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A Town Like Alice (Vintage International) Paperback – February 9, 2010
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“A ripping tale of budding romance and grace under pressure.” —The Times (London)
"A harrowing, exciting, and in the end very satisfying war romance." —Harper's
From the Inside Flap
A TOWN LIKE ALICE tells of a young woman who miraculously survived a Japanese "death march" in World War II, and of an Australian soldier, also a prisoner of war, who offered to help her--even at the cost of his life.... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
When an old Scottish man dies, London solicitor Noel Strachan learns that his sole heir is a young woman named Jean Paget. Strachan acts as her trustee, dispensing money as needed under the will, but the old lawyer soon finds himself falling for the young lady. Before Strachan has done more than shown her London's culture, Paget is off to Malaya to repay the village where she stayed during WWII by digging a well. She convinces Strachan to release the money by telling the story (based on real life) of how she and other women were held prisoner by the Japanese, but eventually found refuge in a small village. Before they go there, they encounter a young Australian, Joe Harmon, who is crucified for stealing food for them. When Paget returns to Malaya, she learns that Harmon survived and returned to Australia. Meanwhile, Harmon has gone to England to seek her, having thought she was married when they met in Malaya. They eventually meet up in Australia (Strachan, out of his own love for Jean, has gently attempted to frustrate the meeting). Jean, determined to make her home in Harmon's home area, sets out to make the godforsaken town into "A Town Like Alice"--a modern town like Alice Springs.
It is a fascinating story. But overlooked in every review I read is the role of the old solicitor, Noel Strachan, who finds himself in love with Jean some decades too late, and is unable to serve as a rival to Joe Harmon. He soon surrenders his unexpressed (even to himself) love out of regard for Jean's interest. His unrequited love, lends a poignant note to the book.
There are no villains.Read more ›
Jean Paget is that young woman, and she is an extraordinary person, making her story very compelling reading.
The weaving of the threads of her life - her WWII experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese in Malaya; her fateful encounter with Australian Joe Harmon; the inheritance that allows her to leave the mundane working world; her interaction with solicitor Noel Strachan; and her search for her true destiny - is done in the most masterful way.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is deeply satisfying reading. It is everything a novel should be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am an avid reader, and I found this book to be poorly written. There are so many far better books to read, this was a waste of time.Published 5 days ago by mag7
I'm not sure what's going on, but I purchased this Kindle edition of 'A Town Like Alice' and Nevil Shute did not write whatever was delivered to my Kindle. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Jules
I first read this book 50 yrs ago. A delightful story well written that flows easily. Fascinating insight to the plight of women in Malaya during the war.Published 9 days ago by GERALD
This was a story of tragedy and war. It was a story of sadness and pain in war times in that part of the world. But it also had a hope of survival and love. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Lois G. Kemerer
I read this book for my book club. I learned information about World War II that I hadn't known before, so I found it to be interesting. It is a fast read, several hours. Read morePublished 17 days ago by dee
It was horrifying to read about these women and what they endured during WWII and it was necessary to add this info to my personal database of knowledge. Read morePublished 18 days ago by P. Tibbs
This edition has been heavily condensed and has left out much material from the full book
Unfortunately the listing for the kindle book doesn't give a clue that the book is... Read more
BE CAREFUL! This is just a short plot summary. This is not clear from the Amazon description and it is very disappointing. Read morePublished 23 days ago by L. Howe Steiger