Monday, November 16, 2009

Books I've read this week - The Piano Teacher

The Piano Teacher © 2009 by Janice Y. K. Lee

ISBN: 978-14-311653-0
Publisher: Penguin Group
SRP: $15.00

About the book: “This is the haunting story about a man and two women whose fates collide in Hong Kong During the Japanese invasion of World War II and it’s aftermath ten years later.

This sweeping tale of romance, secrecy, and betrayal alternates between the lives of two vastly different women whose destinies are linked by the man they both love. In 1941, Trudy Liang is a beautiful Eurasian soialite who falls headlong into a passionate relationship with Will Truesdale, a newly arrived Englishman. But their love affair is soon threatened by the invasion of the Japanese as World War II overwhelms their part of the world. Will is sent to an internment camp, where he and other foreigners struggle daily for survival. Trudy remains outside, forced to form dangerous alliances with the Japanese – in particular, the malevolent head of the gendarmerie, whose desparate attempt to locate a priceless collection of Chinese art lead to a chain of terrible betrayals.

Ten years later, Clair Pendleton comes to Hong Kong and is hired by the wealthy Chen family as their daughter’s piano teacher. A provincial English newlywed, Claire is seduced by the heady social life of the expatriate community. At an elegant cocktail party, she meets Will, to whom she is instantly attracted. She soon begins an affair…only to discover that her over is hiding a devastating past. As the threads of this spellbinding novel intertwine, impossible choices emerge – between love and safety, courage and survival, the present, and, above all, the past. Claire learns that sometimes the price of survival is love”

This story is told in two parts that intertwine. The first takes place right before WW II starts and during the takeover of Hong Kong by the Japanese, and the second, 10 years later, as Hong Kong is making its recovery. Some of the characters overlap and it’s their experiences that make the book. The author grew up in Hong Kong and also did a tremendous amount of research that is proven by the detail in the story.

There is a lot more to this story than just the love affair between Claire and Will. Claire isn’t even in Hong Kong as the relationship between Will and Trudy begins before the start of the war. When the Japanese invade, Will is injured and imprisoned with the other Europeans and Americans. Trudy, who is half Portuguese and half Chinese must make her way on the outside dealing with the Japanese.  Will survives the war but at what price? What secrets is he hiding? What part does Claire have in bringing some of them to light and can she survive when her own secrets are uncovered?  The descriptions of what the people went through during the invasion and after are graphic and vivid. It was a very gripping story and one that will stick with me for some time.

This book was provided to me for review by Penguin Books.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Kat! I followed you over from Book Blogs.

The Piano Teacher looks intriguing -- I just love the cover.

Anonymous said...
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