Title: The Forgotten Pearl
Author: Belinda Murrell
Genre: Young Adult/Historical/Australian Author
When Chloe visits her grandmother, she learns how close the Second World War came to destroying her family. Could the experiences of another time help Chloe to face her own problems? In 1941, Poppy lives in Darwin, a peaceful paradise far from the war. But when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, then Australia, everything Poppy holds dear is threatened – her family, her neighbours, her friends and her beloved pets. Her brother Edward is taken prisoner-of-war. Her home town becomes a war zone, as the Japanese raid over and over again. Terrified for their lives, Poppy and her mother flee to Sydney, only to find that the danger follows them there. Poppy must face her war with courage and determination. Will her world ever be the same again?
As the anniversary of the bombing of Darwin is approaching, February 19th, I was happy to find this book that is set in Darwin around the time of the bombing. I could feel the heat and humidity dripping off the pages and the descriptions of the town, the streets and different locations were vivid. There were the human touches too – the main one being Iris who worked at the post office; Iris bald was killed in the first air raid but for a moment she has come alive in the pages of THE FORGOTTEN PEARL. History has come alive and it is very readable. I could see the planes flying in and dropping their deadly cargo, hear the sirens, the explosions and the screams, feel the very fear of the characters.
I was very interested in the Japanese component of the story. The Japanese were our enemies at the time for sure, but author, Belinda Murrell, shows us the innocent victims when she introduced us to Shinju’s family. For three generations they have lived in Australia, they have Australian citizenship, yet this Japanese family is arrested and transported to an internment camp down in NSW. When the war was over many Japanese were forcibly deported to Japan – despite the fact that they had never ever been there. Too sad.
Poppy was the main character. At the start of THE FORGOTTEN PEARL she is a carefree young girl always getting into mischief, checking creeks for crocodiles before swimming, eating mangos right out of the tree, and looking after her menagerie of pets. At the end, after all she goes through poppy grows up and is a changed person, she is strong, brave with a desire to learn and right wrongs. In many ways the lifestyle in Darwin has not changed, sure it is a vibrant modern city now, but we are still laidback, multi-cultural and largely ignored by the rest of Australia. And we like it that way.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Australian historical fiction.
Rating: B – Great. I really enjoyed reading it.
For more about the author – Click Here
The Forgotten Pearl is book #5 for AWW2013