Portrait of Stella by Susan Wüthrich

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 9.30.07 AMAll Jemima wanted was to get a passport for her business trip, only to find out her birth certificate was forged, and the authorities have been brought in on the case. After speaking with family and friends of her mother’s, Jemima struggles to piece together stories of her mother’s past to find out her own past, and identity. She travels across the globe seeking answers to questions about the mother she thought she knew. Little did she know her journey would take her to destinations across the world. She learns of the hardships her family endured and 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 the heartstrings. 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 single night.

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