The White Pearl by Kate Furnivall
I have found myself reading yet another story about Malaysia just before World War II. A rubber plantation owner and his wife escape from the Japanese invading army on their 45 foot sail boat. Hiding on small island, under trees, they manage to evade the Japanese aircraft always overhead.
The White Pearl
I just finished reading and reviewing The Black Isle and, a while ago, reviewed A Town Like Alice. Both books took place in Malaysia just before, during, and after World War II. Again, The White Pearl is a compelling tale about a rubber plantation owner and his wife who live in Malaysia. They must leave their estate and flee from the invading Japanese army. They sail on The White Pearl, a 45 foot sail boat, and flee to small islands in the South Pacific. Hiding under trees during the day, and staying off the beach and out of the water during the day, gives them the protection they need from the Japanese army. The humidity is oppressive. The heat is horrid. The bugs and spiders and snakes are abundant. Not my kind of place to live.
At the start of the story, Constance is driving to meet a friend at a swim club. The car she is driving goes out of control and she hits a Malaysian woman and kills her. The Malaysian woman's twin children are present and see the whole accident. Constance is frought with anxiety about the accident and, the next day, goes to the woman's home to help her children in any way she can. She takes the children under her wing and hires them to help on her husband's rubber plantation. Something she would regret. Her husband is drawn to the young boy .... something Constance doesn't find out until much later.
Constance, her husband, her son, some friends and the twins sail to Singapore only to watch the Japanese bomb the city. Off they sail to the islands and evade the Japanese for many months. They rescue a Japanese pilot who had to ditch his plane. He becomes their prisoner. The prisoner takes her son's little dog and throws it into the ocean. Her husband dives into the sea and saves the little dog, but loses his life to a shark. This is quite a scene.
Eventually Constance and the captain of her boat are captured by the Japanese. The general just happens to be the father of a Japanese man that Constance accidently killed (her lover) and has to confess to his father. Quite remarkably she is not killed and escapes with her captain to be reunited with her son.
This is quite a story. I hope you will read it and enjoy it as much as I did.