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Stranger In My Heart
Location(s): China, Hong Kong
Era(s): Second World War and present day
John Monro MC never mentioned his Second World War experiences, leaving his daughter Mary with unresolved mysteries when he died in 1981. He fought at the Battle of Hong Kong in 1941, made a daring escape across Japanese-occupied China and became Assistant Military Attaché in Chongqing. Caught up in Far East war strategy, he proposed a bold plan to liberate the PoWs he’d left behind before fighting in Burma in 1944. But by the time Mary was born he’d become a Shropshire farmer, revealing nothing of his heroic past.
Thirty years after his death Mary began her quest to explore this stranger she’d called ‘Dad’. Her mother handed her a large brown envelope full of her father’s documents from the war. She began by transcribing his letters, reports and diaries. Eventually, she realised that she had to go to China and retrace her father’s escape route to really connect with him. As she walked in his footsteps and researched the context of his adventures, she gradually understood how heroic he had been.
Stranger In My Heart skilfully weaves poignant memoir with action-packed biography and travels in modern China in a reflective journey that answers the question we all eventually ask ourselves: ‘Who am I?’
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