"Malaya, 1941." Connie Thornton plays her role as a dutiful wife and mother without complaint.Read more...
"Malaya, 1941." Connie Thornton plays her role as a dutiful wife and mother without complaint. She is among the fortunate after all-the British rubber plantation owners reaping the benefits of the colonial life. But Connie feels as though she is oppressed, crippled by boredom, sweltering heat, a loveless marriage. . .
Then, in December, the Japanese invade. Connie and her family flee, sailing south on their yacht toward Singapore, where the British are certain to stand firm against the Japanese. En route, in the company of friends, they learn that Singapore is already under siege. Tensions mount, tempers flare, and the yacht's inhabitants are driven by fear.
Increasingly desperate and short of food, they are taken over by a pirate craft and its Malayan crew making their perilous way from island to island. When a fighter plane crashes into the sea, they rescue its Japanese pilot. For Connie, that's when everything changes. In the suffocating confines of the boat with her life upended, Connie discovers a new kind of freedom and a new, dangerous, exhilarating love.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-01-30
- Reviewer: Staff
In another of her historical action stories, Furnivall (The Russian Concubine) takes readers on a tour through the islands of the Southeast Asian Pacific in the throes of WWII. The novel opens in colonial Malaya with Connie Hadley, the compliant wife of a plantation owner, in a car accident that kills a native woman in front of the woman’s twin teenage children. Wracked with guilt, Connie makes it her mission to help twins Razak and Maya, despite her husband’s protests. But the story takes a turn from domestic colonial tale to action-adventure when the Japanese invade. Connie assembles the family on their titular yacht, casting together the native twins with her own young son, a mysteriously well-connected boat captain, and a rough-and-tumble couple they encounter fleeing on foot. As The White Pearl hurtles between the islands around Singapore, its inhabitants watch the Japanese and Allied forces battle it out in the skies. The group lands on an island that is not as uninhabited as they’d thought and it all ends with an exhilarating, if somewhat implausible, dénouement. Furnivall weaves the dramas of her characters into the threads of history, creating an engrossing read on many levels. Agent: Teresa Chris, the Teresa Chris Literary Agency. (Mar.)