Monday, 27 March 2017

Bamboo Road Book Tour

Thailand 1942: Sirinya and her family are members of the Thai underground, who risk their lives to resist the World War Two Japanese occupation and to and help British prisoners of war building the Thai-Burma railway. The events of those years have repercussions for decades to come. The book tells Sirinya s wartime story and how in the 1970s she returns to Kanchanaburi after a long absence abroad, to settle old scores from the war years.

Bamboo Road is volume three in a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy that includes Bamboo Heart and Bamboo Island (the books may be read in any order).

Bamboo Road
by Ann Bennett

Publish Date: 1st March 2017
Publisher: Monsoon Books

About The Author

Ann Bennett was born and raised in a small village in Northamptonshire, UK. She read Law at Cambridge and qualified and practised as a solicitor. During a career break, to have children, she started to write. Her father had been a prisoner of war on the Thailand– Burma Railway and the idea for a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy came from researching his wartime experiences. The research took her back to Asia, a place she loves and has returned to many times. She lives in Surrey with her husband and three sons and works in London as a lawyer.

Today I am thrilled to welcome the lovely Ann Bennett on to the Blooming Fiction blog feed. Here to tell us about her favourite historical authors, read on to see who Ann loves to read when she's not busy in court or writing.

Guest Post

It probably won’t come as a surprise that many of my favourite authors of historical fiction write about periods in history that fascinate me, or about India and South East Asia in which I have a
particular interest. Several of my best-loved writers weren’t actually writing historical fiction at all when they wrote their books. They were writing about the period in which they themselves lived, but to read them now is to experience that time and place through their eyes. For example I love W.

Somerset Maugham’s ‘The Painted Veil’ about colonial Hong Kong and a frivolous affair that has disastrous repercussions, and his short stories about Malaya and the Pacific Island in the 1930s. They capture perfectly the lonely, isolated existence led by some British ex-pats in the outposts of empire, something I also tried to convey in ‘Bamboo Island’. Graham Greene is another favourite author of mine, in particular his tales of declining empire such as ‘Our Man in Havana’ and ‘The Quiet American’.

But when it comes to books actually written as historical fiction, top of the list for me has to be Sebastian Faulks’ War Trilogy. I’ve learned more about the conditions men suffered in the trenches and about the first world war from ‘Birdsong’ than from studying the period at school or from reading any history book. It was that book that first got me thinking about writing about the second world war in South East Asia through the eyes of someone who experienced it.

I also loved Paul Scott’s, Raj Quartet and his Booker Prize winning novel ‘Staying On’. They are demanding reads at times, densely packed with politics and historical facts. But the characters are brilliantly drawn, particularly flawed policeman Ronald Merrick, and retired missionary Barbie Batchelor. I read those books whilst travelling around India in 1988 and they taught me a great deal about the Raj and about the end of British rule in the sub-continent.
I’ve enjoyed all William Boyd’s books, but especially his historical novels; ‘The New Confessions’, ‘Any Human Heart’ and ‘Sweet Caress’- three books that take the reader on a journey through the twentieth century from the point of view of one sympathetic and inspiring character.

J.G. Farrell sadly died very young, but wrote two wonderful historical novels, the ‘Siege of Krishnapur’ (another Booker Prize winner) and ‘The Singapore Grip’. He was another brilliant historical writer, managing to bring tragic situations to life with a sort of farcical black humour. I also greatly admired Tan Twan Eng’s two books ‘The Gift of Rain’ and ‘The Garden of Evening Mists,’ set in Malaya during the Japanese occupation and the Malayan Emergency. Both books are beautifully written, atmospheric and elegant and I’m hoping he’ll write more like them!

For a lighter, but no less absorbing read, I really enjoy bestselling writer, Dinah Jeffries. She writes the sort of books I love to devour on holiday. Her first novel, ‘The Separation’, about a family torn apart by the Malayan Emergency made one long haul flight pass in a flash for me. I also thoroughly enjoyed the ‘Tea Planter’s Wife’ and am looking forward to reading her latest release set in India, ‘Before the Rains’.

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Bamboo Road

Bamboo Heart

Bamboo Island


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