Review of a novel written by Francesca Brill
Francesca Brill’s debut novel weaves an intriguing plot of passion and politics against the backdrop of a complacent British community oblivious to the threat of invasion by Japanese forces in Hong Kong during World War II.
Stevie Steiber, a confident, outspoken American journalist, writes for a political magazine owned by her colleague and lover Wu Jishang. Major Harry Field, a British Intelligence Officer sent to investigate Jishang and the magazine, becomes all-consumed by Stevie and they fall passionately in love.
The occupation of the island by a brutal Japanese regime presents them with frightening challenges during a tumultuous point in Hong Kong’s history. Graphic accounts of the effects of daily life under Occupation reveal the harrowing realities of war on a civilian population and the desperate choices some people make during terrifying circumstances between loyalty and survival.