The Darkness that Divides Us (UK edition)

By Renate Dorrestein

In stock

Growing up in a peaceful Dutch village with her eccentric mother and their two endearing male lodgers, Lucy is the popular leader of the pre-school set—until a bizarre crime rocks her world. After her mother has served time for murder, Lucy, her mother and her ‘uncles’ leave the village to start over in the Outer Hebrides. But even in this remote corner of the world, the past has a way of catching up with her……
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Literary novel




Hester Velmans



Original Title

Het duister dat ons scheidt

Year of publication



'Sinister and chilling.'— Emerald Street

‘The Darkness that Divides Us is a really beautifully written family drama, with a hint of mystery – the writing is darkly atmospheric and it has a really intense construction about it that works really well and hooks you right in.’—LizLovesBooks

About the author

Renate Dorrestein

Renate Dorrestein is a best-selling author who occupies a unique position within Dutch literature. An extraordinary storyteller, known for her unsentimental depiction of children and their flawed families, Dorrestein’s impish humour offsets the darkness of her subjects. Her work has twice been nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and her novel A Heart of Stone was a Barnes & Noble ‘Discover Great New Writers’ selection. Her novels have been made into films and translated into fifteen languages. Photo: © Frank Ruiter

Book Club Questions

Book Club Questions

  1. Why doesn’t Lucy inform anyone about the severe bullying that’s going on against her?
  2. Could the bullying have been prevented in some way?
  3. Have you had any experiences with successful bullying prevention, or with exactly the opposite?
  4. Why does Lucy’s mother get so angry at Thomas during the celebration of the engagement party?
  5. How would you explain the scene in which Lucy starts to dance in a sensual way during the school theatre? Why would she do that?
  6. How would you characterize the relationship between Lucy and Ludo and Duko?
  7. How would you characterize the relationship between Lucy and her mother? Is it a normal mother-daughter relationship?
  8. Was the setting one that felt familiar or relatable to you? Why or why not?
  9. What kind of relationship do you think the mother has with Ludo and Duko?
  10. What is Ludo and Duko’s motive for coming to help Lucy during her confrontation with Thomas’s father?
  11. In what way does the death of Thomas’s father affect the relationships between Lucy, her mother, and Ludo and Duko?
  12. What do you think makes the mother decide to take the guilt upon herself and go to jail?
  13. Why do you think that, in the end, the mother decides to leave Lucy and Ludo and Duko?
  14. What do you think the title refers to?