Firstly I wish to thank Isabella Ralphs of Penguin Random House for inviting me on the Blog Tour for Journey to Paradise by Paula Greenlees
ABOUT THE BOOK
When Miranda moves to the Alexandra Quarter with her husband Gerry, she hopes it will bring the fresh start they need.
Though their life in ex-pat society is full of luxury, Miranda can’t help feeling like an outsider, and her relationship with Gerry becomes increasingly distant.
When doctor Nick Wythenshaw encourages Miranda to work within the local community, she finds new purpose away from her protected world that opens her eyes to a new way of life.
But as riots erupt across the region and danger draws close to home, Miranda must make an impossible choice.
Will she sacrifice everything she holds dear to find happiness?
It was supposed to be a new start for Miranda and her husband Gerry when they moved to Singapore. The story set in the late 1940s at a time of unrest. Miranda is still grieving after the tragic death of their baby boy, but times are very different now than they were. Grief counselling was still years away, and fear of having another baby terrifying for her. It put a strain on her marriage and left her with no one to turn to for support.
There was a great divide of equality between men and women, with women staying home while their husbands worked. Miranda didn’t fit in with the other British wives, especially as her neighbour had a baby of her own, who seemed to be constantly crying. It is all too much for Miranda. After meeting the very dashing doctor Nick Wythenshaw, he suggests that she could take on a voluntary role in the community. Not something that her husband approves of.
I loved this book which transported me back in time. There was a divide between men and women, rich and poor and the colour of your skin. The British saw themselves as superior. Descriptions of Singapore ooze of culture and tradition. The British were very heavy-handed in trying to change everything.
The characters were portrayed perfectly. Although Gerry is not the most understanding man, I did have to see things from his point of view too. He did try to get his wife involved. I could understand his needs too, he had been patient for much longer than a lot would have waited in that time.
A beautiful story of a bygone era, that isn’t so long ago.
I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paula has lived in various places, including Singapore, where she was based for three years. It was while living in Singapore that the first seeds of her debut novel, Journey to Paradise developed. The crumbling buildings and the modern high-rises popping up almost overnight seemed to be a metaphor for the social diversity and change in Singapore at that time. However, as a young mother living there, she wondered what it must have been like as a post-war colonial wife living miles away from the familiarity of home. Despite the gloss and glamour of colonial living, women were frequently stuck in unhappy marriages, often unable to follow careers or have the independence to divorce if things went wrong – which they inevitably did.
Her writing, although set against exotic backgrounds, is set on the cusp of change – the shift from colonial dominance to independence. She likes to dig into a variety of issues, and her main protagonist is, in many ways, a metaphor for the events surrounding her at that time. It isn’t always an easy journey, but in the end, success comes her way.