Books Books: Domestic Fiction Books: Under 18 & YA

The Songbird and the Rambutan Tree

Welcome to The Songbird and the Rambutan Tree by Lucille Abendanon Book Tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours.

About The Songbird and the Rambutan Tree

The Songbird and the Rambutana Tree book cover

Title: The Songbird and the Rambutana Tree

Author: Lucille Abendanon

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

Publishing Date: January 23, 2024

Find it: Goodreads  –  Amazon  –  B&N  –  IndieBound

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.

Content Warning: War, invasion, prisoners of war, grief, violence

Review for The Songbird and the Rambutan Tree

This middle grade historical fiction book is well written putting the reader in the midst of the story. It’s so powerful and heartfelt, you can’t help but become fully immersed. The interment camp in Batavia is written as a traumatic event, I can’t imagine actually being there.

With great pacing, it is both gripping and irresistible to put down. Through the eyes of children, it gave a fresh and innocent perspective. The growth among the cast is remarkable. The additional aspect of a found family while bonding in the camp put the cherry on top of the sundae for me. This is not all sunshine and roses, plenty of heartbreaking moments ensue, making it very emotional.

This is a work of fiction based on real life.

About the Author

Lucille Abendanon has always lived a life on the move. She grew up in Norfolk before emigrating to South Africa when she was twelve. Lucille has three nationalities and over the past twenty years has called Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey and The Netherlands home. She holds an MA in International Studies, and recently returned to the UK to give her three boys a slice of the rural childhood she enjoyed. She is an alumnus of the Curtis Brown Creative Writing YA and Children’s Fiction course, and contributed to numerous anthologies about living abroad and raising multicultural kids on the move.

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The Songbird and the Rambutan Tree

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