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The White Pearl

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,474 Ratings  ·  221 Reviews
National bestselling author of "The Russian Concubine," Kate Furnivall spins a tale of war, desperation, and the discovery of love off the coast of Malaya.

"Malaya, 1941." Connie Thornton plays her role as a dutiful wife and mother without complaint. She is among the fortunate after all-the British rubber plantation owners reaping the benefits of the colonial life. But Conn
ebook, 448 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Berkley Books (first published 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oh. My. God. This book was terrible. The ONLY thing right about this book was the cover. It's a very pretty cover. Pretty colors. Ooooh.

Ok, so, what's wrong with the book, other than everything? I'll break it down for you.

1) The characters. Every single solitary character in this book was completely unlikeable. There was nothing that connected you to them, or that made them empathetic, or that even made you care if they lived or died (I was actually hoping some of them would die, just so I would
Book Bazaar
Sep 06, 2011 Book Bazaar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Jacqui's review:

The White Pearl

A great read with secrets being unraveled throughout which kept me turning the pages to discover the next twist and revelation.

The main character, Connie, was a convincing heroine. The book explored her determination as a mother to keep her son safe, while doing her best for the casualties she meets along the way - all at great risk to herself.

The story weaves together a diverse group of people at the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, all with their own pers
Mar 20, 2012 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have heard several good reviews on Kate Furnivall's books, but have yet to read them. So when I came across her latest release, The White Pearl, I decided that this would be a good time to read it since the theme revolves around World War II set in Malaya and Singapore during the 1940s. Though I learnt about the history of the Japanese invaded Singapore during my secondary school days and have heard many horror stories on how the Japanese soldiers tormented the civilians then, I thought it wou ...more
Wasted opportunity...should have been five star but it gets the end with the 'good gay' I was crying ( and not with sadness)...

This writer could be a Ken Follet...the first three chapters of this book about an Upper Middle Class British woman in Malaya are gripping: the pace, the scenes, her feelings are so real, so apt...and for once, for a woman of that time.

You think: yes, this is it. Hoorah...after one or two not so good books, this writer has learnt and knows what we want.

Oh dea
Apr 13, 2012 Nicolette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
THIS story revolves around Constance Thornton, a petite British blonde, who moved to Malaya after marrying Nigel Hadley. He is the owner of wealthy rubber plantation.
Life in Malaya is good for the imperial elite until one day Connie is involved in an accident while driving to pick up her son from school and her car kills a Malay woman. The woman curses Connie before she dies.
Connie feels responsible for the woman’s twin children and tries to help them but they are only concerned about making t
Lobke Minter
Jun 04, 2012 Lobke Minter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story that delivers in a somewhat altered style what I have grown to enjoy about Kate Furnivall. Slightly strange to read something set in such a different world to the one the author usuallly inhabits, but apart from the ending it was an enjoyable story with an ambitious niche. Setting it in Malaya during the Second World War is perhaps a small aspect of why the ending that she did write is the only ending possible, but an ambitious "historical" drama needs to take a fuller account of where i ...more
I had heard rave reviews about Kate Furnivall's books by some friends, so did not hesitate when I saw this book was offered as a freebie. And second bonus, the story took place in Malaya and the surrounding area during WW2, close to where I now live.
I should have looked at some reviews before jumping into its reading. Maybe. Though it might have well prevented me from trying it.
I really liked the way the book was written, the context seemed realistic enough, though a bit schematic at times.
I've read all the other books from Kate Furnivall about Russia and China and absolutely fell in love. Naturally, I ran to get this book and was so excited by the prospect of it. Unfortunately I was very disappointed. The characters are hard to relate to, weak story line and just blaghh... I could not wait to finish it just so I could move on to something more exciting.
Apr 02, 2012 Clare rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm so disappointed. I found it difficult to get caught up in this, the characters were unappealling, the narrative held several twists too many and by the end I just wanted to get through it as quickly as possible.

