Historical fiction

The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor

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I do not know why I waited this long to pick this one up. I saw rave reviews of it and had it on my TBR but did not read it around the release date. I feel remorseful for that, given the way I felt while reading the book.
It is, foremost, a smooth read. Despite the trauma of the content, the narration flows and makes it a very intriguing read. The story focuses on a very different aspect of war.
We meet the residents of a boarding school in China for expats. The students are primarily the children of diplomats or missionaries. The war is ongoing between China and Japan, but once the larger world starts participating in it, the school is occupied. The years that follow sound torturous, but the bitter-sweet ending made it possible to set it aside.
What I loved about the dual narrative, in this case, is very simple, we hear the voices of both an adult and a child (or two). This helps put into perspective the lengths one would go to to ensure another’s mental peace. The teachers hold back their true terror to preach (and practice) certain codes of conduct. The children, in their turn, try to keep the peace and not lean too heavily on the adults because they see the cracks. This parallel viewpoint of the same story made me like this more than I would otherwise!
I would recommend this to anyone who wants wartime historical fiction based in a very different location with unlikely protagonists.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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