The Australian Fiance

Written by Simone Lazaroo
Review by Melissa Galyon

The aftermath of war is examined in this love story of two individuals from two completely different worlds: a young Eurasian woman from Singapore and an Australian photographer from Broome. Set in the late 1940s following the Japanese occupation of China, the couple meets and falls in love. The young woman, living with her mother and baby sister in the family shophouse, reluctantly leaves her family behind as she travels to Australia as his fiancé.

Once in Australia, the young woman attempts to fit in. Eventually, it becomes apparent that she faces racism and abandonment when his parents express disapproval of his choice. Dealing with past transgressions during the war and the unfulfilled need for acceptance from her fiancé, the young woman must come to terms with her past, present and future.

The young woman’s need for forgiveness and love recurs frequently, even as she varies between the basic needs for nourishment and security. The author takes tremendous care in bringing life to specific, nameless characters immersed in their own daily struggles while the world surrounding them works on reconstruction from the war. The Australian Fiancé serves as more than a superficial glance at times of turmoil. It examines realistic human relationships under extraordinary circumstances.