Book Reviews

Elephant Moon by John Sweeney

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List Price: £8.99

 

Paperback: 240 Pages.

Published: 01 September 2014 by Silvertail Books

ISBN: 1909269107

EAN: 9781909269101

As the Second World War rages, the Japanese Imperial Army enters Burma and the British rulers prepare to flee. But the human legacy of the British Empire will be left behind in the shape of sixty-two Anglo-Burmese children, born to local women after affairs with foreign men. Half-castes, they are not acknowledged by either side and they are to be abandoned with no one to protect them. Their teacher, Grace Collins, a young Englishwoman, refuses to join the European evacuation and instead sets out to deliver the orphans to the safety of India. She faces impossible odds because between her and India lie one thousand miles of jungle, mountains, rivers and the constant, unseen threat of the Japanese. With Japanese soldiers chasing them down, the group s chances of survival shrink - until they come across a herd of fifty-three elephants who, with their awesome strength and kindness, quickly become the orphans only hope of survival. Based on a true story, Elephant Moon is an unforgettable epic tale of courage and compassion in the midst of brutality and destruction.

Reviews

5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Outstanding

Set in 1940s Burma we meet Grace Collins, a young teacher in a school

for orphans. The Japanese are coming and they need to get out of the

country. Unfortunately the headmistress dithers, trusting in the might

of the British Empire, whilst the wealthy ex-pats are fleeing the

country. Trapped with 63 unwanted children they set off in an old bus in

a race against time to get out of Burma before the Japanese catch up

with them.

This is an incredibly moving book on so many levels. I

used up so many emotions whilst reading it - anger at the desertion of

Burma by the upper classes, the appalling treatment of the unwanted

"half-caste" children, the wonderful acts of small bravery which helped

Grace & the children to escape......the list goes on. I very much

suspect that this is a true to life picture, not just of the people of

the time but also people everywhere.

The author very much uses the

language of the time in this book. I don't mean swear words as such but

derogatory terms which were normal at the time but rightly out of use

now. Although I don't condone words like this in every day life, their

insertion into the book really emphasised some of the chracters

attitudes and was right for the period.

The description in this

book is outstanding. I could feel the fear and tension in the

atmosphere, the terror of the refugees on the road, the vibrancy of

Mandalay, the dust, the smell.......the author isn't a man of many words

but those he uses he does with great effect painting a picture for the

reader.

The characters in this book are very three dimensional.

Grace is a very believable and human heroine. She gets cross and

frustrated, she makes mistakes but all the while she stands true to the

children she is seeking to protect. Bertie Peach is a man who turns up

intermittently in this story. He is a great character who seems weak but

actually stands up for what he believes in even though it cost him his

career. The author doesn't spend time trying to acquaint us with all 63

of the children but just with a handful - Ruby and Emily the older girls

who are so naive in this rough world they have been thrown into. Young

Joseph, a lad with learning difficulties who is loved and cared for by

all and Molly who watches everything so closely. There are many other

wonderful characters, both good and bad, who make this a very colourful

and full story.

In case you haven't worked it out by now, I loved

this book. The story flowed well and I struggled to put it down. I

sincerely hope that this author writes more books as I shall certainly

be keeping an eye out for more.

 
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