A daughter’s promise to her dying father, uncovers wartime secrets that cast dark shadows over three generations of one family.
In 2015, 90-year old Grace Summers receives some old sketches – the work of her deceased husband, Jack. One sketch is of a beautiful Indian woman in a street in Kuala Lumpur. This brings back bitter-sweet memories of the 1940s, when Grace met and married Jack, whose world had been torn apart by his time as a prisoner of war in Burma.
In 1988, Grace’s daughter, Louise, embarks on a journey to Burma to fulfil a promise she made to Jack on his death-bed. She meets a young Burmese man, Zeya, an activist, and gets caught up in pro-democracy demonstrations, with tragic consequences.
In 2015, Louise and her daughter Eve, retrace Louise’s steps to Myanmar, to research Jack’s wartime experiences and to search for the girl in his sketch. But they are unprepared for the long-buried secrets their journey will unearth…
Once again, Ann Bennett has written a moving story set in the East, where past history resonates through a family. In her competent hands, an accurate description of the turbulent history of Burma plays out in a tale of sadness and secrets.
In A Daughter’s Promise three women’s lives have been affected by the tragic life of Jack Summers who was imprisoned by the Japanese army and made to work on the notorious Burma railway during the second world war. Grace looks back to the days when she nursed Jack on his return to England and found herself falling in love with him. Their daughter, Louise recollects her terrifying visit to Burma during pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988 and the secrets she has kept ever since, while grand-daughter Eve, finding herself at a crisis in her life, is determined to make her own journey to present day Myanmar in order to discover what happened to her grandfather.
The relationships between the generations are sensitively explored and we share their investigation into the mystery of the beautiful Indian woman whom Jack had painted. At first the reader might find Jack irresponsible but as the contents of his wartime diary are revealed, the true horror of his experiences and his selfless actions to help others, engage our sympathy. And from this tragic background comes the germ of happiness for Eve and Louise. A captivating story of 20th century love and suffering, which is well worth reading.
A Daughter’s Promise is available this week on Amazon UK
My Review of The Foundling’s Daughter by Ann Bennett