Eight hundred women and children begin a 1,200-mile journey on foot across Japanese-occupied Malaya. At journey’s end, only 30 will still be alive. This is the story of one woman, of her ordeal, and of how she was saved by the sacrifice of an Australian soldier. It is a story of rare individual courage in the face of certain death, and hope in the face of despair.
©1950 William Morrow & Co, Inc. (P)1990 Recorded Books
Initially, I was totally captivated by this story of Jean Padgett, a young English woman working in Malaya who became a Japanese prisoner of war. The hardships that the women and children endured during their trek to one nonexistent prison camp after another and the alternating kindness and inhumanity of their captors kept me reading (well, listening; this was an audiobook) at a rapid pace. Under such an unlikely circumstances, one wouldn't expect to fall in love, but we do sense that it is happening to Jean when she means a resourceful Australian named Joe Harmon. But the war intervenes . . .
The novel opens with the narrator, a solicitor, tracking down Jean to tell her that she has just come into an inheritance, and it is to Noah that Jean tells her story. After hearing all she endured, he could hardly be more surprised when Jean tells him her plans for the money: to return to Malaya.
I won't spoil the book by telling what happens next, but there are quite a few surprises in store. I have to admit that the last third of the novel--the part that reflects the title--was somewhat less interesting to me. Still, this is one of those books whose title was familiar but about which I knew nothing, and overall, it was worthwhile.
Very well read by Neil Hunt. He does the accents well and isn't roo heavy-handed in reading the female roles.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
800 women are forced to walk 1200 miles by the Japanese in Malaysia/Sumatra and 30 survive the ordeal. The British, Dutch and assorted other women were captured by the Japanese with the fall of Malaya and Dutch Indochina unfortunately because they were civilian, history forgot about their ordeal as POWs. This story, based the first part of the story by featuring a British woman during the marching ordeal and tells her story as a historical novel. The second part of the story tell of what happened to her after the war. The courage she showed to survive and the development of her leadership and negotiation skills in helping others to also survive is a good foundation for what she does after the war. She goes to England and works for 3 years and her great uncle dies and leaves her a trust. She then goes to Malaysia and builds a well to help the villagers that help her during the war and then off to Australia to find a Aussie solder that helped them. She stay in Australia and becomes a business women. The skills learned during the war helps her in Queensland outback. This story provides many lessons for those who want to learn and a great story for those who want entertainment. Neil Hunt did a great job with all the accent narrating this story. You will enjoy this book.
The story has stuck with me/taught/informed about a time I did not know about.
Went out with some friends from Australia - they could not get over that I did not know the book 1951 and I did not feel it dated. Just explains so much about a country and humans.
I really enjoyed this book and was surprised that it was written long ago. A good book to listen to while children are in the car. Loved the Australian accents but some of the Aussie slang was very repetitive.
Yes, I would recommend this audiobook highly. The storyline was interesting and I liked the historical aspect of the book. The narration was excellent.
Top 5. I loved everything about this book and presentation!
When Jean begins to think about making shoes.
The "Trustee" who narrates the story.
Neil Hunt did a fabulous job on this. I would listen to this again!!
I really enjoyed this book, I thought the book was going to mostly about a group of English women prisoners marched around Malaya during world war 2, But that is only part of the story. It is about an enterprising young woman who not only survives her ordeal in Malaya but becomes a leader in that situation and then the book goes on to tell about her extraordinary life. It is mostly told through the words of her solicitor who is charged with dolling out her unexpected inheritance.
The Book takes you to Malaya, London and Australia and is part adventure and part love story. It is beautifully told and I was surprised to find out it was writeen in 1950, I would have never guessed that.
This is my granddaughter's picture! She is my love.
I have heard of the death march of WW2 and was expecting a story like that with women and children. The very first part of the book has that and I was very into it, when the story changes. This woman survives the struggles of the war to become a successful woman in Australia. Most of the book is about the woman living in Australia, not about the 1,200 mile walk. I was most disappointed.
I saw this title in a "top 100" list somewhere and thought I'd give it a run. I'm glad I did. Others have criticized the use of an intermediary in the story (the lawyer), and indeed the novel could have been written without him, it certainly doesn't detract from the story. It's just how the author chose to present it.
The novel is dated in it's perspective. If you are one of those who must layer modern thinking and conventions on top of works written years ago, you will likely be offended by some of the perspectives presented in this novel.
If you are mature enough to be able to realize that this story reflects how it was when written (and be glad you don't live in that period), then you should find this book very rewarding.
Absolutely loved this book. So may years after the fact I found that it was still written with sensitivity and finesse. Lovely! And the narration was perfect.
The 3 main characters were all favorites.
This was my first Neil Hunt and definitely will not be my last.
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