Kimberly Freeman’s — Ember Island

Kimberly Freeman’s — Ember Island

Tilly, living in the 19thcentury and Nina, living in the 21stcentury are both connected to Nell Holt. After the death of her grandfather and a disasterous short marriage, Tilly takes the first available boat out of England to Australia. She is employed as a governess to Nell on Amber Island — a Moreton Bay island where prisoners are jailed. But Nell keeps memories of her haunting past close to her chest until an error of judgement forces her to expose her past.

Nina’s great-grandmother was Nell. She’s a successful author struggling with her forth novel. She holds a secret that’s about to be exposed by a scathing journalist.

Can both women survive their past?

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Jeff Talarigo’s — Pearl Diver

Jeff Talarigo’s — Pearl Diver

In the late 1940s the youngest pearl diver works on Shodo Island. But four years after diving off the waters of Japan, she’s rejected by her family and society when she contracts leprosy. Sent to a leper colony on Nagashina Island, her disease doesn’t spread once a new medicine is discovered, but can she regain her freedom to live a normal life again?

Roma Tearne’s — Mosquito

Roma Tearne’s — Mosquito

When Theo returns to Sri Lanka from London to write his novel he is distracted by Nulani who draws him out of his beach side home. After Mrs Mendis reminds him of earlier racial riots when her husband was drenched in petrol and set alight, Theo cannot shut out the rising racial tension outside his door, nor his love for Nulani.

Can their love survive when Theo’s Sinhalese ethnic group is rioting against Nulani’s Tamil minority?

Indu Sundaresan’s — Twentieth wife

Indu Sundaresan’s — Twentieth wife

After a regime change in 14thcentury Persia, Ghia, along with his wife and children flee to Qandahar. There he meets a merchant heading to India. When they arrive, the merchant introduces Ghia to Emperor Akbar who soon employs him. Ghia believes his good fortune is due to his youngest daughter, Mehunnisa. At age eight, she first glimpses at Akbar’s son, Prince Salim at his wedding when her ambitions stir.

Lisa See’s — The island of sea women *****

Lisa See’s — The island of sea women *****

When I first began this book, I expected it to be like White chrysanthemum because both books focus on Haenyeo women of Jeju Island, South Korea, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. White Chrysanthemum lent towards comfort women while The island of sea women was about friendship among Haenyeo groups during the country’s turbulent times and the need to forgive.

Not only was the story a page turner, but the lives of these unique groups of women along Jeju’s coastline who support their families while the husbands stay home to care for their children was a fascinating background setting.