An Ocean Apart

Sarah Lee

18 August 2022
336 pages


Inspired by real life stories of the Windrush Generation and her mother’s own experiences as a nurse coming to Britain from the Caribbean, Sarah Lee’s debut novel An Ocean Apart is a must for fans of Call the Midwife.

It’s 1954 and, in Barbados, Ruby Haynes spots an advertisement for young women to train as nurses for the new National Health Service in Great Britain. Her sister, Connie, takes some persuading, but soon the sisters are on their way to a new country – and a whole new world of experiences.

As they start their training in Hertfordshire, they discover England isn’t quite the promised land; for every door that’s opened to them, the sisters find many slammed in their faces. And though the girls find friendships with their fellow nurses, Connie struggles with being so far from home, and keeping secret the daughter she has left behind in search of a better life for the both of them . . .

This is a really clever novel . A beautiful story of friendship, new beginnings and love, which entices you in with characters you immediately care about. It's a love letter to the women who left behind everything to help heal our country and establish the NHS. At its heart, it's a story of courage! I could not have loved this more and thought about it long after I turned the last page.
A glorious triumph of a book full of characters that feel like real friends, so atmospheric, compelling and nostalgic, I adored it.
Sarah Lee never shies away from weightier themes that add layers of depth. Identity and how we present ourselves to others, race, trauma, secrets and relationships of many kinds weave through the story too. With romance, realism and just a touch of humour, An Ocean Apart is billed as a must for fans of Call the Midwife.