Set in 1949, Paula Greenlees’ debut novel Journey To Paradise charts a couple’s move to Singapore as civil unrest grips the nation. It’s supposed to be a new start for Miranda and her husband Gerry but, still grieving after the death of their baby boy, Miranda feels lost in her new home, and the prospect of another baby seems as terrifying for her as the dangerous political situation unfolding as the story develops.
Looking at Journey to Paradise‘s plot development through modern eyes, one sees a rift of control surging when the more progressive-minded doctor, Nick Wythenshaw, suggests – to Gerry’s disapproval – that Miranda could take on a voluntary role at the mission, St. Augustin’s. At this point of the story, the marriage seems doomed to fail – yet, as we are drawn into Miranda’s growing confidence and she makes a difficult (though believable) decision to find her purpose, both her life and the story become more complex.
Greenlees’ vivid detailing of the Singapore setting was enlightening and highly enjoyable: the combination of smells is particularly noteworthy. She writes, too, in an authentic-sounding voice that is honest about grief, loss and finding a sense of belonging in a new environment.
Journey To Paradise, Paula Greenlees (Arrow)
Price: £8.99. Info: here
words BILLIE INGRAM SOFOKLEOUS
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