Based on a true story, Rodgers presents a moving novel that pays tribute to the power of an adventurous spirit.
In 1938, 17 year old Adriana Blaauw considers leaving behind her family in Rotterdam and move to the island of Java in the (then) Dutch East Indies. Her uncle manages a tea estate, and he and his wife describe their beautiful home at Tjiboeni. After some initial hesitation, the protagonist undertakes the long sea voyage to Java. The story beautifully narrates Adriana’s daily experiences in the Dutch East Indies under colonial rule. She finds happiness in her new home, revels in her independence and ultimately falls in love with an Australian national, Charlie. Despite the beauty and ease of her exotic lifestyle, Adriana is not exempt from heartbreak. The realities of World War II and the arrival of the Japanese put an end to her idyllic life. She and her family spend years in a Japanese internment camp, somehow surviving the violence, starvation and disease to be liberated at the end of the war. Reunited with Charlie, Adriana journeys to Australia, Java, Holland and eventually settles in New Zealand. Based on the accounts and memories of the real-life Adriana Blaauw, Rodgers’ novel is an engaging tale set during a turbulent time. Adriana is a compelling figure, and Rodgers outlines an complete portrait of a woman who struggles with weakness, yet remains a study in strength and endurance. The cast of characters surrounding her, some real and some fictional, depict a period in history that is likely unknown to many American readers. Although Rodgers’ occasionally struggles with language anachronisms that jar the reader out of the past, she does an admirable job of bringing the 1940s to life.
Inspirational historical fiction based one woman’s remarkable life and travels.