Clare Flynn was a guest author on my website recently (read it here) and I hadn’t at that time read The Pearl of Penang.
Evie Fraser, paid companion to a crotchety spinster, seems destined for a lonely life. Then out of the blue, a marriage proposal arrives by post. She met the handsome Douglas Barrington just once – at his wedding – but never forgot him. Now widowed, plantation-owner Douglas offers her a new life on the lush, exotic island of Penang. How can Evie resist?
But what are Barrington’s motives in marrying Evie when he barely knows her, and why is he so hostile and moody?
Evie soon finds herself pitched against Douglas on the one hand and the shallow, often spiteful world of the expatriate British on the other. Has she made the biggest mistake of her life?
Flynn’s tenth novel explores love, marriage, the impact of war and the challenges of displacement – this time in a tropical paradise as the threat of the Japanese empire looms closer.
Here is my review of this very enjoyable novel.
I was first attracted to The Pearl of Penang by the gorgeous cover and the lush setting but then was quickly drawn into the story. Evie arrives in Penang to marry a man she hardly knows. The fierce tropical heat is a shock for her but that pales into insignificance as she struggles to understand her new husband’s unpredictable moods.
But Evie’s troubles have only just begun. She is undermined at every turn by one of the ex-pat wives and World War II draws inexorably closer. The Pearl of Penang is the first book I’ve read by this author and I look forward to reading more.