BOOK REVIEW: Amber Road (Boyd Anderson, Bantam)

amber roadIn Europe World War II rages, but in Singapore 17-year-old Victoria Khoo is preoccupied with her plans to marry Sebastian Boustead, the son of a great British merchant family, despite the fact that he is engaged to Elizabeth Nightingale. When the Japanese invade, Sebastian and his Australian friend Joe Spencer join the army to defend Singapore, and Victoria, refusing to flee the city with her family, goes to live with her father’s second wife, where she finds herself entertaining the Japanese troops and protecting Elizabeth from the soldiers. When Victoria runs into Joe, who knows where Sebastian is, she is as determined as ever to become Sebastian’s wife, but also finds herself drawn to Joe’s charms. The end of the war brings numerous complications, not the least of which is Victoria’s divided love interests. While Victoria starts off as a naïve and selfish young girl, she soon shows admirable resourcefulness and courage when her world is turned upside down. Her obsession with Sebastian and her lack of concern for her family is harder to understand. This refreshingly not-so-perfect love story, combined with a well-researched depiction of Singapore during World War II, will appeal to fans of historical fiction who don’t mind a love triangle thrown in. Amber Road is Boyd Anderson’s fourth novel and his third historical fiction novel.

Sanna Nyblad is studying editing and publishing at RMIT and is the co-founder of Possibly the best book club you’ll ever join*. This review first appeared in the Summer 2012/13 issue of Books+Publishing magazine. View more pre-publication reviews here.