Title: The Forgotten Promise
Author: Paul Greenlees
Genre: Historical Fiction
Malaya, 1920: Two girls make a promise in the shadows of the jungle. A promise that life won’t let them easily keep.
Malaya, 1941: Ella is running her late father’s tin mine in the Kledang hills, while Noor works as her cook.
When the war that felt so far away suddenly arrives on their doorstep, Ella is torn apart from her family. Her daughter Grace is left in Noor’s care as Japanese soldiers seize the mine.
Ella is forced to make an impossible choice that takes her to England, thousands of miles from home. She is desperate to be reunited with her loved ones. But will the life she returns to be anything like the life she left behind?
I’d like to thank Zoe from Zooloo’s Book Tours for contacting me to be involved in this blog tour.
Anyone who regularly follows my blog knows I love historical fiction, particularly when it centres around WWII. Listening to my nan tell tales of her life as an evacuee was fascinating and made me want to learn more about this part of our history. What I loved about this story was how it focused on a different area of WWII. Seeing how the war impacted other parts of the world, particularly Malaysia, was eye-opening, I was instantly invested in Noor and Grace’s story. I read with trepidation and hoped my worst fears wouldn’t come true.
I felt so much sympathy for Ella as she was forced into an impossible situation. I can’t begin to imagine what was going through her head as she embarked on her journey to England, not knowing if she would ever return to Malaysia or see her husband and daughter again. She was a likable character that showed so much strength and determination, I was willing Ella to keep fighting throughout.
Noor had nothing but my admiration from the moment the Japanese entered the villa. Her willingness to protect Grace and keep her safe melted my heart and as I’ve already stated I hoped and prayed that they would both be okay. Noor turned out to be very cunning and resourceful. The bond between her and Grace was undeniable, I loved the little twists as the story continued.
The friendship between our two leading ladies takes an interesting turn, it is a bit of a rollercoaster from start to finish. From their sisterly bond as children to being separated by oceans during the war, you wonder how changed their friendship would be and how Ella would feel knowing Grace is being cared for by Noor.
A beautiful story told with sensitivity and emotion. I’m very excited to see what Paula Greenlees writes next.
Paula has lived in various places, including Singapore, where she was based for three years. It was while living in Singapore that the first seeds of her debut novel, Journey to Paradise, developed. The crumbling buildings and the modern high-rises popping up almost overnight seemed to be a metaphor for the social diversity and change in Singapore at that time. However, as a young mother living there, she wondered what it must have been like as a post-war colonial wife living miles away from the familiarity of home. Despite the gloss and glamour of colonial living, women were frequently stuck in unhappy marriages, often unable to follow careers or have the independence to divorce if things went wrong – which they inevitably did.
Her writing, although set against exotic backgrounds, is set on the cusp of change – the shift from colonial dominance to independence. She likes to dig into a variety of issues and her main protagonist is, in many ways, a metaphor for the political and social events surrounding her at that time. It isn’t always an easy journey, but in the end, success comes her way.
The Forgotten Promise tells the story of Ella, a young Eurasian woman, whose life is turned upside down by the Japanese occupation of Malaya, and it is through her lens and that of Noor, her cook, that the narrative is revealed.
As for Paula – she has always wanted to be a writer. As a little girl she used to spend hours writing stories and turning them into books, even using flour and water as paste to stick the pages together. She spent hours writing poetry and plays as a teenager and has always written short stories in her spare time. It is this need to write and a love of reading that led her to take a degree in English and European Thought and Literature, and later a Masters Degree in Creative Writing.
Apart from her writing, Paula hosts a regular author interview on her website. You can find out more about new and existing historical fiction authors, such as Liz Trenow, Frances Quinn and Louise Fein, by hitting the ‘author interview tab.’
As a writer, she feels it is important to have a wide range of interests – not only does it adds flavour and layering to prose, but allows it allows time for ideas to mull and to percolate. People watching in cafés is one, long walks is another. And food! Good food is essential to her and she loves to cook using the best ingredients she can find. As well as a love of travel, she is a keen amateur photographer and her next trip takes her to Cambodia where she is hoping to discover an exciting hook for a new book – you can find out more about her progress there by following her on Instagram.
Paula has a grown up daughter and lives in Warwickshire with her husband and an extremely friendly Labrador.
Follow her at:
Buy Links – https://geni.us/edPa4
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour!