Fans of The Thornbirds, whether they fell in love with the novel, the miniseries, or the audiobook can return to the Australian Outback in the highly acclaimed "A Town Like Alice."
Jean Padgett is a young British woman working in Malaya who finds herself held prisoner by the Japanese during World War II after the fall of Malaya and Dutch Indochina. Her companions are eight hundred women and children. They are forced to walk from one prison camp to the next, hoping to find respite from inhuman circumstances. All their energies are focused on trying to survive their ordeal. Most of their camps exist only in their imaginations, and instead of shelter, they are mostly left to the elements.
At the end of their seven-month journey, there are only 30 left, including Jean. She has survived because of circumstances, her own sheer will and the intervention of Joe Harman, a fellow prisoner who helps Jean whenever she can't go another step.
During the second part of the novel, Jean returns to England and picks up the pieces of her former life. She is forever changed by her war years. Fortune intervenes, and she is left an unexpected inheritance by an uncle. Seeing her windfall as a way to do what she longs to do - to give something back to the Australian villagers who enabled her to survive - Jean returns to Australia for humanitarian reasons and uses her energies and resources to bring hope to the remote outpost called Willstown. It is the generosity of this extraordinary British woman which provides the basis for the story.
Throughout the novel, the history of the Australian people, their country and the travails they suffered are very much in evidence. Based on real places and events, Shute's novel is one he wrote after experiencing post-war Queensland and seeing first-hand the inroads made into establishing towns such as Alice, Australia.
Nevil Shute Norway was born in London on January 17, 1899 and died on January 12, 1960. He became a highly respected and acclaimed British novelist and used Nevil Shute as his pseudonym. His work in the aeronautical engineering industry was performed under his real name, thus keeping one career separate from the other. He spent a decade during his later years in Australia, giving him the background that enabled him to pen such works as "A Town Like Alice."
Wanting to repay a wartime debt to the Malays, Jean Paget returns. There she hears a story which leads her to Australia. Download and start listening now!