Travel, writing mainly about Switzerland, and cowrote the 2019 edition of the DK Eyewitness Guide to Switzerland. For two years Caroline was editor of TheLocal.ch, an English-language Swiss news site, and it was during this time that she became fascinated with aspects of Swiss history and culture, particularly the evolution of women’s rights.