Waiting on Wednesday: The Taste of Rain

Waiting on Wednesday: The Taste of Rain


The Taste of Rain

Written by Monique Polak

224 pages

Published by Orca Book Publishers

Publication date: 3rd September 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

It is 1945, and thirteen-year-old Gwendolyn has been a prisoner at the Weihsien Internment Camp in northern China for nearly two and a half years. Gwendolyn is one of 140 children who were enrolled at a boarding school in Chefoo when the Japanese Imperial Army invaded China.

Life in the camp is difficult. There is not enough food or water, and even the children are forced to do hard labor. But Miss E, one of their teachers from Chefoo, has come up with an unusual scheme: she will follow the Girl Girl Code, treating Gwendolyn and her friends as if they are part of a Girl Guide troop. Girl Guides promise not only to stay positive in the most challenging situations but also to do good turns, meaning they must be kind to others without any expectation of reward. Gwendolyn hopes that when she grows up, she will be as courageous and optimistic as Miss E.

But then Gwendolyn learns that Miss E is not as full of answers as she seems, and she realizes that in order to protect a friend, she will have to do something that could never be considered a good turn.

Why I can’t wait to read this:

  • This is a fractious and fascinating historical period and I haven’t seen much fiction set during this time, let alone told from the perspective of a young teenager, so I am interested in reading this.
  • From Gwendolyn’s name I am guessing that she is not Chinese, so I want to find out more about her circumstances, as well as the 139 other children at her boarding school who have been interned without their parents.
  • The fact that the teachers are there with the children is, from my own perspective as a teacher, both gripping and terrifying. On a normal day I am responsible for 30 children’s health, happiness and learning. How much more responsibility would that be if you are in an internment camp with them?!
  • The idea of the Girl Guide Code being used by the teachers and children is very sweet and it reminds me a little of the Italian movie, La vita e’ bella (Life is Beautiful), where Roberto Benignini persuades his son that everything in their concentration camp is part of a game.
  • I am slightly worried that this will have a tragic ending, but I still want to read it!


What do you think?

Does this sound like the kind of book you would enjoy?

Will you be reading this or do you have any other anticipated releases you would recommend to me?

Let me know in the comments!

See some other Waiting on Wednesday posts here:  When the Mountains Roared, The Exact Opposite of Okay, To Kill a Kingdom, StarfishThe Gloaming, The Smoke Thieves, The Way You Make Me Feel, The Queens of Innis Lear, Legendary, Nyxia UnleashedBright Ruin, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, Empress of All Seasons, Tempests and Slaughter, Grim Lovelies, The Glass of Lead and Gold, Storm Witch, The Way Past Winter, The Gilded Wolves, Fierce Fairytales, Descendant of the Crane. Dragon Pearl, Last of Her Name. The Familars. A Pinch of Magic, A Witch Come True, The Winter of the Witch. Once Upon a River, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Shadowscent, Romanov. Echo North, The Wicked King, The Priory of the Orange Tree, Spin the Dawn, Master of Sorrows, Asha and the Spirit Bird, A Treason of Thorns, We Rule The Night, Perfectly Preventable Deaths, Collision, Rumblestar, The Last Spell Breather, The Starless Sea, The Lost Tide Warriors, The Princess Who Flew With Dragons, Containment, House of Salt and Sorrows, Stronger than a Bronze Dragon, Sanctuary, Gumiho/Wicked Fox, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Kingdom.

While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of The Hazel Wood, Tangleweed and Brine, Summer Bird Blue, The Pretender or The Gilded King?

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Thanks for reading!

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