Thursday, January 26, 2023

Blog Tour: The Flame Tree by Siobhan Daiko (includes international giveaway)

Many, many years ago (because I am older than I look) I read a book called Tanamera by Noel Barber which was all about Singapore from just before the start of WWII to the 1950s encompassing the Japanese invasion in WWII and then through the Malayan war. It is this book I credit with my interest in WWII stories set in the Asian theatre of war. 

Despite the proliferation of WWII books being published now, there are still relatively few stories that are set in Asia, and so, when I was offered this book, which is set in Hong Kong, I jumped at the opportunity.

William Burton and Constance Han meet on board a ship heading to Hong Kong, He is just beginning his career working in the Colonial Service. She is returning home after studying in Britain. Will is excited about his new life in the exotic city, knowing that he has to work hard to learn the language quickly.

Connie is pleased to be going home, although she does know that, as the daughter of a very wealthy and influential Eurasian businessman, her life is all planned out. She will marry a suitable Chinese man, and begin having children, just like her sisters. 

William and Connie are immediately attracted to each other, but Connie knows it will be foolhardy to begin a romance with a man who will definitely be unacceptable to her family who have strong Chinese traditions. They agree to be friends and she will help him learn the language. But when the attraction is strong, it's easy to forget that there's no future as they dance the night away on board and spend time together.

Once they arrive in Hong Kong, they go their separate ways, but they agree to meet regularly beneath the flame trees so that they can continue their lessons, but it has to be a secret.

However, war is imminent and everyone is worried about a possible Japanese invasion, and the very traditions that Connie knows will dictate her future are also under threat. She manages to convince her father that it is a good idea for her to have a job and ends up working for a Chinese general who has some very interesting connections. In the meantime Will goes into training as part of a secret military group whose job it is to stop the Japanese invasion by any means necessary..

As the Japanese invasion comes, both Connie and Will find themselves in danger and doing things that would otherwise never have been something they would have contemplated. Can they both survive and find each other?

I really enjoyed this book, in particular the details in relation to the Japanese invasion and the aftermath. The island was woefully under defended for the invasion, unprepared to face the might and experience of the Japanese army. The details of the work that both Will and Connie undertook at that time were really interesting, and all the more so as it was based on a true story.

I hadn't even finished reading this book before I bought the previous book by this author, The Orchid Tree, which is also set in Hong Kong. Then maybe I will look at her books set in Italy!

Rating 4/5

About the book:

The Flame Tree

Based on a little-known true story, from award-winning author Siobhan Daiko comes a tale of love and survival against all the odds set in Hong Kong at the start of the Pacific War.

In the spring of 1939, dashing young William Burton and the beautiful Constance Han set sail from London on the same ocean liner to Hong Kong.

Romance blossoms while they enjoy games of deck quoits and spend sultry tropical evenings dancing under the stars. Connie is intrigued by Will’s talent for writing poetry, and she offers to give him Cantonese lessons to help him with his new job— a cadet in the colonial service.

But once in Hong Kong, Connie is constrained by filial duty towards her Eurasian parents, and their wish for her to marry someone from her own background. She can't forget Will however and arranges to meet him in secret under the magnificent canopy of a flame of the forest tree—where she fulfils her promise to teach him to speak Chinese.

Before too long, trouble looms as Japanese forces gather on the border between Hong Kong and mainland China. Will joins a commando group tasked with operating behind enemy lines, and Connie becomes involved in the fight against local fifth columnists.

When war breaks out, they find themselves drawn into a wider conflict than their battle against prejudice. Can they survive and achieve a future together? Or do forces beyond their control keep them forever apart?

Perfect for readers of Dinah Jefferies, Ann Bennett and Victoria Hislop.

Purchase Link -

About the Author  –

Siobhan Daiko is a British historical fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese dog and a rescued cat. Siobhan was born of English parents in Hong Kong, attended boarding school in Australia, and then moved to the UK—where she taught modern foreign languages in a Welsh comprehensive school. She now spends her time writing page-turners and enjoying her life near Venice. Her novels are compelling, poignant, and deeply moving, with strong characters and evocative settings, but always with romance at their heart.

Social Media Links –







Book Bub:

Amazon Author Page:




Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Flame Tree (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Greta review and I like the giveaway but I will just look for it in my library. I am one of the few people in the world (probably) who isn't on any social media!

    1. I know a lot of people have stepped back from social media recently



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