The Last Goodbye
This novel is the sequel to A Time to Remember. It is a love story set during the Second World War in Hong Kong and Singapore and begins with the period leading up to the Japanese invasion, its occupation and the consequences for those who had chosen or were unable to leave Hong Kong.
Elizabeth Kingsley, a budding young concert pianist, and Adam, her devoted older husband, have left Europe to escape the war. Instead Elizabeth finds herself involved in a more far-reaching personal battle. Her passionate involvement with Raefe Elliot, her brotherly feelings towards her husband, and her love of music, which bind her to Roman Rakowski, a conductor with an international reputation, combine to make a highly charged mixture.
Margaret Pemberton has given her readers a taste of the expatriate community and their pre-war lifestyle in Hong Kong. She has also introduced them to the social taboos of the period, which precluded a marriage between Tom and his Chinese girlfriend Lamoon. The most intriguing character for me was Julienne, whose appetite for affairs with attractive men and her love of life made her stand out.
This novel captures the transitory, fleeting and intense nature of love and friendship in a time of war. It has a considerable number of detailed sex scenes, which may not suit the reader searching for a gentle romantic read.