This one has been bugging me ever since I finished it, but I can't quite put my finger on why!
I think it might be because, if I am honest, I couldn't tie together all the threads and I wanted to. I mean things like, why was Claire portrayed as a kleptomaniac, how exactly did Melody get Trudy's emerald, which pieces were actually in the China Collection which caused so much trouble? How did Edwina Storch manage to big up Claire to such an extent that the reader was meant to believe she was pivotal - why? because she was sleeping with Will Truesdale? Who knew the truth about Locket - did Victor Chen? (and why did she get such a daft name ?). What were the documents which Will distributed from Dominick's burial place in Macau? Answers on a postcard, please!
Also, like Ragwort, although the plot was tidied up, I still didn't feel as if the characters were sufficiently well-drawn to enable the reader to understand all their motivations, particularly Will. It was as if the author had a great idea in her head and wanted to suffuse the story with enigma, but did rather too good a job - leaving me slightly baffled and too much unrevealed. It didn't quite work.
Loved the setting though, looked at some of the history like many others on here and learned something! I was also intrigued by the device of Trudy and Claire both being Will's lovers, just 10 years apart, and the dual-timeline kept me interested.
So, although I enjoyed parts of this book and took quite a lot from it, it was not a resounding success. Either it needed more refinement/editing, or I am in the thick club with Ragwort !
Ooops, sorry, forgot to comment. I enjoyed this. Like others I knew very little about the war experience of residents in this area and it was interesting to have the ethnic subtleties explored a bit. Reading the author's reflections at the end was interesting as she openly said that Trudy was her first real person and the rest kind of went from there. I think Claire was a bit obviously less complete as a character. But I liked the twist at the end and there needed to be a flash forward scenario therefore!
I did enjoy reading this but found it all a bit rushed at the end and I didn't quite understand what had happened - perhaps I am a bit thick. I thought it was very well written and from a period & place in history that I hadn't really thought clearly about so found it very interesting. A good choice.
I enjoyed this one. I lived in the far east for a while and am very familiar with Hong Kong and Macau but had no idea that the civillians were treated so brutally there in WW2. The flipping between decades kept me interested and I read it very quickly. Good choice
This book took me almost the whole month to read. I didn't like the constant flipping between decades, and was totally uninterested in the piano teacher herself. (I have forgotten her name already and only finished the book last night!)
The final third of the book was more interesting, but if it hadn't been a book club book I would not have read that far. Sorry.
I didn't start one as I assumed Simpson would <copout excuse.>
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were insightful and full of flaws which I loved. I felt the way it skipped between eras with the characters remaining so present was wonderful. The subject matter really struck a chord with me. The tales of what the soldiers did to their captives were harsh. It was interesting how Will became so separate from it all.
Another reason i liked it was it reminded me of my grandad. He was based in Macau at the end of the war. My nan never allowed him to discuss any of this in detail with me. Reading this book has made me realise how I should have listened more to him when he was around.
It's a shame the author hasn't written any other books yet as I would definitely read them.