Under the Sugar Sun (The Sugar Sun Series, Book 1)

Written by Jennifer Hallock
Review by Laura Fahey

Strong-willed and determined Georgina Potter is the central character in Jennifer Hallock’s Under the Sugar Sun, the intensely absorbing first volume in her “Sugar Sun” series set in the Philippines in the early years of the 20th century, when the islands were the unlucky object of America’s desire to build an empire for itself.

The story begins in 1902, toward the end of the Philippine-American War, and Georgina has accompanied her fiancé to Manila in part to find her missing brother, who has been lost in the chaos of that war.

Hallock has obviously done a great deal of research into her time period; both her American and her Filipino characters feel sympathetically believable, and the charged political climate of the day is drawn with refreshing nuance. The complicated history of America’s imperial adventures in the Philippines is seldom represented in English-language historical fiction, and if this first volume is any indication, this series will be a groundbreaking fictional treatment.