Portrait of Stella: Susan Wuthrich
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Portrait of Stella is a novel about a young woman who discovers what she thought of her origin of birth and family history were not correct. While trying to get a passport for work Jemima discovers she is not a British citizen. This leaves her completely befuddled and she begins a journey to discover not only who she truly is, but also the history of her mother and father. With each new answers comes a new question. She realizes she knew very little of the woman that was her mother and even less about her father. As she learns her mother's secrets she embarks on a journey which takes her to Australia and South Africa. She quickly learns of the hardships her family endured and in turn faces some of those hardships herself. The answers she seeks throw her world upside down, more so than it already has become. Along the way, she makes numerous ties in different cities and builds relationships with new friends who will stay into the future and some who do not. Portrait of Stella is a whirlwind tale of deep family history and finally discovering one’s own heritage.
From the beginning of the book until the end, this story holds the reader captive. It pulls readers in quickly by tugging at heartstrings quickly. It builds up the excitement and desire to know what happened to Jemima’s parents, and why her birth certificate was forged. Never does one think it would become the tale that it does. It ranges on so many different topics, but does so in a way that it does not seem like too much information. Just when one thinks they have it figured out something new is revealed which changes the whole course of the story. The telling of the story through the eyes of different characters was a wonderful element. It added a depth to the story which might not otherwise be present. The author develops characters that readers can relate to. The character of Jemima is astounding, although some of her actions do seem out of character for what readers know of her. The other characters compel the reader to continue and learn more about them.
Susan Wuthrich does a phenomenal job at bringing all the elements of the story together. She brings out various different emotions from happiness to sadness and pain. It is easily one of those books that can be finished in a night.