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Review of The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan

Set in Malaya during the Second World War, this novel follows the destruction and ruin of the country, narrating the atrocities of child abuse and perpetual fear. Following two timelines: when the British, then the Japanese occupied Malaya, the story begins with Cecily, a spy who gathers information from her husband to relay to a Japanese man who also shares her vision for an Asian-ruled country whom she ends up falling in love with. 

Ten years later, when the Japanese are in power, Cecily must witness the horrifying consequences of her actions. Her son Abel is taken to a labour camp and is tortured and beaten, and then her youngest daughter Jasmin runs away after being held in a basement to protect her from the Japanese soldiers who hunt down young girls to sexually abuse them. 

This a harrowing and heart breaking tale of the travesty of war and betrayal. While a fire blazing novel full of love, friendship and bravery, it is also a story of suffering and unimaginable pain. It was difficult to read at times. I wanted to put the book down and take a break from the horrors inside, however literature is not always supposed to be easy, and this novel is one that challenges its readers to step inside a time of atrocity and feel its sadness. 

Reviewed by Victoria.

The Storm We Made was published on 04/01/24 by Hodder and Stoughton.

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