by Janine (Wyoming, MI): Wow! This was one moving, hard-to-put down, beautifully written book. Set in Malaya during WWII, the book follows Cecily Alcantara and her children (Jujube, Abel and Jasmine) between February – December 1945. This is a period in which the war is unraveling for the Japanese, and we experience these days from the eyes of the “conquered” four characters, experiencing some of the atrocities visited on the Malayans by the Japanese. However, it was not always so for Cecily as the story shifts from time to time back several years to when she meets a Japanese spy, soon-to-be General Fujiwara. Cecily is desirous of being more than a housewife of a middle level Eurasian bureaucrat as she is tired of the British racism she experiences in her capacity as wife to Gordon Alcantara. As a result, in her naivete, she begins spying for Fujiwara in the belief she’s ushering in an “Asia for Asians” only to be confronted years later with the traumatic results of her “secrets.” The alternating perspectives of time and the four characters makes this book so fascinating and compelling. As stated in the book’s introduction, the war period was not discussed by those Malayans who survived and as the book reveals there are many reasons for that – you have to read the book to find these out. You will not be disappointed if you do.