I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (William Morrow) for promotional purposes.
What a book! I personally found it to be a brutal and heart-wrenching read because the story really hit home for me. Short personal story: I am half Filipino and my maternal grandparents lived through World War II in the Philippines. My grandpa lived in Bataan, which was one of the centers of the war. My mom told me that my grandpa would describe that time in life as always running and never having any shoes. In fact, his birth records were destroyed during the war. When he came to America, he had to have a paper from the Philippine government certifying that his birth certificate was destroyed during the war. It’s crazy to think that my grandparents lived through some of what happened in the book.
This book gave me goosebumps multiple times while reading it. I knew the Japanese occupation was harsh, but reading about the reality of it was something else. I’m so glad that the book shed light on life under their occupation and didn’t hold back on its depictions. It is so overlooked and needs to be acknowledged. I also liked how the book subtly touched upon the Philippines and their previous colonizers (Spain and the US).
It is evident the author put in a tremendous amount of research in writing this story. Both Tess and Flor’s storylines were compelling, engaging, and well thought out. I liked how their stories showed two different points of view (one from an American nurse and one from a native Filipino working as part of the resistance) and how their stories intersected.
Overall, if you are looking for a different take on World War II or just want to learn more about the Philippines during the war, I highly recommend this book!
Connect with me!