DubaiReader's Reviews > The White Woman On The Green Bicycle

The White Woman On The Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
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's review
Nov 06, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: canadian-bk-grp, library, 2010
Read in November, 2010 — I own a copy

A steamy tropical paradise.

It took me a little while to get into this book. The ending is at the beginning so we know from the start that Goerge's love of Trinidad wins over Sabine's desperate need to return home. My interest was sufficiently piqued, however, to find out what went on in the intervening years, why Sabine was writing unsent letters to Eric Williams and who he was.
But I think, at the end of the day, that I too, fell under the spell of the island, I didn't want Sabine to persuade George to return home - I could hear the call of the cycadas, feel the moisture in the air, and wanted to stay.

When Sabine and George arrive at Port of Spain, they are newly wed and ready to spend a couple of years having an 'adventure', before starting up home in Britain. George has a short term contract and they intend to return when it is completed. It is not long, however, before Sabine starts to suspect that George has other ideas, may even have had them before he arrived. His contract is renewed and he starts to build a house, he even adopts Trinidadian nationality. Sabine doesn't stand a chance.

I could really identify with their first impressions - their first home, the hot weather and the strangeness of it all - it reminded me so much of my early days as an expat in Dubai. And expat life does not suit everyone; Sabine was an excellent representation of that.

In addition this was a work of historical fiction, covering the period of time from the 1950's when Trinidad and Tobago became independent of Britain and underwent the awkward, tense, transition into a new country. The majority of expats returned home but still Sabine and George never quite managed to leave.

A very atmospheric book with excellent characters. Well worth a read, especially if you enjoy international fiction.

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