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Portrait of Stella

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A fake birth certificate! No record of her existence in the UK data base. Jemima Ashton is desperate to discover her real identity.
With scant information and the burning question 'who am I?', she embarks on an incredible journey of detection.
On learning of her late mother Stella's disappearance during WWII, she retraces her footsteps across the globe and at a distant vin
Kindle Edition, 323 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Kindle Direct Publishing (first published April 2nd 2014)
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4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  91 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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J. Schlenker
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. The author pretty much had me on page one, and the momentum continued. In fact, I was reading a best selling made into a movie book for my book club and put it aside for this book. I finished in two days, savoring every word.

It was a mystery, a historical novel, with a smidgen of romance. In retrospect there was actually a lot of romance in that the main characters (most of them) were driven by love. By smidgen, I mean the sex parts were ju
“Often the right path is the one that may be hardest for you to follow. But the hard path is also the one that will make you grow as a human being.”
----Karen Mueller Coombs, author

Susan Wüthrich, an English author, has envisioned a heart-touching story in her debut book, Portrait of Stella, which is about the journey of a young woman, named Jemima searching for her real identity and roots.

A fake birth certificate! No record of her existence in the UK data base. Jemima Ashton is desp
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having read a previous novel by Susan Wuthrich (Another Kind of Sunset) which i very much enjoyed, I had no hesitation in wanting to read another book by this author. 'A Portrait of Stella' was also a very enjoyable read and would say it's one of the best novels that i have read in a while.

It's a very well written book and she certainly knows how to tell a wonderful story. I seldom write what a story is about as i do not like to spoil for others, but i do highly recommend. I do hope it's not to
I received this book for free from net-galley. From the blurb, I was expecting a sweet historical romance with a touch of mystery, and I'm not sure I'd catergorise it as any of those genres. I would call it a good old fashioned sweeping family saga. (I'm sure some of you have worked it out, but I haven't yet garnered an idea of how long a book is when I view it in the ebook format.) I'm not complaining, mind you, as I enjoyed the book immensely. The book's narrator is the Stella from the title's ...more
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, 2014, kindle
Jemima is extremely shocked when she receives a letter from Immigration. Her birth certificate is a forgery. There is no record of her existing in the UK. She is desperate to discover who she really is. Her mum has died and she has to turn to her grandma to try and find out what her past really holds. She discovers that her dad wasn’t who he said he was.

It was a really spellbinding tale- drawing you into the mystery and willing her to find out her history. We travel from the 80’s back to wartime
Catherine Byrne
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! I usually take a week to read a book, and all was going well until the MC went to Africa, from then on I could not put it down. I have sat all day today doing nothing else. No housework done and my poor dogs have not even had a walk! The story is amazing.
I read for entertainment but I also like to learn something new. That’s probably why I like historicals and do not like fantasy or sci-fi. This story certainly educated me on the days of Apartheid, of which I knew very little
HeidiLynns BookReviews
First, I want to thank Susan Wuthrich for providing me with this book so I may bring you this review.

Portrait of Stella by Susan Wuthrich was one of the most unique books I have read. I was totally shocked when Jemima (totally loved that name) got a letter in the mail stating her Birth Certificate was fake and she was not going to be able to go to Amsterdam!! Well of course she would freak out! This starts her journey of finding out the truth of what really happened.

One thing that is interestin
Aarohi Brar
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Portrait of Stella is the story of a woman, from whom the knowledge of her birth was withheld for no reason other than to protect her from the ugliness of the societal conduct she would otherwise have had to endure. This book illustrates the phrase 'Desperate times call for desperate measures' in a way no other text has ever been able to.

The story has been set in two different eras. The 1950's and 1980's. An unprecedented revelation about the identity of Jemima Ashton, or lack thereof leaves her
Anna (BooksandBookends)
I received a free eBook copy of 'Portrait of Stella' from the book's publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A passport application can change your life around - well it certainly did for Jemima. A rejected passport application leads to a near worldwide quest for her true identity. Jemima, the protagonist, finds out her mother and father aren't at all the people she thought they originally were. Her life is flipped on it's head changing everything - for better or worse! Set dur
Li Or
Aug 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-books

If you've ever watched the TV shows "Long Lost Family" or "Who do you think you are?", this book is like an amalgamation of these two shows. The title gives the gist of the story, which is about one lady who seeks to understand her mother, Stella's, hidden past to uncover her own mysterious origins.

The story is quite an epic one, spanning over two generations. It takes you across three different continents; through World War II and into the 2000s. The details of the story are interesting and
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jemima gets the shock of her life when she gets a very official letter from Immigration asking her to contact them when she applies for a passport. Apparently, her birth certificate is a forgery, there is no proof that her father was born in the UK and hence she is looked at with suspicion.

Jemima's mother has passed away and it is only her grandmother, old and frail who may be able to help Jemima to put the pieces of her life together. Unravelling it a piece at a time, Jemima comes across a puzz
Isis Ray-sisco
Portrait of Stella by Susan Wüthrich is an interesting read that goes back and forth between the past and the present day. I have never read this author before and I would probably pick up another book by her. Portrait of Stella had some engaging characters and a decent plot line. There was a lot to enjoy about the book.

Jemima grew up living a lie. Everything she thought that she knew was a lie. Her world was rocked from the moment she got the call that her birth certificate was a fake and that
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley-arc
Portrait of Stella is a tale of a woman’s search to discover who she is, of old family secrets and a history wrought of disparity. Spanning from the tumultuous years of the Second World War to the dawning changes of early twenty first century, Jemima’s journey takes her to an abandoned vineyard where a shocking surprise awaits her. In short, it reads like a vintage family saga but with a dash of modern writing style.

