The Bird in the Bamboo Cage

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What to expect

Inspired by true events…

‘Moving and authentic’ Dinah Jefferies
‘Vivid, heart-rending and so, so beautiful’ Jenny Ashcroft
‘A beautiful, tender and fascinating story’ Sinead Moriarty

‘Deeply moving. Be prepared – have handkerchiefs on standby at the end’ Antonia Senior, The Times
‘An inspiring novel about the power of determination, courage and unity’ Woman’s Own

China, 1941. With Japan’s declaration of war on the Allies, Elspeth Kent’s future changes forever. When soldiers take control of the missionary school where she teaches, comfortable security is replaced by rationing, uncertainty and fear.

Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School. Now the enemy, separated indefinitely from anxious parents, the children must turn to their teachers – to Miss Keny and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – for help. But worse is to come when the pupils and teachers are sent to a distant internment camp. Unimaginable hardship, impossible choices and danger lie ahead.

Inspired by true events, this is the unforgettable story of the life-changing bonds formed between a young girl and her teacher, in a remote corner of a terrible war.

Shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards for Popular Fiction Book of the Year

USA Today bestseller

Published in the USA and Canada under the title When We Were Young and Brave.

Critics Review

  • Deeply moving. Be prepared — have handkerchiefs on standby at the end’ Antonia Senior, The Times

    ‘A great read … beautifully written, with the alternative perspectives of child and adult giving a great depth of characterisation…That it is based on real events only serves to make the tale more powerful. Highly recommended‘ Liz Trenow, bestselling author of Under a Wartime Sky

    ‘A moving and authentic account of a neglected part of WW2 history. I empathised with the plight of the characters … and felt as if I were there’ Dinah Jefferies

    ‘I’ve been completely swept away … Set in wartime China, it transported me utterly – vivid, heart-rending and so, so beautiful. I loved it ’ Jenny Ashcroft

    Stunning … Based on an incredible true story, The Bird in the Bamboo Cage is immersive, moving and utterly unforgettable‘  Catherine Ryan Howard, Irish Times bestselling author of The Nothing Man

    ‘A beautiful, tender & fascinating story of a group of young British schoolchildren interned by the Japanese during WWII…a gem’ Sinead Moriarty, Irish Times bestselling author of Seven Letters

    ‘Above all this is a novel about human courage, generosity of spirit, and the power of friendship. I was hooked from first to last page’ Gill Paul, USA Today bestselling author of The Secret Wife

    ‘A little-known corner of the war – absolutely fascinating. Beautiful descriptions of the seasons changing over China and characters who had me rooting for them all the way.’  Tracy Rees, bestselling author of Amy Snow

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