The Red Thread
Charlotte and Robert are sibling orphans, now adults, who initially moved from Madagascar to Scotland and now reside in Singapore in the 1830s. Robert has been fortunate enough to secure a post as head of the police, and sends for Charlotte, knowing their future lies in this exotic but quickly evolving prosperous land. Charlotte quickly falls in love with the town she thinks of as “varied and faceted as a fabulous jewel.” The foreign characters are intriguing as well, such as Coleman, the architect Irishman who has built most of the town in solid, beautiful style to rival any European city yet with its own natural shapes and flowers to enchant every view. Then there is the small group of wives and mistresses who come from their own mysterious Asian backgrounds yet have created an insular camaraderie to strengthen them in the terror-laden moments from both native men and beasts.
But the real threat to their security lies in the slowly emerging love between Charlotte and Zhen, a coolie who also belongs to a powerful Chinese triad group. Theirs is a passionate affair doomed to disaster. Zhen is assisted in attaining this love by his fellow coolie, Qian, a man unsure of where his sexual interests lie. Yet Zhen relies on his faith in Taoist poetry to surmount all difficulties.
How will it all end or begin? The Red Thread is an exceptionally well-written novel whose descriptions and subplots concerning the land, religious beliefs, and relationships are so engagingly presented that the reader is sure to want to keep this passionate novel, which celebrates meaningful union rather than division. A beautiful story to relish on every page.