Susan Wuthrich’s debut novel pulsates with remarkable drama, thorough research
Ariana Baxter
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family-saga
As others have mentioned, I wasn't sure what to expect from the blurb when I requested a copy of this book through Netgalley. I think family saga sums it up best.

Jemima needs her passport renewed for a business trip she's about to take, but instead, she receives word her birth certificate appears to be fake. This, coming soon after the death of her mother, leads Jemima across several continents and even more decades in search of the truth about who she is and details about the father she never
Sabina Pearson
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would like you to know how much I thoroughly enjoyed reading the debut novel by Susan Wuthrich called Portrait of Stella. It was hard to put down and I could have read through the night in order to find out if Jemima (the main character) finds out the truth about her birth certificate and her late mother Stella. The story cleverly weaves back and forth between the war-time Britain in the 1940's and the 1980's, and spans across several continents with twists and turns, as we follow Jemima's adv ...more
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked it very much. The story line is well-paced with well developed characters, along with the meticulous research and attention to detail which makes this a most enjoyable book. It is about a woman seeking to gain knowledge of her mother's past. Her quest leads her to several countries and to some unexpected knowledge about her family. The book also offers some insight into the social and political climate and conflicts in South Africa at the time the action takes place. I highly recommend t ...more
Felicity Gibson
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Portrait of Stella
By Susan Wuthrich
Read 25th July 2014

I highly recommend this wonderful book. It is the story of a search by Jemima, Stella’s daughter, into her mother’s past. There is an excellent balance of fact and fiction and the factual content was well researched. The story weaves back and forth between war-time Britain and the 1980’s. A long read crammed with detail and excellent characters. I award this book 5 stars.
Leona Oechslin
Jul 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book struck the right balance of fact and fiction. The fiction captured the early life of Stella, which was pieced together by her daughter Jemima. Jemima's exploration into her mother's past was a cruel reminder of the aspects and consequences of apartheid. I found the factual content was extremely well researched. I highly recommend 'Portrait of Stella.'
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Portrait of Stella had me gripped from the beginning. Starting off in England, the protagonist travels far and wide in search of her real identity. From the rolling hills of Shropshire to the beautiful City of Wellington and on to the vineyards of South Africa, where many shocks await her.
Great book, great author!
A must have.......
Can't wait for the next one to appear!
Dorothy Buerge
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you Combine all the components that tell the Story of Stella, it becomes a 'must read'. History, crime and a love Story to remember. Definitely m...more
Claire Moore
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was gripped from the beginning and just had to know about Jemima and her roots.
Pete Hartley
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not quite five stars but more than four.

23 November 2018
Format: Kindle Edition. Verified Purchase

If I could have given this book four and a half stars I would. It didn’t blow my mind, but it did engage, enliven, educate and uplift it.

I was looking for a read that, in a Shakespearean sense, held a mirror up to nature, and this work certainly does that, showing not only the true nature of humans but also some of the deplorably distasteful filters humans can use to redefine what they see in others.
William Diebold
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was introduced to Portrait of Stella by Susan Wuthrich with the claim that if I liked Wilbur Smith books, I would like this one. I found the book to have a unique plot, which I have not seen anywhere before. It is brutally honest as the narrative places you on the wrong side of the racist situation that existed in South Africa before the end of apartheid. At one point we are introduced to two sisters, one classified as white, and one non-white, from the same parents, but that is enough apparen ...more
Dawn Brookes
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story from the beginning when Gemima finds out that her birth certificate is a forgery. The story spans two different times, the first is that of Gemima searching for the truth of her birth and the second goes back in time and follows the events of her mother, Stella. At times it is sad and tragic and the history of apartheid is covered well and I learned a lot more about the era. I followed the protests about Nelson Mendela's imprisonment over many years but the experiences that pe ...more
Sharone Powell
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Englishwoman Jemima Ashton is astounded to learn her passport cannot be renewed because her birth certificate is fake. The book is about her pursuit of answers about her own identity and that of her mom, Stella. It leads her to New Zealand and then to Africa, where writer Susan Wüthrich delves into Apartheid in much details, shedding light on what life was like in Africa back then. Jemima's world is shaken quite a few times by her journey's findings.

I found part two a bit cumbersome as it introd
Tracy Stanley
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Susan Wuthrich is one heck of a storyteller. I was hooked from the first chapter. Her family saga takes the reader from the second world war in the UK to New Zealand and South Africa. I love stories based on uncovering secrets – and this is great example. It was also interesting to learn more about South Africa during this period. I agree with other reviewers that the story was a little jumpy at times – but it was a great story and I feel deserves five stars for this alone.
Laurence O'Bryan
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was captivated from the start by this wonderful story of an English woman in search of the truth about who she is and where she came from.

Family secrets start emerging as she digs deeper travelling to South Africa. There a series of shocking revelations await. An amazing an satisfying read. Definitely recommended.
Erin Hicks
Jan 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Poorly written, confusing and lack of developed characters

I only got a little over halfway through and had to stop. The constant time hops and introductions of multiple secondary characters caused me to loose interest. Thank goodness this was a free download through Kindle unlimited.
W.W. Brock
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book, and the way the author was able to weave the tale of Stella through the fabric of time and across several continents. Although I do not typically read books of this genre, this one had my interest from page one and held it there until the last page. Kudos to Ms. Wutrich for her story telling ability!
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Raised in the United Kingdom, after spending twenty-five years in South Africa, she now lives in a picturesque village in Switzerland; an idyllic setting in which to pursue her passion.