Reviewed by Victoria Linney
This book has a pretty cover. It makes you want to pick up the book and find out what it is all about. The cover is a picture of a weeping willow (as per the title), this, however gives nothing away as to what the story is about. On reading the book the name does however makes sense.
The book is set in Malaya in the 1950’s during the ‘Forgotten War’. It tells the story of British siblings; Alec and his sister Pat. They are the children of a British Army officer stationed in Malaya. It also tells the story of another set of siblings Chau Kum and his younger sister Ah Ying, who live with their Chinese Grandfather in one of the resettlement/new villages. Their grandfather is a respected Elder in the village and although he lives in Malaya he considers himself first and foremost Chinese. He therefore has opposing views to his grandson who has joined the M.C.A (Malayan Chinese Association), their motto is many races one people. The story takes place in the midst of the war between the People Inside (also considered Terrorists) and the army. Those in the settlement camps seem to be caught in the middle and have curfews to adhere to and limited access to food and drink while having to work in the paddy fields, The logic behind this is that if they have hardly any food themselves they cannot pass any extra on to the ‘people inside’. There are also severe penalties for those found to help.
Ah Ying and her brother have opposing views about the war going on around them. Ah Ying is restless and headstrong while her brother believes in racial integration in the way of the MCA.
Alec and Pat on the other hand get caught up in a terrorist ambush on a journey back from Singapore.
This is a very easy to read book even though it does cover a difficult subject and there is a tragic ending for one of the young people. It is however an exciting read. I just wish is was a little longer as it is less than 100 pages. The length of the book will not affect your enjoyment of the story.
At £5.99 the book is perhaps a tad pricey as it is quite short but I enjoyed the story and couldn’t put it down so it helps make up for it. The book itself is very good quality as although I have read it, it does not look like I did. I would certainly recommend this book to others.
RRP: £5.99 (paperback)
Available to buy from Austin Macauley here.