Why did I love this book?
The first half of this book is a fictionalized account of a true story of colonial women and children who had been en route under Japanese guard to a World War II prison camp in Malaya. When their Japanese guard died before they found the camp, the women and children were now without an escort, and were in effect prisoners of their own inability to manage by themselves in the jungles of inland Malaya. Under a competent, courageous young Englishwomen, they found shelter in a Malay village, where they had to learn to make themselves welcome guests to villagers who had barely enough to survive on without these additional mouths to feed. The tact and forbearance on both sides is what makes this a moving, hard to forget, story by one of Australia’s best-loved novelists.