I've read and enjoyed Kate Furnivall's other novels, this just isn't my favourite.
Cheryl A
This book had a hell of a hook for an opening line...”It was not the first time Connie had killed someone.” The White Pearl is the story of Connie Hadley, an English colonial wife living in Malaya in the 1940's . Bored and restless, in a marriage quickly losing its appeal and in an environment hostile to everyone, Connie just wants to feel in control of her own life.

With the opening scene of a car accident that kills a native woman on the sidewalk in front of her teenage children, Connie's life
Jul 23, 2012 Suze rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, its characters and the plot kept me so interested that I lost lots of sleep the last 3 nights. You know...."I'll just read one more chapter"....and then of course, you keep reading until you can't keep your eyes open.

That's how much I like this book! The storyline twisted and turned so much it kept me wondering what would happen next. I liked the way the characters were introduced subtly. I had to keep reading to get to know them.

The location, in Malaya, was vividly described, as were
The book kinda slowly develops in the beginning, but it takes some unexpected turns that leave you rattled for the rest of the book. Like war, life takes turns you didn't expect, and this book makes a great read for it. The unfinished leads throw you off though, and sometimes make for a confusing plot line.
Paul Lunger
Jun 01, 2012 Paul Lunger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In "The White Pearl" by Kate Furnivall, we follow the story of Connie Hadley whose life is turned upside down when the Japanese invade the Malay peninsula in December 1941. The story follows her family, the loves of her life & the family of a woman who she accidentally kills in the books opening moments. Furnivall's story is hard to put down as you go through the emotions of this woman & the events surrounding her as WWII closes in. The title of the book comes from the Hadley family yach ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much more of a page-turner than I expected, with a healthy dose of adventure, history, romance--all set in the South Pacific during WWII. This is the story of a British colonial family that escapes on--what else? their yacht--from the Japanese invasion of Malaysia. Most of the plot twists are fairly predictable to an experienced reader, but they are nevertheless entertaining, and there are a few genuine surprises along the way. Much of the sentence-level writing is strong but is reduced by its m ...more
May 07, 2012 Ashley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This story starts off seeming like it's going to a good place, but then it seems as if the author ran away with the plot. Any attempts at foreshadowing pretty much gave away what was going to happen, therefore plot twists weren't really all that surprising. When they were surprising, they were eyeroll-worthy because it was like "UH OH, THIS CHARACTER IS BAD!" "BUT WAIT! No he isn't."

Basically, by the end of the novel, I just couldn't wait to be finished. I feel like the plot could have been a l
Dec 08, 2012 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and all the characters in it. It was a pleasant surprise because I just picked it really quickly in a hurry one day. It gives a really interesting perspective on World War II in the Far East. I'm not sure if it didn't get a bit farcical in the end but it was still a really good read. I love all the characters and really have a vision of them in my minds eye - this would make a great film and I just love the main character Connie (and secretly want to be her!). This boo ...more
Darlene Jones
Jul 19, 2013 Darlene Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best in genre. Remember James Clavell with his sweeping historical sagas of the Far East? The White Pearl has all those elements. The bad guys are bad, the good guys are bad. Murder and sex and death and war and racism abound. Furnivall has one up on Clavell. Hers is not a hero, but a heroine who is gutsy and wise and loving and kind. She's a killer, but we cheer for her anyway. The opening lines will suck you in and you won't want to stop until you're done.
"It was not the first time Connie had
Marina Maidou
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2016 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
MAP wrote an incredibly accurate review on this book that I wish I had read before purchasing and reading. Props to them. This review will probably contain SPOILERS.

Alright, so look at that cover. Look at the name! This is a book set in Malay. This books main character is an Asian woman clearly by the photo, and she's going to get stranded in a boat at sea with a man from the other side of the war and it's going to be an interesting learning story and she's going to find herself and love and wha
Jul 29, 2012 Kaye rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You'd think an author intending to write a book set in an exotic, foreign culture would at least do her research. Being a proud citizen of Malaysia (present-day Malaya), trust me when I say this book might as well have been based in Portland, Oregon for all the similarities it bears to Malaya (an exaggeration, but you get my point).

