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The Orchid Tree

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  396 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Fifteen year-old Kate Wolseley lives a rarefied life of wealth and privilege in the expatriate community. But when the Japanese take over the colony in December 1941, she’s interned in squalid Stanley Camp with her parents. Forty miles away, in Macau, Sofia Rodrigues’ suspicions are aroused when her father invites a Japanese family to dinner, an event which leads to a brea ...more
Paperback, 295 pages
Published January 22nd 2015 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  396 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Renita D'Silva
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read and loved Siobhan Daiko's 'In My Lady's Shadow' and was really looking forward to this book. I was not disappointed. Once I started this mesmerizing book, I was hooked and could not put it down until I had reached the end. The author is brilliant at setting the scene and post war Hong Kong came alive for me. Each character is beautifully drawn and comes alive on the page so I was living and breathing this book. An evocative tale, beautifully told. Highly recommended. ...more
Clare Leonard
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Orchid Tree is a thoroughly enjoyable recreational novel. This, despite the subject matter of the Japanese internment camp in Stanley, which the author has obviously researched extensively. She describes the fauna and flora with expertise, and occasionally brings realism to her text : “The pungent sweaty-socks smell of the sub-tropical forest”.......”dense clumps of vegetation hanging like interwoven ropes”. The heroine, Kate, however, quickly realises that “no amount of beautiful scenery wi ...more
Rosie Amber
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Orchid Tree is a historical drama set in Hong Kong. The First part is from 1941 - 1945 during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during WWII. Fifteen year old Kate Wolseley is British and lives with her parents on The Peak. When the Japanese invade and the governor surrenders no one can quite believe what happens.

Once the Japanese have taken over, Kate and her family are moved to the Stanley Internment Camp, an ex-prison. Conditions are poor and food soon runs very short. Kate makes frien
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Talk about fates intertwined in this book. Loved reading this story about Kate, Sofia, Leo and James. Its a story revolving around a war and about love found, discovered, rekindled under a beautiful orchid tree.. Amazing read completely enjoyed. a must read.
Ali Bacon
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This love story – or set of love stories - set in and around Hong Kong during and after WW2, begins with the drama of 15 year-old Kate Wolsey who loses the comfort and security of life in the colony when she is sent to a Japanese internment camp. The deprivations of life in the camp and the difficulties of adjusting become more bearable when she meets Charles Pearce, two years older than her and a Eurasian. She falls in love with him and in time he loves her back, but of course they are fated to ...more
I became familiar with Siobhan Daiko when I read her debut novel, In My Lady's Shadow, a time slip novel. I loved it and when her new book came out, I really wanted to read it as well.

The Orchid Tree is a beautiful and touching story of two girls who live privileged lives and who come of age during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in WW2. A good solid plot with some darker offshoots (no spoilers from me) as well as a host of different characters to support and antagonize Kate and Sofia, she
Ann Bennett
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful sweeping historical romance, Siobhan Daiko has the insider's eye on the detail and atmosphere of Hong Kong, and the Orchid Tree really brings the place alive to the reader. It is a wonderfully fast-paced and readable book. It manages to combine two intertwined love stories, the horrors of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and the internment of the ex-pats, along with sub-plots involving smuggling, triads and Special Branch. It delivers serious messages though, about entrenched and ...more
Jo Bartlett
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic story, so evocative of both time and place. The story never loses its pace and the writer is skilled at pulling you into the action, so that you are with the characters every step of the way and feel like you are experiencing the events right there with them. I've never been to Hong Kong or the 1940s, but now I really feel like I have! I can't recommend it enough. ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book and I'm not sure whether it was the characters or the writing style that I didn't enjoy. Set in Hong Kong during and after WWII, the book focuses on the romance of two couples: Kate and Charles meet while interred at Stanley; Sofia and James meet after the war. Kate and Charles are separated for years after the war (partly because of the prejudice of her father) but re-united when they both return to HK. Sofia and James meet through his work as a Customs Officer ...more
Alex Krembs
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A lovely historical fiction based in one of favorite historical time periods - 1940's wartime Hong Kong. Hearing these stories, I can feel the fragility of life in this outpost no matter where one originated. Further it adds colour to the post colonial existence as citizens of the now HK SAR. There is an element of romance to the novel - which does sometimes become front and centre - but it then weaves back into the storyline and enhances the twist and turns. I am all set for a sequel. More plea ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Maybe the publisher got 9 people to give good reviews of this book. I thought it was awful. Couldn't get past the second chapter. Maybe it should be classified as YA. ...more
Deborah Ozmer Diaz
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book and learning more about the Japanese POW camp during WWII. I kept confusing Sofia and Kate in the book though. Pay attention to more detail in the beginning would be my advice.
Elizabeth Lloyd
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Orchid Tree is a dramatic and moving account of wartime events in Hong Kong and the repercussions in 1949 for the three main characters, Kate, a British teenager, Charles, a young Eurasian and Sofia, whose home is on the neutral island of Macau.

