The story begins with an english lawyer (Noel) looking for the inheritor of an older clients trust. The estate ends up going to a young girl Jean (mid twenties) who is the niece of the man. Jean and Noel start to get to know each other and she shares with him her experiences during the war.... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The story begins with an english lawyer (Noel) looking for the inheritor of an older clients trust. The estate ends up going to a young girl Jean (mid twenties) who is the niece of the man. Jean and Noel start to get to know each other and she shares with him her experiences during the war. During the war she was taken prisoner by the japanese army. She was part of a large convoy of women that they did not know what to do with. They ended up making them walk from town to town for over 6 months across much of Malaya.
During their travels they met up with an Australian prisoner (Joe) that goes out of his way to try to help them. He is able to get them medicine and fruit which helps them greatly. However he is caught by the army after he sends them chickens. The army crucifies Joe when he is found and the women think that he is killed.
After 6 months of wearisome travel and losing half of their group to disease and fatigue they are able to settle into one village where they work the remaining 3 years in the paddy fields.
After her experience in the war Jean goes back to England and finds her home town very changed by the war. She takes up a job as a short hand typist until she learns of her inheritance. She decides that she wants to do something worthwhile with her money so she decides that she is going to dig a well in the village where she lived for 3 years. While she is in Malaya working on getting the well built she learns that Joe is alive.
This discovery leads her on a trek across Australia to find Joe to make sure that he is okay.
During the same time period Joe learns that Jean is not married like he previously thought (the other women in the camp were all married). So Joe leaves to go to England to try to find her.
Noel meets Joe in England and knows that Jean is in Australia looking for him. Joe heads back to Australia disappointed because he didn't see Jean.
Jean is in the mean time in Australia and is getting ideas about how to advance the small town that Joe lives in.
Jean and Joe end up meeting in Australia. They are happily in love. Prior to getting married though Jean tackles the development of the town that Joe lives in because it does not have much interest for women in general. Before the story closes the town is remarkably changed and prospering.
A great deal of the story is told through the viewpoint of the lawyer who is kind of an onlooker/narrator of the story who has grown very fond of Jean.
We’re hiding the errata, books that influenced this book, books influenced by this book, books that cite this book and books cited by this book sections. If you would like to add content to them, you must first make them visible.