Island in The East
Published By : Sphere
Genre : Historical Fiction
Set mainly on the atmospheric island of Singapore in the 1890’s and 1940’s this wonderful story explores identical twin sister rivalry, love and betrayal. Chapters bounce between the two different centuries in Singapore with the addition of chapters set in London.
There are so many great characters in this tale but for me, the twins Mae and Harriet, who were born out of wedlock causing much scandal as well as having the burden of carrying this through the decades wherever they go, are the most interesting and charismatic. When they are sent to Singapore by their benefactor to stay with David Keely, to whom one must marry, a strain is put on their previously unblemished sisterly relationship. This is further tested when they meet Alex Blake whom they both fall in love with but only one will win his heart!
Then we have Ivy, Mae’s Granddaughter, who is posted to Singapore in the 1941. As she is severely traumatised by two events which occurred on the same day, she looks at this as an opportunity to move on with her life and taking all of her courage she decides to leave her beloved Grandmother behind. Surprises and mysteries unfold as she is blindly introduced to people from Mae’s past on the Island and secrets are revealed that stuns everyone.
This beautifully descriptive written story has much breath holding moments including the time spent in POW camps which I particularly found harrowing yet it is such an addictive tale that I didn’t want it to end.
I enjoyed Jenny Ashcroft debut novel Beneath A Burning Sky, but for me this book surpassed it. A must for historical fiction lovers and I give it a brilliant 5 star rating.