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  • Location: British and Japanese-occupied Malaya

The Storm We Made

The Storm We Made

Why a Booktrail?

1939s, 1945: Her decision changed history. Now her family must survive it.

  • ISBN: 978-1399712576
  • Genre: Fiction, Inspired by true events

What you need to know before your trail

British Malaya, 1930s

Discontented housewife Cecily is seduced by Japanese general Fujiwara and the glorious future he is promising for ‘independent’ Malaya, free from British colonialism. As she becomes further embedded as his own personal spy, she unwittingly alters the fate of her country by welcoming in a punishing form of dictatorship under the Japanese in WWII.

Japanese-occupied Malaya, 1945

Cecily and her family are barely surviving. Her children, Jujube, Abel and Jasmin, are surrounded by threat, and look to their mother to keep them safe. But she can’t tell them about the part she played in the war – and she doesn’t know how to protect them.
Can Cecily face up to her past to save her children? Or is it already too late… ?

Travel Guide

malaya map

malaya map (c) Wiki[edia

This is a map of Malaysia as divided up by the Japanese and Britain

Author insight: Malaysia is the home of the characters (as well as my home), a country that was colonised and occupied for hundreds of years. In The Storm We Made, we see the transition between the British and the Japanese colonisers during WWII.

Malaysia is my home. It’s idiosyncratic, wonderful, weird, flawed, fun, and such a great source of inspiration. A lot of the novel was inspired by stories I heard from my grandmother, as well as my knowledge of Malaysia – its heat, its storms, its people, its food that I carry with me.

Tips on visiting it in real life? Bring a portable fan, it’s hot and humid! And an empty stomach because the food is excellent and cheap.

Booktrailer Review

This is such a moving story about a Malay family’s life under Japanese occupation during the Second World War. Of course, it’s so much more than this – it’s a story about suffering v hope and the love between a mother and her children.

The mother of the story had me crying several times. She fights for her country and her family, she is passionate and fierce. She is passionately involved and aware of the politics and history of her country and we see her understanding and position change as the occupation take shape.


I found this utterly compelling and insightful. Never before have I been so involved in someone’s fate and the fate of a country I know little about. I feel we can all learn something from this mother, Cecily. She lives in a country she loves but one which is slowing killing them all, a male society that is controlling what little there is left for women like her.

The cast of characters is impressive and what they did, how they acted was raw and at times, hard to understand. But that’s what made this novel for me – thinking about why they did what they did in the conditions they were in. Luckily,  I have no experience of war but I felt these characters taught me so much about the human cost of mindless violence and I feel humbled having experienced Vanessa Chan’s novel.

Booktrail Boarding Pass: The Storm We Made

Destination:  Malaya (Malaysia)  Author/Guide: Vanessa Chain Departure Time: 1930s. 1945

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