Book Review: The White Pearl by Kate Furnivall
The White Pearl by Kate Furnivall
Kate Furnivall is one of my favourite authors. She writes sweeping, epic historical fiction that you can completely lose yourself in, and her latest book, The White Pearl, is her best book yet! Set in Malaya in 1941, it follows the story of Connie, a glamorous, but deeply unhappy wife of a plantation owner. She leads a privileged but closeted lifestyle and she is an increasingly unhappy marriage. She is also hiding a dark secret that will eventually change her life in unexpected ways.
The book opens with Connie accidentally running down a local Malaya woman, who survives only long enough to curse her and her family before dying, her two grieving children there to witness the scene – and after that it does seems that Connie’s life is cursed. War breaks out and the gentle town of Palur is attacked by Japanese and Kate is forced to flee on the family’s boat, The White Pearl, with her husband and child, three friends, an enigmatic boat dealer named Fitzpayne – and two stowaways – the children of the woman she accidentally killed.
Once on the boat, tensions soon escalate in their desperate bid for survival in waters that are increasingly hostile. This is a story that happens on a large canvas, but Kate’s brushstrokes for the small details, and her great characterisation, make this is highly addictive read. It manages to combine heart-palpitating action with intimate and touching moments. For a historical read packed with passion, danger, heroism and intrigue, this is a book not to be missed.