Hello Lovelies! Please excuse our dust while we do a bit of construction on the blog. We will still be posting exciting reviews, brilliant guest posts, and exciting giveaways but we are in the process of transforming the blog and adding new content and features for you to enjoy.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Island in the East by Jenny Ashcroft

Title: Island in the East
Author: Jenny Ashcroft
Publisher: 2nd November 2017 by Hachette Australia
Pages: 416 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction
My Rating: 5 crowns

Set in 1890s and 1940s Singapore, the stunning Island in the East is a story of love, sisterly rivalry and the true cost of betrayal. Vivid, authentic and utterly beautiful, it's the perfect read for fans of Victoria Hislop, Fiona McIntosh and Kate Morton.
1897: twenty-year-old identical twins, Harriet and Mae, born from a scandalous affair, have spent their lives slighted by gossips. They've carried each other through the loneliness, believing that together they can survive anything. But then their mysterious benefactor sends them to Singapore to live with his relative, the watchful David Keeley, who will choose one of them to marry. In the tension of David's house, a distance opens up between the twins, but it is only when they meet the handsome Alex Blake that their relationship truly fractures, resulting in a life-shattering betrayal with devastating consequences . . .
1941: Ivy, an intelligence officer with the women's naval service and carrying her own ghosts from Blitz-torn London, is posted to wartime Singapore and arrives to the looming threat of a Japanese invasion. Nothing can prepare her for what's waiting on the island - not the unexpected love, nor the strangers from her grandmother, Mae's, past, and the shocking secrets that now echo down through the generations.
With a sizzling love affair playing out against this epic family drama, Island in the East is evocative, atmospheric and romantic historical fiction at its very best.
My Thoughts

Jenny Ashcroft’s debut novel, ‘Beneath a Burning Sky’, I gushed about - it was brilliant! (Review found HERE). It was historical fiction at its best and so much more. So when Jenny’s second book comes along, of course I am all over it - but how could it possibly be as good? Well I am here to tell you that it is - and perhaps it’s even better! Jenny has gone to the next level (if that was at all possible) and taken on an ambitious dual timeline narrative that delivers in every aspect - rich in detail, setting and drama.

‘Island in the East’ is sensational reading - such a beautifully written heartbreaking tale full of drama and emotion that I found it hard to put down. This book surely cements Jenny Aschcroft as a superior author with a talent to create riveting drama with complex characters in luscious settings. A timeslip narrative set in Singapore that moves between the story of Mae and her twin sister Harriet in the late 1800s; and Mae's granddaughter, Ivy, who  is posted to Singapore during the war in 1941. One of the things that sets this dual timeline apart from others, is the strong familial connections as Mae and Ivy are living together initially in London at the beginning of the novel. When Ivy arrives in Singapore, she has no idea that her grandmother had ever lived there. The mystery and tales of both, life at the turn of the century and then during the war in Singapore, are rich and enticing. I had never really read much about the Japanese invasion of Singapore and it was rich in detail that was a real eye opener.

This book ticks all the boxes for me: exquisite writing, complex characters, two beautiful love stories for both the twins and Ivy (Alex and Kit will make your heart beat faster) and an exotic, tropical setting. Filled to the brim with everything from the brutality of war, to passionate soul connections, to heartbreak and betrayal, to tragedy and hope - this is such a compelling read that it will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.

‘Don’t waste time,’ Alex said, voice kind, but with that sadness in it. ‘You never know how much you have.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

No comments: