Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Posted By amy @ 5:35 am | No Comments
Have you Eaten Rice Today?
by Apple Gidley
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Vine Leaves Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
The Emergency rumbles through the jungle, the kampongs, and towns as the communist uprising in 1950’s Malaya adds poignancy to the salutation, ‘have you eaten rice today?’ when hunger drives some terrorists to surrender.
Simon Frampton returns to Malaya as a rubber planter after failing to settle into civilian life in England after the War. His knowledge of the jungle is again put to use when a war-time covert force is reformed and renamed, Ferret Force, made up of Malays, Chinese and Europeans.
Dee Cunningham, an Australian nurse longing to escape the confines of Townsville, Queensland, joins the British Red Cross to help set up and run rural clinics in Malaya.
The violence of guerrilla warfare becomes the backdrop to their love story, but miscommunication leads to sadness. It is not until sixty years later, when Simon’s grandson Max comes to stay at his Dorset farm, when he finds a box filled with envelopes with Australian stamps, and the truth comes to light.
Have You Eaten Rice Today? is a poignant exploration of Malaya’s violent history, merdeka, and how love is found in unexpected places.
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“Moving between England, Australia and Malaysia, between the past and the present, between the old and the young, this is both a cracking story with compelling settings, and an absorbing and moving testimony to the complementary powers of romantic and familial love. It explores the meaning of a happy ending, and stresses the importance of seizing second chances, however late in the day they are presented to us, and however temporary the joy they bring.” Rosie Milne, Circumstance; Truth and Lies in the Malayan Jungle
“I found this book difficult to put down. Excellently written with memorable characters faced with the dangers of guerrilla warfare, interlaced with a once in a lifetime romance… in the hands of this master storyteller all the threads of the story come together in a wonderful climax…. at times Gidley’s writing reminded me of Pearl S. Buck and Nevil Shute.” Sally Cronin, Life is Like a Mosaic
“An absorbing story set in 1950s Malaya during the Emergency uprising. The backdrop and historical period are brilliantly evoked, from the dangers of jungle warfare to the bustle and glamour of Penang. At its heart is a poignant love story – the second half of the book follows up in more modern times – with strong, engaging characters about whom you come to really care. Based loosely on the author’s own parents, this is an emotional and satisfying read.” Janet MacLeod Trotter, The Raj Hotel Series
“A gripping read that reminded me of the haunting sadness of classics such as A Town Like Alice and Brief Encounter, while becoming thoroughly absorbed in the authentic descriptions of post-war Malaya, rural Queensland, and sleepy Dorset, which the author describes with a pen dipped in affectionate familiarity.” David Field, The Tudor Saga Series
“Gidley’s vivid writing pulls you into the past and into the steamy, predator-ridden jungles of wartime Penang with adept story-telling that flows between 1948 and present day. The author creates a wraparound sensory experience for not only historical fiction buffs, but anyone drawn to intense, character-driven, drama-filled suspense.” Anne O’Connell, Deep Deceit
About the Author
A transient life has seen Anglo-Australian Apple Gidley live in countries as diverse as Trinidad and Thailand, Nigeria and the Netherlands, and another eight in between. St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands is home, for now. Her roles have been varied-editor, intercultural trainer for multinational corporations, British Honorary Consul to Equatorial Guinea, amongst others. Gidley started writing in 2010 and is now working on a contemporary novel whilst researching for two more historical fiction books. She has short stories in anthologies, and also writes a regular blog, A Broad View.