Author Meriel Brooke cleverly uses her own family history as the basis of this beautifully written family saga spanning two world wars.
Sam, the main character, comes from a country life in England through World War I to Malaya and Singapore during World War II then home to England again. Through the book weaves a story of romance; family life and its inevitable ups and downs; and a successful career as a rubber plantation manager alongside the different horrors of each of the wars.
It is beautifully written and even has a touching underlying story of a man’s relationship with his horse.
The characters are very real even if not always likeable. I must admit I do get very annoyed by reviewers who criticise characters because they don’t behave the way we expect them to today. Brooke’s characters are real because of the accuracy of their behaviour and attitudes of the time.
Sam and other characters in the story suffer two world wars as many men did. In World War I he is a pilot of the Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) shot down and badly wounded. In World War II he is imprisoned in the dreaded Changi prison. This aspect of WWII is often not well known in many parts of the world.
The book is historically accurate and conveys a sense of time and place well. It is wonderfully descriptive and consistently good from beginning to end; moving along nicely with never a boring patch and ending on a twist I didn’t imagine. Brooke also uses some great analogies “Like a gaggle of geese without a gander”
Romance, intrigue, war and a history lesson too; can’t complain about that mix.
This book was provided to me for free for an honest and unbiased review.
My rating 4*