White Pearl

White Pearl

4.3 6
by Kate Furnivall
     
 

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National bestselling author of The Russian Concubine, Kate Furnivall spins a tale of war, desperation, and the discovery of love off the coast of Malaya.

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

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Overview

National bestselling author of The Russian Concubine, Kate Furnivall spins a tale of war, desperation, and the discovery of love off the coast of Malaya.

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Kirkus Reviews
An English matron flees the Japanese with her family, in Furnivall's ripping World War II yarn. Connie, wife of Nigel Hadley, owner of a thriving rubber plantation in Malaya, is on her way to the country club when she loses control of her car and rams into a native market stand. A Malay woman, Sai-Ru, is fatally injured, and as her daughter Maya and Connie kneel beside her, Sai-Ru curses "the white lady." This only adds to Connie's burden of guilt—her recent affair with a Japanese man ended with his suicide. Nigel, a stereotypical stiff-upper-lipped Englishman, has rebuffed his wife's affections for years. When Connie tries to make amends by employing Maya and her twin brother Razak, Nigel warms to Razak but banishes Maya, whom he's seen working in a seedy nightclub. When the Japanese invade Malaya the English colonials are woefully unprepared, and British defenses quickly crumble. The Hadleys flee on their yacht, The White Pearl, with fellow refugees, including their son Teddy, wounded Brit flyboy Johnnie, stowaways Maya and Razak, friends Henry and Harriet Court, and, later, Madoc and Kitty, owners of a gambling den destroyed when a deal with the Japanese went south. Skippering is mysterious seafarer Mr. Fitzpayne, who, when safe harbor in Singapore is impossible, leads the group on a search for a small island on which to wait out the war. Although outwardly grateful to Connie, Maya seeks ways to carry out Sai-Ru's curse: Harriet ingests poison meant for Connie, and an attempt to drown the family dog will alter everyone's fate. Madoc plots to shanghai The White Pearl, 7-year-old Teddy grows up speedily and Nigel is exhibiting an unhealthy fondness for handsome Razak, which, Connie realizes, explains his coldness toward her. However, even as she recognizes his dangerous depths, Connie cannot deny her attraction to Fitzpayne. Although the characters are thinly motivated, their adventure story, a pleasing mélange of a vintage movie and a Pacific Theater version of Lost, is riveting to the last.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780751543360
Publisher:
Sphere
Publication date:
02/28/2012

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