Claire Pendleton and her husband arrive in Hong Kong, a world away from their native England. Shortly after her arrival, Claire is hired to give piano lessons to Victor and Melody Chen’s daughter. The Chens belong to Hong Kong’s high-society. In their employment, Claire meets Will Truesdale, the Chen’s British expat driver. Their relationship quickly develops into an affair, at which point the storyline shifts between present and past. The past references the love of Will’s life, Trudy Liang. Will and Trudy live a luxurious life in Hong Kong, but World War II is imminent and their relationship becomes threatened by precarious circumstances. Claire knows little of Will’s past, but becomes aware that his life in Hong Kong involves more than serving as a driver to the Chens.
A past love haunts a hero’s present. The novel flows well in its telling of two time periods. If you liked the English patient, you may very well enjoy this book too.