The Lovers’ Room

Written by Steven Carroll
Review by Mike Ashworth

It is autumn 1945 and Allen “The Spin” Bowler, an Australian in the British Army, is sent as an interpreter to work with the American occupying forces in Tokyo. Shy, retiring and bookish, Allen is attracted to Momoko, a young Japanese woman who is also working as an interpreter for the allied forces. They soon begin an intense love affair and Bowler finds himself shedding his bookish outlook as his love deepens. However, as time flows by Bowler begins to doubt Momoko’s love and commitment, and their love affair ends brutally in a single act of mindless violence. They meet again in London many years later, and Momoko forces Allen Bowler to face the consequences of his actions. Switching between 1973 and 1945, the book is well written and avoids the obvious cliché of a “Pinkerton” style relationship. Momoko is a strong, independent woman whose loyalty to Yoshi, a former Japanese soldier, is the spark which ignites the flame that destroys their love, while the flowering of Bowler’s feelings lead to his growing self- development, but not necessarily emotional maturity. Fans of historical romantic fiction will enjoy this tale.