Pacific, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Young Australian actress Samantha Lindsay, fresh from her success on the London stage, is thrilled when she lands the lead role in the latest Hollywood war epic to be filmed in the dramatic South Pacific islands of Vanuatu.

It's the role of a lifetime. In another era, Jane Thackeray travels from her home in England to the far distant islands of the New Hebrides with her husband, a Presbyterian missionary.

Ensnared in the turmoil of war in the South Pacific, Jane witnesses the devastating effect human conflict has upon an innocent race of people, and her life becomes entwined in a maelstrom of love, hate, sacrifice and revenge. On location in Vanuatu, Samantha plays a character based on the life of 'Mamma Tack', a World War II heroine who was invaluable to both the US forces and the New Hebredian natives.

Uncanny parallels between history and fiction emerge and Sam begins a quest for the truth.


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Another delightful surprise from the library shelves! The initial attraction was to read a novel by Ailsa Stewart from <i>Home and Away</i>, but after a slow start, the story and setting eclipsed the novelty of the Aussie soap star author. I absolutely loved the chapters with Jane 'Mamma Tack' Thackeray in the South Pacific during the Second World War, which were beautifully evocative and consistently engrossing. The modern day counterpart, with Aussie actress Sam recreating Jane's life for a film, was useful for explaining the history and independence of modern day Vanuatu, yet the kismet angle was stretched to the limit (and might have actually snapped in the final chapter). I loved learning about the island nation, from the tropical scenery to the pidgin language of Bislama, and I even grew to like Sam, but could have lived without her contribution to the story.That said, all of the characters were interesting, if lacking in depth (white hats and black hats abound). An epic adventure that Colleen McCullough would approve of, the story begins with the dramatic rescue of a soldier at Dunkirk, then zips forward to modern day London and the arrival of teen soap star Sam Lindsay from Oz. Via a quirk of fate that didn't really work for me, Sam falls in love with a seaside guest house and finds herself drawn to the history of the previous occupier, a tragic young woman named Phoebe. I would have liked to follow Phoebe's story, but instead the narrative packs up and moves to the other side of the world, when Phoebe's friend Jane marries and moves to the South Pacific as a nurse and the wife of a missionary doctor. Both Sam and Jane are personable young women, though with an unfortunate streak of the Mary Sue about them, who take charge of their lives and find romance with Mr Right. I had fears of the novel turning into just another formulaic 'family saga', but Judy Nunn's writing and attention to historical detail really lifts the story out of Cookson territory, I think.A fascinating and rollicking good read, from Alf Stewart's wife (sorry, still can't get over that!)

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