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Will Truesdale is an Englishman who just arrives in Hong Kong for work in 1942. He falls into a passionate love affair with Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian heiress. However, their relationship becomes troubled when the Japanese invade making the effects of WWII hitting close to home. Will is sent to an internment camp, where he and other foreigners try to adapt to their new living situation while struggling for survival. Trudy refuses to enter the internment camp and remains on the outside. She forms a dangerous alliance with a military head. The general is desperate to locate a collection of priceless Chinese art and is willing to do anything even if it leads to friends betraying each other.
Claire Pendleton arrives ten years later in Hong Kong and is hired by the wealthy Chen family to give their daughter piano lessons. Claire and her new husband, Martin moved for his work in the water department. Claire is immediately taken with the social life of the expatriate community. During an elegant cocktail party, Claire runs into Will and she feels immediately attracted to him. As they continue their affair, Claire realizes that Will his hiding his past and a dark secret. As she beings to dig into his past, she unearths dangerous secrets and Claire understands the true price of survival.
The novel was interesting at first but, then the story started moving very slowly. I didn't really care for any of the characters. I felt like they weren't developed enough for me think of them as real people. The story felt a bit discombobulated and told in fragments. I felt like that ruined the flow of the novel. I didn't understand the motivation behind some of the characters. For example, Will takes ten years before he reaches out to the Chens about something that happened in the war. Did something happen when he was with Claire that set him off? Why did the Edwina decide to spill the beans on what happened during the war? Was she trying to prove something or did someone wronged her? These were some of the things I wanted more details on and not the Hermes scarf that Claire had.
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