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The White Pearl [Paperback]

Kate Furnivall
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Dec 2011

Malaya, 1941. As the glamorous wife of a plantation owner, Connie Hadley's life appears pampered and comfortable. But she is hiding devastating secrets that could destroy her marriage.

Life is changed for ever on the day of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. As Japanese Zero aircraft attack the town of Palur, Connie takes the decision to flee to Singapore on the family's boat, The White Pearl. She sails with her husband and son, three friends and the enigmatic boat dealer Fitzpayne, who is the only one who can navigate the islands of the South China Sea.

In desperation, short of food and constantly in danger, fear strips away good manners; tensions arise on the yacht and anger causes deadly divisions between friends . . .

Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; Export ed edition (1 Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781847443403
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847443403
  • ASIN: 1847443400
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,094,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate Furnivall was born in Wales, has worked in publishing and TV advertising and now lives by the sea in Devon with her husband, with whom she has two sons.

Product Description


Exhilarating . . . An engrossing read (Publishers Weekly)

The White Pearl has all the ingredients of the best kinds of holiday reads - grand adventure, drama, romance . . . The setting is sweeping, the story big, and the description vivid (Courier Mail)

Book Description

She longed for freedom, but it came at a price

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb 5 Feb 2012
By Emma
Format:Kindle Edition
I've read all of Kate Furnivall's books and THE WHITE PEARL is her best yet. From the very first page I was drawn into the heat and grit of 1940s Malaya - the sights, sounds and smells are masterfully conjured: I really felt like I was there - and the lives of her characters, especially Connie. Connie is a fantastic heroine to root for: she's strong but flawed, feisty but fragile, and the suffocation she feels in her marriage is brilliantly matched by the oppression of her surroundings. The Concubine novels are wonderful but for me the refreshed location and new players in this showcase Kate's skills on a wider canvas. THE WHITE PEARL is an exciting, exhilarating, extraordinary book which is beautifully written and researched. I couldn't put it down.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The White Pearl by Kate Furnivall 1 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I felt this was rather a weak book.

'The White Pearl' is a historical romance set in Malaya during World War II. The central character, Connie, lives near Kuala Lumpur with her husband Nigel, a British colonial plantation owner, and their young son, Teddy. When Connie accidentally causes the death of a native woman in a road accident, it is the beginning of a terrifying ordeal. Connie believes the dead woman has cursed her and that her two orphaned children, Maya and Razak, are intent on avenging their mother.

When the Imperial Japanese army invades Malaya, Connie and her family try to escape on the family's boat, The White Pearl. On this perilous journey Connie has to come to terms with secrets from her own and her family's past.

The greatest thing about this book is the scene-setting. The author appeals to all the senses with her descriptions of the sights, sounds, heat and smells of the jungles and shanty-towns of this colonial outpost. I was also impressed with the portrayal of Connie's character: she comes across as fragile and feminine but with a shining inner strength.

Many of the other characters, however, are implausible and I was unable to believe in them. I could not visualise, for instance, Connie's love affair with Sho, and the dialogue was stilted and unconvincing. This is a character-driven book where the plot acts only as background. The failure of the characters to drive the story is a major criticism therefore.

It is not a bad book. Worth reading for the unusual and exotic location, evocatively descriptive writing, and fascinating vignette of colonial life. But I shan't be keeping it on my shelf with a view to a future second reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Light and Entertaining 4 July 2012
This romantic suspense filled fiction transports the reader back in time to WW11 when the Japanese invaded Malaya shortly after their attack on Pearl Harbour. The British forces were soon overpowered, panic and chaos amongst the people erupted everywhere. One of Malaya's wealthiest rubber plantation owners, the Hadley's, with some of their closest friends decide there only chances of survival is to escape to Singapore on their private yacht the "White Pearl". The epic highlights their struggle on the open sea and their fear when they learn their original destination has also become a target and has lost its status as a safe haven. Their only option is to seek refuge on a small island and hope the terrors of war will not reach them.

The author's great imagination is her strong suit. A lot of attention has been put in detailing the scene, conveying the culture, the political diversities and the language. Her writing portrays the time, the place and the mood exceptionally well. The story is mainly told in the third person and the plotting is quite diversified. It is a war time tale of betrayal, survival, the quest for love and freedom, also the price paid to enjoy some of the perks we take for granted today. As a side bar in the form of flashbacks the author covers Connie Hadley's affair with a Japanese businessman before the war. The pacing is slow and steady, the characterization although diverse lacks in realism at times, some of the players were under developed and others dragged on a little too much.

This is a fairly light and entertaining novel, however having read others from this writer I would not consider it one of her best, all that said and done I did enjoy it for what it is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of twists and turns 5 Feb 2013
By Mags
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book quite heavy going to start with as I started to understand the characters as it jumped a bit from one to the other. The book starts with Connie having a serious accident in Malaya where she is a plantation owners wife. From there the characters are all intertwined with her life there and the route it takes in a very short time, once I got into the book I had difficulty putting it down, there are twists and turns that are so unexpected and heartbreaking and it 's so nice to find a book that is unpredictable. It's not a quick read as it has 430 pages and the writing is small but this added to knowing there was more excitement to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 21 Oct 2013
By Debbie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As always, you feel connected to the characters. It was also interesting to learn more about that region at that point in history. A very good read
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid and Compelling 10 Mar 2012
This is one of those books you put everything else on hold for. I was gripped from the first brilliant page and swept along by the breathtaking passionate story of Connie Hadley's journey through Malaya and through the intricate complexities of her own life. Deeply layered, full of surprises and twists. With an edge of darkness, it is written in magical prose. The characters are unforgettable, beautifully drawn and full of energy and idiosyncrasies, especially the lovely Connie who is someone with whom I was eager to travel every step of the way. I loved it. Congratulations, Kate Furnivall.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Super book, I'm now a Kate Furnivall fan
Published 1 month ago by Smokie
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping story but disappointing end.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was gripped by the story though do feel that the end was rushed
Published 2 months ago by Anne
5.0 out of 5 stars A pageturner!
I enjoyed reading this book and once started, I could not put it down. Good characters and an interesting plot. Not always believable but it is a novel so read and enjoy.
Published 3 months ago by Clare
5.0 out of 5 stars Wartime in Far East
The characters came to life so easily interacting with interest. The backgrounds were believable and needed to help the story. It finished too soon for me!
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. Kerrie R. Paterson
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read
This story started a bit slowly and I wasn't sure that I could stick with it, however it soon gathered pace and turned into a gripping story. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Happy Reader 8
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Only one word to describe this book -brilliant. I picked it up on KIndle's deal of the day and was unsure if it would suit my tastes. I'm delighted I was totally wrong. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. Mary Grant
5.0 out of 5 stars The White Pearl
An excellent book with many unexpected twists in the story line and vivid descriptions of the jungle and the Japanese invasion. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Wendy
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
I really liked this book and felt that much research had been put in. The characters were very plausible and a good insite into pre-war life.
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. S Brooke
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping gutsy, adventurous
This is the fifth book I have read of Kate Furnivall, and probably one of her best.
She is not afraid to inject some real life action, and kill off a few of her... Read more
Published 5 months ago by "Daydreamer"
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't put it down, exciting
I am not quite at the end of this book but eager to pick it up at every opportunity.
fast moving , exciting , powerful characters, I am loving it .
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. L. E. Harnett
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