Thunder was beginning to roll across the water. The storm would soon arrive.
Victoria Khoo is seventeen, and very sure of her destiny. She will marry Sebastian Boustead and become the mistress of the family mansion, next to her own family’s home in Amber Road. When she learns that Sebastian has arrived back from England with a fiancée in two, she is sure there is some kind of mistake. They are meant to be together. But within days, Victoria has more weighty issues to deal with, as the war reaches Asia and Singapore surrenders to the Japanese.
Soon Victoria’s family is separated – her parents and sisters fleeing to the family rubber plantation, and Victoria living with her stepmother (her father’s number two wife), grandmother and half siblings in Singapore. Under Japanese occupation, Singapore is no longer the idyllic British colony of Victoria’s childhood. She must do what she can to survive the war and protect her family. Yet she will not abandon her dream of one day fulfilling her destiny as Sebastian’s wife, even though she is now responsible for ensuring his fiancée’s safety, and she herself has a new friendship with a charismatic Australian.
Amber Road is an absorbing tale of one woman’s experience of wartime Singapore. Victoria is, at the start of the story, a self absorbed teen and it is intriguing to watch her growth amidst terrible hardship. At the same time the reader is aware that much of the determination she shows is something she already possessed, and her self absorption is one of the tools which helps her survive.
With romance, suspense, history and more, Amber Road is a well told tale which leaves the reader wanting to follow the characters into their future to see what unfolds next.
Amber Road, by Boyd Anderson
Bantam, an imprint of Random House, 2013
Available from good bookstores or online.