Kate Wolseley tells us of her privileged life living on the Peak, in her own words. Almost 16 when the Japanese bombs fall on the city, her days of horse riding, going to the yacht club and spending time with the son of their amah are changed to the
Reyiel Ananke
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I won this book through Goodreads giveaways.

I don´t really read a lot of book about this period of time and Asia, so I was very happy and exited to win a copy of this book.

The description of the places, mentality and how the characters lived was very good, it was a very interesting point of view.

The characters could have done with having more depth and explored a bit more. they were not as exiting or original, their feelings a bit bland, they did not make it easy to get attached to them or suffe
Sharon Abrams
Apr 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Learned a lot!

I very much enjoyed learning about Hong Kong! I did not understand or enjoy political details and talk of the Nationalists and communists. That is because I am not a politically minded person. I do understand that those things needed to be included to make the story work. I was hoping James and Kate would end up together, so I was disappointed that he married Sofia. I did not care much for her. Thanks for sharing your talent with us! I enjoyed it!
Michelle Irwin
Apr 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know

I've read many WWII stories. I had no idea about the involvement Japan had in Hong Kong. Really didn't know that people were forced out of their homes and put into encampments with poor living conditions there. A very complete account of that time period. Loved the romance plots and found the smuggling plot fun to read also. Good book, but FYI: take down names and make notes, minor characters in the first part become major characters in the second part.
ann clark
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This novel brings back so many memories of my time in Hong Kong as the wife of a soldier based on the new territories in the mid 70s. So accurate in place names etc. We revisited in 2019 , a totally changed city. We def had the best of times.thank you for bringing it all back to me
Pauline Wilson
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy to pick up and put down

I enjoyed reading this book especially because having been to Hong Kong 9 times the names of places made the book alive. I could visualise the place.
Miss N J Robinson
Good, easy read

Interesting read but did seem to end rather abruptly. Would have liked the story to go on a bit more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Garbage. Waste of time.
Keith Down
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So enjoyed this book was well written and a lovely story
Janice Fletcher
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable read.

A good story based around the truth.The time spent in prison reminds us of the harshness of war.But love conquers all.
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Enjoy the historical parts and the descriptions of life in Hong Kong but found the love story/stpryline a bit weak.
Feb 16, 2017 marked it as d-n-f
Did not finish the first time but will try again later.
Nolene Driscoll
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written love story set against the second world war in Hong Kong and after. It is not a straight forward love story and follows two couples from very different backgrounds who have to overcome many obstacles such as, the war, their differing backgrounds and family objections. It is a love story that triumphs over tragedy and racial bigotry.

Kate Worsley was 15 years old when war came to Hong Kong. Interned with her parents in a Japanese prisoner of war camp Kate meets Charle
Christoph Fischer
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a truly beautiful story, telling the coming of age of a 15 year old girl in Hong Kong during and after World War 2. It shows innocence and humanity in volatile times, class and race perceptions, family life, politics, the brutality of war and romance.
I've been to Hong Kong several times and have a deep love for it. The author also has first hand knowledge of the place and did a wonderful job at setting the scene and reminding me of all its beauty.
World War 2 was such a complex war with man
Chris Birdy
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Orchid Tree is an incredible story with WW2 Hong Kong as the backdrop. It tells the history of the Japanese takeover of Hong Kong and the interment of expatriates who prior to that time lived in the upper echelons of society. This engrossing tale follows two young women. Kate a privileged expat is thrown into a brutal camp, and Sofia, a Portugese girl considered to be lower class is not. But Sofia must suffer with ther relatives and their activities. This poignant story follows these young w ...more
Chhimi Tenduf-La
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Daiko's writing is exceptional; it is unpretentious, accessible and flows so beautifully that, after reading the sample passage, I had to continue to the end in just a couple of sittings. The author's craft is fantastic, faultless really, and this allowed me to focus on the story, which I found very original and cleverly molded from Daiko's interesting background and diligent research. I felt I could smell the Hong Kong of her novel and was pleased to see mention of little details such as wooden ...more
Andrelene Babbitt
Fantastic read!

Another member of the World War II reader group on Facebook recommended this book, and I am very happy she did! I found myself involved in the characters' lives immediately. It was almost like being right there with them. Learning how the internment camps for civilians were run was eye-opening. So much was demanded of each person, and it seems amazing how many of these people were able to go on with their lives after being released days or even weeks after the end of the war. I'm
Carol Ward
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a beautifully written coming of age story set against the backdrop of World War II. It follows the lives of two girls living in Hong Kong when the Japanese invade. One is sent with her family to an internment camp, the other is still free but in some ways just as much a prisoner. Both must learn to survive and deal with the prejudices of the time. It’s filled with incredible detail making this time in history truly come alive.
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Siobhan Daiko is a British romantic historical fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese puppy and two rescue cats. After a life of romance and adventure in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK, Siobhan now spends her time, when she isn't writing, enjoying the dolce vita near Venice.


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