Sunday, December 16, 2012

The White Pearl

By Kate Furnivall

The crisp cover of The White Pearl attracted me from a distance—the synopsis was perfect enough to make me buy the book. The author Kate Furnivall is a British historical novelist; her first book, 'The Russian Concubine' is very famous.

The White Pearl tells the story of Connie Hadley and her dysfunctional relationships. Married to a rich, plantation owner, Nigel in Malaya, Connie despises everything about her marriage and life, save for her dear son Teddy. When the World War comes to Malaya, Connie finds her life changed forever.

Connie, guilt-ridden for accidentally killing a native Malay woman finds the woman's twins to help them. The son, Razak bonds with Teddy, the daughter Maya wants revenge for her mother's death. When the Japanese attack Malaya after the Pearl Harbor, the Hadleys are forced to leave Malaya for Singapore in their family yacht, The White Pearl. The twins and Nigel's close friends join the voyage.

The yacht is captained by the enigmatic yet pragmatic Fitzpayne, a friend of the Hadleys. The journey begins as a pleasant sail but soon becomes tragic with Nigel's death. With enemies closely following their trail, the yacht reaches Singapore in full sail only to see the city bombarded by the Japanese. The group hides in a fully equipped secret island, a brain-child of the mysterious Fitzpayne.

The secret island is not spared by the Japanese, soon the group faces the Japanese arms. What follows is a glimpse of fighting planes and war machines. Japanese General Takesahi brings deja vu to Connie—her deadly relationship with Sho and the motive of Fitzpayne seem implausible.

The story of Morgan Maroc was out of place and didn't fit well in the book. I expected more out of John Blake's character. The story was an average read--slow-paced at the beginning--soon became a page turner with the adventurous sail. The beauty of the South China sea and its islands was mesmerizing. I enjoyed reading it even if it felt too good to be true.

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