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Bamboo Heart

(Bamboo Trilogy)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Thailand, 1943: Thomas Ellis is a prisoner-of-war on the Death Railway. In stifling heat he endures endless days of clearing jungle, breaking stone and lugging wood. London, 1986: Laura Ellis, a successful City lawyer, travels to Asia to retrace her father' past and discover the truths he has refused to tell her including how he got his Bamboo Heart. Heart-wrenching histor ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 7th 2014 by Monsoon Books (first published June 1st 2013)
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  58 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Family, revenge, war, friendship, loyalty.
Siobhan Daiko
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I met Ann Bennett through the peer review site YouWriteOn and have watched her wonderful book grow through several drafts to become the beautifully written historical novel you can read today. Harrowing at times as it deals with the horrors of the Death Railway in Thailand during World War II, Bamboo Heart's main theme is the human spirit and how the characters fight to survive against all odds. It's a story that needed to be told. Tom is a fantastic protagonist and Ann Bennett really brings him ...more
This review first appeared on our blog, where we also talk to the publisher, founder of Monsoon Books, Philip Tatham:

I was of the generation that grew up with the 1980s TV series Tenko, set in a women’s labour camp run by the Japanese. The female prisoners were all picked up after the fall of Singapore in 1942 and kept in terrible conditions, forgotten by the British War Office, and subjected to ordeals beyond the imagination.

For a later generation this t
Karen G Clesen
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

By now, most of us know of the bridge on the River Kwai, or seen the movie "Unbroken". This little gem was written as a sort of mystery, flashing back and forth between WWII and the daughter's life in the 80's. It involves her father's life during WWII, as well as the daughter's life at age 26. You will find this just as harrowing and just as evil as all Japanese prison camps were, but unusual with the daughter following his mystery with her own set of 80's problems. I loved this book!
Charlotte (Bookmarks and Vlogging)
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my thoughts.

Despite being a fan of historical fiction, I can't say that I'm big on anything to do with the World Wars. Perhaps due to studying them for years at GCSE and A-Level, I just don't reach for fiction that surrounds them. That changed, however, when I learnt about the Bamboo trilogy which centres around WWII Asia - something I know nothing about thanks to school curriculum foc
TheBookishFairy (Lauren)
These books can be read in any order as they do not follow a narrative one after the other and I have currently only had the opportunity to finish ‘Bamboo Heart’. However, based upon what I have read in this first book, I will certainly be picking up the next two (so keep your eyes peeled for those reviews!)

These books are not the kind that I would usually pick up in a bookshop, however, I am very grateful that I was sent them as I found it very difficult to put ‘Bamboo Heart’ down. It is an are
Richard Kandler
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This outstanding novel is a powerful reminder of what prisoners of the Japanese suffered during WW2 – but it is also a great deal more than that.

Bamboo Heart spans five decades, alternating between London and South-East Asia. The book opens with a graphic glimpse of the horrors that are to follow, and then the story starts in earnest. From the outset, we find ourselves drawn into the relationship between its two central characters: a former POW and his young grown-up daughter.

In the opening chap
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Bamboo Heart is one of the books in the Bamboo Trilogy written by Ann Bennett, publisher Monsoon Books. The books can be read in any order however, I chose to read Bamboo Heart first and I was soon captivated by this time slip historical fiction novel with the idea of the story coming to Ann Bennett whilst she was researching her father’s history who had been a POW on the Thailand-Burma Railway.

A fascinating, insightful story travelling back to 1938 to a young man starting out in the working wor
Elizabeth Lloyd
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bamboo Heart has been waiting on my Kindle for a little while. I loved Bamboo Island and I found Bamboo Road really moving but I was worried that this, the first book of the Bamboo Trilogy might be very upsetting. Indeed, the Prologue takes us straight to a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp in 1943, where Tom Ellis has been incarcerated in a narrow individual earth lock-up. He keeps his spirits up by thinking of the girl he left in Penang.

The book moves on to London in 1986 where Laura Ellis, Tom’s
Sheu Quen
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical buffs
Even though it was only a story, reading up on the lives of the prisoners of war at the hands of the Japanese still remains a painful experience, even for me. Even after many centuries have passed. The torture that these prisoners endured is not something easily forgotten, and yet, in modern times, no one remembers the ill-begotten past during the Second World War. 'Bamboo Heart' was written by Ann Bennett whose father was a real-life Japanese prisoner in World War II, which prompted her to writ ...more
Chhimi Tenduf-La
I was drawn to Bamboo Heart because my father used to watch Bridge on the River Kwai everyday. The film was shot in Sri Lanka, where I live. Thus, I was fairly confident I would like the subject matter of the book, but what I found most impressive was how easily it read. It flowed so smoothly that I was able to focus on the story, which was fantastic. I loved discovering the history of the Death Railway, and found some of the scenes suitably disturbing. The story was wonderfully researched and f ...more
Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2, asia
A daughter searches for the truth about her father's wartime experiences. Like many POW's he has kept his memories hidden and refused to talk about them.

Laura travels to Thailand and Malaya to try to uncover just what her father went through as a prisoner of the Japanese working on the infamous Thailand to Burma railway.

I found the historical references interesting, fiction can often make reading about the horrors of war slightly easier.
Mar 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the substance of Bennett's work is moving, its execution is choppy and distracting. There doesn't appear to be any reason to repeatedly jump backwards and forwards in time and change points of view nearly every chapter. That said, the work certainly does carry emotional weight, drawing the reader in to a complex father-daughter relationship complicated by distance, war, and too little time.
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Alice Reeve
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Kate Preston
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Ruth Quah
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Beth (bibliobeth)
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hello everyone and welcome to a very special three days on my blog. For the next three days, including today, I will be talking about a wonderful new trilogy that I've just completed - The Bamboo Trilogy by Ann Bennett. I shall be reviewing the first book today, Bamboo Heart then the second, Bamboo Island tomorrow and finally the third, Bamboo Road as part of a blog tour celebrating the final book in the series and the trilogy as a whole. The books can be read in any order as they are all stand- ...more
vicki koster
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Carol Chandler
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Julie Savage
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Julian Lees
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Mr Raymond F. Servaes
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Other books in the series

Bamboo Trilogy (3 books)
  • Bamboo Island
  • Bamboo Road
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