Sisters under the Rising Sun

Sisters under the Rising Sun

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Rowena (Bookseller) watched an hour long BurrowBox youtube interview with Heather Morris.  It was very interesting and worth a watch.  Then listened to Nine to Noon's interview with Heather Morris, very fascinating.

After Karen’s review, watching youtube & listening to RNZ, Sisters under the Rising Sun is another on my summer reading list.

Click here for BorrowBox youtube interview with Heather Morris

Click here to visit, Nine to Noon Interview with Heather Morris

Review by Karen (Retired Bookseller); Heather Morris has written her lastest WWII novel about the Japanese Army & Air Force invading the Pacific, Malaya & Singapore in 1942.

The Vyner Brooke merchant ship was filled with civilians & nurses from the Australian Army Nursing Service, evacuating Singapore the ship was bombed & sank off the Indonesian Coast.  Those that reached shore were captured & taken to POW camps, the men separated from the woman & children.  The story that unfolds is based on real people.

The atrocities & cruelty during the surrender & within the POW camps is harrowing.  The endurance, bravery, determination, hope & love that sustained those that survived the 3 years 7 months of capture is incredible.

Sisters Under the Rising Sun is history that certainly needed to be told.

It is February 1942. Amid the turmoil of World War II, a group of Australian Army nurses, among them Nesta James and Vivian Bullwinkel, have just arrived in Singapore. The women have fled there from Malaya, where they had been stationed to care for Allied troops - and they are reluctant to move on again. Their hope is to remain in the beleaguered British colony to continue their mission of treating the sick and wounded.

Norah Chambers, an English musician, has also fled to Singapore from Malaya, where she had been living with her husband and her eight-year-old daughter, Sally. A few days earlier she had sent her child away on a ship bound for Australia, desperate to keep her safe from invading Japanese forces.

As the Japanese military overruns the city, Nesta and Vivian reluctantly join a terrified cargo of people - including the heartbroken Norah - crammed aboard the merchant ship Vyner Brooke. Only two days later, they are bombarded from the air off the coast of Indonesia, and in a matter of hours, the Vyner Brooke has sunk. After 24 hours in the sea, Nesta and Norah reach the beaches of a remote island, only to be captured and held in a succession of Japanese POW camps, places of starvation and brutality, where disease runs rampant. Alongside hundreds of other women prisoners, they begin a struggle for survival that will last almost four years.

But even here, joy can be found by those with the will to defy their desperate circumstances. When Norah forms a 'vocal orchestra', with the women's voices taking the place of instruments, their music has the power to bring hope into the midst of despair.

Sisters in arms, Norah and Nesta fight side by side, discovering in themselves extraordinary reserves of courage, resourcefulness, humour and hope in their determination to retain their humanity by caring for others.

Adventure fiction, Historical fiction


Heather Morris

364 pages

H: 234mm W: 153mm