Fiction Book Reviews

Historical Fiction | The Missing Sister | Dinah Jefferies

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I’ve been a fan of Dinah Jefferies writing since her first novel and I’m always excited to see what she is going to bring to her readers next.

The Missing Sister is, for me, Dinah Jefferies best yet and I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on tour.

The Missing Sister by Dinah Jefferies

A stolen sister. A daughter determined to uncover the truth.

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?

The Missing Sister by Dinah Jefferies is published by Penguin and is available to purchase in digital, paperback and audiobook formats.


I loved the format of being with Belle in 1936 and Diana’s narrative moving forwards from 1921.  As Belle becomes more caught up in the search for Elvira the past slowly unravels.  The anxiety of fight or flight, of being hyper alert, is portrayed well and used to great effect.  I had so much empathy for Diana and willed her to mental wellness.  Belle has much strength in her quest to find the truth and I loved her spirit of adventure.

Dinah Jefferies settings are always vivid and vibrant and The Missing Sister is no exception.   All of my senses and emotions were drawn in and as a ‘visual’ reader, I experienced it all.  In fact, there is one particular scene in the Indian quarter in Rangoon that had more of an effect of me than I realised.  It was only after I had related a dream to colleagues and friends and I was trying to pinpoint if anything had been going on in my life that I realised the connection!  My subconscious had translated it as an experience into my world.  Belle’s anguish and fear had become my own … One of my favourite scenes has to be the hot air balloon ride – not just for the things that I saw but the effect it had on Belle.  Epiphany.

I really had no idea who I should trust.  Gloria?  Her brother Edward?  Oliver?  They all seemed to have their own agenda but who was trying to cover up this secret and what would they do to stop Belle finding out the truth?  I was suspicious of Belle’s room-mate Rebecca and even Diana’s best friend Simone … This kept me ready to spot any inconsistencies and I wavered between them all.  Except for Harry!  It was obvious he was up to something but I didn’t think for one moment it would have the conclusion it did.

Near the end of the story I cried.  Not just a few tears wending their way down my face but big ugly tears with sobs.  Perfect. 

This story will keep you intrigued as you journey the streets of Rangoon and on the river to Mandalay.  There will be sights and sounds you never thought you would see or hear.  You’ll see the worst of human nature and the best; the consequences of the past and how it affects people in the future.  You’ll experience melancholy, sadness, fear and love.  The Missing Sister packs a powerful emotional punch.  Highly recommended.

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 four 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.

Connect with Dinah Jefferies

Author Website

Twitter: @DinahJefferies 


Don’t forget to check the other hosts on tour.

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I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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