Eden Lost
by Richard Taylor
URLink Print and Media

"Anyone who tries to tame these islands should listen to the sounds, hear the stories, and understand them…before setting out to rule this place."

In 1898, Commodore George Dewey of the U.S. Navy destroys Montoya's Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. However, American leaders have no after-battle plan for their presence in the Philippine Islands. Filipino local Isabella Germain works with the guerilla revolutionaries who have been fighting Spanish Imperialists for 300 years. Must they now wait for Dewey, who has just been promoted to admiral for his efforts, to call the shots?

Meanwhile, Isabella—a resourceful woman who runs a profitable prostitution business—throws herself in danger's way to save an American with whom she is falling in love. Adding dimension and perspective is a Dutch reporter, Hans Jordaens, who observes the overthrow of the imperialists from many perspectives: he reports Admiral Dewey's victory as well as the plight of the Filipino peasants. American steamship engineer, Josh Armand, is in love with Isabella, but he knows nothing of her work. When he is kidnapped by a Chinese gang, his fate tangles with the fighting and politics. The struggle for freedom by these paradisiacal islands clashes with a young republic's "manifest destiny."

This novel is a satisfying combination of a captivating cross-cultural love story plus an intelligent historical reflection. Jordaen's journalistic perspective offers the perfect view, a critical and cutting intelligence overseeing the realities of war and sovereignty. Isabella changes from teaching her girls Spanish to teaching them English, cultivating hope and vision that America will support Filipino independence. Unfortunately, troops sent to the Philippines from California demonstrate trigger-happy ignorance. The plot juggles viewpoints. Every character expresses multiple dimensions and motivations. War is messy, and while peace feels possible, it flees. Readers should prepare to experience the heartbreak of a tragic tale that reveals how the Americans betrayed the Filipinos and how such carelessness cost everyone. It's an especially great read for a deeper appreciation of Filipino American history.

Honorable Mention in the 2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award E-Book Fiction Category

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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