It's insulting to us and to the author herself. Please, woman, do your research.
Jun 14, 2012 AliceinWonderland rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Only had to read it because it was about Malaya.
Disappointing...the sad part was the characters and the story had so much potential...
But then weird things just kept happening, one after the other, with no true exploration of the characters, their true deep motivations and feelings.
Honestly Kitty was the best character of the lot!
Melanie Bedard
Jun 05, 2012 Melanie Bedard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was amazed by this story! What I thought was going to be a sad WWII drama was an amazing adventure with everything from steamy bug filled jungles to pirates to sharks to so much more. Could almost see the movie playing as I was reading! Highly recommend!
Val Wilkerson
Feb 22, 2015 Val Wilkerson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books-read
I was so pleased to read the second book I have read by Kate Furnivall. The first was "The Red Scarf" I think Kate has a fabulous writing style, really painting a picture with her words. In this book Connie is living in Mayala with her husband Nigel and their son Teddy. Nigel owns a very successful "rubber company." They are well off, quite comfortable, and own a 65' sailboat which is the "White Pearl". They are beginning to feel the war creeping closer as Japan wants to take over Asia, Pearl Ha ...more
Stacy Scherr
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 15, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in Malaya during WWII, this book details in striking detail the events surrounding one woman as the Far East falls under Japanese control.
Jul 27, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kate Furnivall is my favorite author right now. I love everything she has written, and The White Pearl is no different.

I love the description Furnivall uses to describe the setting and the characters. I felt connected to Malaya and the south Pacific, as well as to her characters. I also really like how she does not end her stories "happily ever after," even though, technically, I guess they did ride off into the sunrise at the end of this one! This story made me want to jump on a boat anywhere a
If this book is anything to judge by setting and world building wise, then Ms Furnivall is a master at this element. I could feel the sweat dripping down my spine and feel the heavy weight of humidity as I read. The author has a real gift for bringing the vibrant and dangerous world of WWII Malaysia and the nearby tropical islands to life. This author is comparable to some of my other favorites in this regard.

The story itself was intense and suspenseful as it needed to be. The author managed her
Toni Osborne
This romantic suspense filled fiction transports the reader back in time to WW11 when the Japanese invaded Malaya shortly after their attack on Pearl Harbour. The British forces were soon overpowered, panic and chaos amongst the people erupted everywhere. One of Malaya’s wealthiest rubber plantation owners, the Hadley’s, with some of their closest friends decide there only chances of survival is to escape to Singapore on their private yacht the “White Pearl”. The epic highlights their struggle o ...more
Sheu Quen
Oct 14, 2013 Sheu Quen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with interested in World War II and able to withstand emotional warfare.
The book was so riveting, so touching, so enthralling, so gut-wrenching, so heart-warming,... So everything that I finished it with a little over a week (10 days, to be exact) since starting it!!! In fact, it was just too much for me that I needed to know what happened at the end of the book that I literally finished the remaining of the book last night! I knew I would pay the price for the lack of sleep at work today but I just couldn't wait until the next day to finish reading it. I desperatel ...more
Apr 29, 2013 Arlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Malaya, 1941. Connie Thornton plays her role as a dutiful wife and mother without complaint. She is among the fortunate after all-the British rubber plantation owners reaping the benefits of the colonial life. But Connie feels as though she is oppressed, crippled by boredom, sweltering heat, a loveless marriage. . .

Then, in December, the Japanese invade. Connie and her family flee, sailing south on their yacht toward Singapore, where the British are certain to stand firm against the Japanese. En
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Kate Furnivall was raised in Penarth, a small seaside town in Wales. Her mother, whose own childhood was spent in Russia, China and India, discovered at an early age that the world around us is so volatile, that the only things of true value are those inside your head and your heart. These values Kate explores in The Russian Concubine.

Kate went to London University where she studied English and fr
More about Kate Furnivall...

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