Book Review: Along the Broken Bay


I am a huge fan of World War II historical novels whether set in Europe or elsewhere. For the first time I stumbled upon one based in the Philippines and I loved it. Here is a brief synopsis (without too many spoilers):

December 1941. War has erupted in the Pacific, spelling danger for Gina Thorpe, an American expat living in Manila. When the Japanese invade and her husband goes missing, Gina flees with her daughter to the Zambales Mountains.

Desperate for money, medicine, and guns, the Resistance recruits Gina to join their underground army and smuggles her back to Manila. There, she forges a new identity and opens a nightclub where seductive beauties sing, dance, and tease secrets and money out of high-ranking Japanese officers. Gina struggles to maintain her cover and protect her employees.

I enjoyed a number of things about Along the Broken Bay. First off, I knew next to nothing about what happened in the Philippines during the Second World War. As an occupying force, the Japanese were brutal toward both Filipinos and American expats and the author did a wonderful job fictionalizing what occurred during the three-and-a-half years that followed the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She also did a great job engaging my senses; I could feel the sweltering heat and the gnawing hunger the characters experienced. The main characters were interesting and well developed, but a stronger antagonist would have improved the plot.

My only significant criticism is the somewhat predictable Hallmark ending. Overall, I enjoyed Along the Broken Bay immensely. Four stars.

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