Batavia, Dutch East Indies, 1942.
Emmy has the voice of an angel but hasn’t sung a note since a family tragedy. With war looming, her father plans to ship her off to a singing school in England for safety. But all Emmy wants to do is stay in Batavia with her best friend, Bakti, even if it means putting up with her snooty classmate, Violet. Then the Japanese army invades—and as war erupts in the Dutch East Indies, Emmy’s world falls apart.
When her own actions sabotage her chance to evacuate the island, Emmy is captured and confined in the Tjideng prisoner-of-war camp with other women and children. Separated from her family and friends, and silenced by her grief, Emmy will need all her strength to survive the war, find her voice, and reclaim her freedom.
About the Author
Lucille Abendanon has always lived a life on the move. When she was twelve, she swapped the English countryside for the tropical east coast of South Africa. Since then, she has been fortunate to call many places home—from the magic of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, to the wonders of Bangkok; from the minarets of Istanbul to the canals of the Netherlands. She now lives back in the United Kingdom with her husband, three boys, and three chickens beneath the branches of an ancient oak. She has three nationalities, which makes the question “where are you from?” difficult to answer. Lucille holds an MA in International Studies, and when she’s not writing books, she writes about living abroad and raising multicultural kids on the move. The Songbird and the Rambutan Tree is her debut novel and is inspired by a lifetime of conversations with her Oma Emmy, who was a prisoner of war in the Tjideng internment camp during World War II.