The White Pearl

Written by Kate Furnivall
Review by Ann Northfield

Strap yourself in, cup of tea at the ready, and prepare for some excellent entertainment; you will struggle to tear yourself away from this thrilling novel. Set in Malaya and beginning shortly before the Japanese invasion in the Second World War, this book begins with a bang and doesn’t let up until the last page. It is relentless, action-packed yet character driven, and the steamy heat and atmosphere of those tense days just oozes off the page. I have read virtually all Furnivall’s novels and thoroughly enjoyed them but this is probably top of the list for me.

Constance Hadley is the wife of a rich rubber planter, but all is not well in the marriage. Things are about to turn worse as the Japanese invade, and the Hadleys, accompanied by their son Teddy, Malayan twins, and an assortment of other vivid characters decide to escape on the Hadleys’ yacht. The excitement and tension builds as the danger rises and the numerous sub-plots on the boat begin to come to fruition. Everyone, it seems, has their own agenda, including the bar owner Madoc who, it seems, will do anything for money. They encounter bomb raids, pirates and the power of the sea in its various forms.

Very highly recommended for the good old-fashioned virtues of great story-telling, The White Pearl conjures up of the atmosphere of the times and strong characters who remain with the reader after the book is reluctantly closed.