Originally published 1950
Nevil Shute’s most beloved novel, a tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from the Malayan jungle during World War II to the rugged Australian outback.
Jean Paget, a young Englishwoman living in Malaya, is captured by the invading Japanese and forced on a brutal seven-month death march with dozens of other women and children. A few years after the war, Jean is back in England, the nightmare behind her. However, an unexpected inheritance inspires her to return to Malaya to give something back to the villagers who saved her life. Jean travels leads her to a desolate Australian outpost called Willstown, where she finds a challenge that will draw on all the resourcefulness and spirit that carried her through her war-time ordeals.
My copy of 'ATown Like Alice ' is a British hardcover copy that was published as 'The Legacy'. It has been read and reread so many times that the cover is falling apart and the pages are held together by a thread. It is a story of the hardships of war, and the adventures of a new life and falling in love. I'm sure most people reading it now for the first time would think it very old fashioned, but at the time it was published it was very popular. The horrors of the female prisoners being forced to march across Malaysia are hard to believe and the courage shown is remarkable. It is ultimately a story of hope and love and it has been a favourite of mine for many years.
There was a movie made of the story in 1981 starring Bryan Brown and Helen Morse, and I remember enjoying it very much. Is there anyone else out there who remembers that movie? Anyway, if you like history and a good love story, give 'A Town Like Alice' a try, I'm certain you won't be disappointed.