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The White Pearl

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  1,099 ratings  ·  189 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...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Berkley Books (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,925)
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MAP
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...more
Melody
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
Nicolette
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...more
Book Bazaar

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...more
Jeffrey
Wasted opportunity...should have been five star but it gets three...by 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...more
Lobke Minter
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
LaFleurBleue
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.
Howe...more
Alexandra
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.
Clare
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...more
Suze
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...more
Paul Lunger
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
Jenny
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
Ashley
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...more
Mandy
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
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...more
Marina Maidou
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaye
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.
AliceinWonderland
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
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!
Stacy Scherr
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen
Set in Malaya during WWII, this book details in striking detail the events surrounding one woman as the Far East falls under Japanese control.
Emily
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...more
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
Oct 14, 2013 Sheu rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Arlene
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...more
Devil
What a saga this was!
There's always something happening in this book, the characters are always in the move, you never really know what to expect so in that sense it's a fun, entertaining book.
I liked the 1st half of the book a lot more than the 2nd. Even though it wasn't a book that gripped me from the beginning because there is a lot of unpleasantness in the lives of the characters and they are not the most loveable and fun creatures on earth...but when I got into it, I enjoyed it. Unexpected...more
Judi/Judith Riddle
When Nigel proposes to Connie, he also offers her an exotic life as his wife at Hadley House, the family mansion in Malaya (now named Malaysia) where he runs a very profitable rubber tree plantation. She does not hesitate to say yes but after a few years and a son named Teddy, she realizes that theirs is a cold marriage and she dreams of returning to her home in England. She is resigned to stay in Malaya and tries to make her marriage work for the sake of her son.

The novel opens in 1941 when Co...more
laura
This book lived up to the authors reputation of suspense, twists, emotion, and the historical fiction of a time period that most don't know much about. Constance is the main character - a pretty blond of English descent who came to Malaya with her husband who for generations has owned a rubber making business. She suffers greatly from loneliness in her marriage, as her husband does not have physical contact with her and she longs for that connection. Her life revolves around her only child, her...more
Sx
Connie Hadley is a typical colonial wife of her time, but suffering under the stifling heat and weighed down by her guilt and secrets of her past. As the Japanese draw closer to Malaya and invasion looks more and more possible, Connie enlists the help of an enigmatic man, Fitzpayne, and together with her family and her friend Harriet's family, they flee for Singapore, said to be the impregnable fortress at the time.

This book was as meandering as their journey from Malaya to Singapore and just s...more
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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
More about Kate Furnivall...
The Russian Concubine (The Russian Concubine, #1) The Red Scarf The Jewel of St. Petersburg (The Russian Concubine, #0) The Girl from Junchow (The Russian Concubine, #2) Shadows on the Nile

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