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My Singapore Lover (2013)

For all those who have visited Singapore, this novel will take you on an armchair journey through the island which is now known as the Manhattan of Asia. You get to walk with the heroine down the tree-lined avenues of Orchard Street flanked by its glittering malls, stroll down the lanes of Little India and China Town, and amble along on the beach, enjoying the rare sea breezes. The city comes alive through the writing of Judy Chapman and even as you read her descriptions of the sweltering humidity of the island, the sea of black suits moving in and out of glass offices or the shades of jade green and temple red that light up the skies, you are spellbound by the lights, sounds and colours she manages to capture. But it is in the story and choice of characters that the author loses tempo and therefore the book ends up being rather mediocre, despite the rich imagery of Chapman's writing style. The story is about a young expat Sara who comes to Singapore on a magazine assignment and is caught up in the glamour and style of the exotic city. She soon falls in love with a Chinese Singaporean hotelier, who just happens to be married. Sara is swept into a whirlwind romance but after much soul searching, she finally realises she has to make a decision. Should she continue to hope for a life with the Singaporean or go back to her first love in India? Or is it too late for both? The story has too many pauses, too much reflection and Sara often comes across as shallow and dull. But if you are looking for a story centred on a beautiful city and a novel that is full of oriental glamour and laced with the intrigues of a steamy love affair, then this could the right book for you. (AC)

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