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  • A town like Alice

    A wonderful journey of love and determination.

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  • Classic Historical Fiction

    In 1941, Jean Paget is a young Englishwoman working and living in Panong Malaya, she's one of 32 women and children who are captured by Japanese army when they invaded Malaya and they have no idea what to do with them? They are told to start walking to a camp, they have a few Japanese soldiers as an escort and no idea where they are going! They set off the next morning, but the women are not dressed or wearing appropriate shoes to walk long distances and are also very unfit. At the beginning of the march things are not too bad, they have some money and jewellery they can trade for fruit, extra food a long the way and the Japanese soldiers sometimes carry the children. During the march, many of the women and children start to fall ill, mostly they suffer from tropical diseases malaria and dysentery. Jean becomes the leader of the group, she speaks the local language, she soon discards her shoes and starts dressing like a native in a sarong. For seven months the women and children walk, the army doesn't have a camp for them at all, when they arrive at a town the officer in charge tells them to keep walking and they do. One day while walking, Jean meets a cheeky Australian soldier called Joe Harman, he's a prisoner of war and has a job of driving trucks delivering supplies to the railroad the Japanese are building using prisoners of war and local men as slave labour. He's tells Jean he's a Ringer on a huge cattle station in the Gulf Country in Queensland, he borrows things from the Japanese, one day he gets caught, he's severely punished and Jean has no idea what happened to him after that? The remaining women and children finally stop walking, they receive permission to stay in a small village, to help plant and harvest rice. A few years after the war ends, Jean is back in England, all alone and working. However she receives an unexpected inheritance and it inspires her to return to Malaya to give something back to the villagers who saved her life. She decides to build a well to help the women in the village and also a wash house. Jean's decides to continue her journey, she travels to Australia to a remote town called Willstown and to try to find out what happened to Joe Harman? The author Nevil Shute doesn't hold back, the language and terms he uses in this part of the book are typical for the time in Australia, some people might be offended by it and I wasn't. This is a very remote area of Australia, it's full of flies, red dirt, pubs close at 6pm, no women are allowed in the front bar, most of the locals are men and very few women live here. Jean discovers life in Australia for women living in such a remote area is really hard, it's hot, has no shops, no doctors, no fresh fruit & vegetables, no milk and no jobs. I really enjoyed reading A Town Like Alice, it made me cry, laugh, it also has a little romance, it's really is a classic Australian book and I gave it five big stars. I have shared my review on Goodreads, Twitter, Australian Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and my blog.

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