THE WHITE PEARL
Furnivall’s strong points for setting the stage and historical detail come to the forefront even when the story loses its way – there are several unresolved plot strands – or the characters seem less than real. Her ability to strike the perfect mood and evoke a time and place are wonderful and as she illuminates an often overlooked place and events, readers will be intrigued enough to keep reading.
Constance Hadley is the unhappy, bored wife of a colonial rubber plantation owner who feels trapped in a loveless marriage when she hits a woman with her car. Before dying the woman curses Connie and when WWII looms closer and Japanese invasion seems inevitable, Connie, her son, husband and friends flee to Singapore on her yacht,The White Pearl. En route they learn Singapore has been attacked. Fear and tensions rise, especially when they rescue a downed Japanese pilot. Connie’s life is irrevocably changed by the harrowing voyage and she finds an inner strength that allows her to strive for the happiness she craves and a new life. (BERKLEY, Mar., 430 pp., $15.00)