I read an interesting book about a Eurasian girl living in Hong Kong shortly before the Japanese invasion. She was beautiful, an heiress to a fortune. Her company was sought at every party. She fell in love with an Englishman. When the Japanese invaded Hong Kong, the Englishman was sent to a camp. He wanted to bring the girl with him, but she decided to stay outside the camp. He didn’t insist that she come. He didn’t tell her how much he loved her. He accepted her answer without questioning her motive. He knew she would be in danger. At least inside the camp, she would have a little to eat. She remained outside the camp and soon became the Japanese leader’s mistress. He even gave her several furloughs for the Englishman to come out of camp and be with her. She told him once that when she was with him, she was a different person, a better person with morals, but when she was alone, she reverted to being the same ugly person. What was she telling him? She was telling him she had no confidence, that she had poor self-esteem, that she didn’t like herself, that she didn’t think he would want her permanently. The Englishman truly loved her. He knew she was prostituting herself with the Japanese leader to stay alive, that her life was in danger. He told her to come into the camp with him. She refused. He said no more, never brought it up again. He never showed her that he loved her. He never insisted that he wanted her to come with him. He never took the lead, since she was ridden with complexes. During one of those furloughs, they went out to dinner. Just as they were coming out of the restaurant, the leader’s chauffeur stopped in front of them and opened the car door for her to get in. The Englishman said nothing. He didn’t show any emotion. She got in. That night when she returned, she was sporting a black eye. He made a joke about it, that he noticed it. He didn’t even get angry or sympathize or empathize with her because of the painful and shameful happenstance. During his furloughs, she continued telling him the horrible things that Japanese leader was doing to her, and he said nothing about it. Just the fact that she was telling him all those horrible stories was enough for him to realize that she was telling him those things hoping he would stop her. Who knows what else she wanted to see in him? He didn’t discourage it. He didn’t show anger because she was prostituting herself. He said nothing and didn’t even mention to her anything when she became pregnant. They never talked about it. He never made a comment. Even though she had said that he was the first person who loved her for herself, the other side of her, the one with poor self-esteem was still there popping out its horrible head and forcing her to make bad decision. That’s why I feel that if he loved her, he should have stepped in and proved to her that he loved her by taking the reins and making the decision for her to go with him into the camp. When he didn’t even comment favorably or negatively about the horrible things the soldiers were doing to her, she must have felt that she deserved it because everyone rejected her for being Eurasian. She felt he didn’t care and that really destroyed her. That last time they were together, she shared a story with him. She said that when she was a little girl, she didn’t fit with the Chinese and she didn’t fit with her mother’s people. She said that English people would come and take pictures of her as if she were a curiosity. She said that many men had loved her for her beauty, for her money or for what she could do for them. She said that he was the first to love her for herself. That last time the couple met, he didn’t force the issue with her to come with him inside the camp, to show that he cared. He knew she was In a lot of danger. She told him the horrible things the leader made her do, and he never asked her what they were. He never forced the issue that he wanted her to come into the camp with him. It hurt her deeply. At the end, we find out that after the leader tired of her, he passed her around to his soldiers, and they did terrible things to her. At the end, we find out that the leader had her killed. He had her come to his office, and she never left. Here were two people in love so consumed by their personal problems. She felt unwanted and unloved. He showed no interest at all of what was happening to her. She felt alone. There was always the theme of her feeling alone. I feel that if she had gone into the camp with him, she would have suffered some starvation with him, but they would have been together. They would have survivied. I feel he should have made that decision for her and insisted for her to come with him. Instead, every time she saw him and told him the horrible things that were being done to her, he acted cowardly and never stepped in and took over and forced her in some way to come into the camp with him where she would be safer. Instead, he acted like it was very natural to be prostituting herself in times of war and what was happening to her. She offered for him to escape. She had the money and a special pass the leader gave her to move around Hong King and not get picked up, but he told her he couldn’t because he had to help in the camp structure the food that came into the camp, the rooms to be had, who was to sleep in them. In other words, everything materialistic was more important than her well being and her life at the end. At the end of the war, he survived the war and lived ridden with pain and guilt for having failed her, for failing to intercede and do something for her when all those horrible things were happening to her. He never married or had another relationship with another woman. He chose the coward’s way of punishing himself. I see their love so painful because there were so many extraneous things happening that could have been solved, and they allowed them to separate them. He should have realized that her poor self-esteem and poor confidence would put her in that terrible situation. He should have had the courage to force her to make a choice in their relationship, come with him or end their relationship. Before giving her that choice, he should have told her in many ways, particularly voicing it, that he would not allow her to stay outside the camp because he loved her dearly and didn’t want to be away from her without her, that he feared for her life, that he wouldn’t be in peace if he didn’t have her with him, that whatever happened to them would happen to them together. The point is that love need not be painful. Once two people find their soul mate, they should openly tell each other about their love for each other, their fears. The young woman’s death should never have happened, and it wouldn’t have happened if he had stepped in. In the camp, he was respected as a leader. Everything was a win/win for them inside the camp. She should never have remained outside the camp and prostituted herself. It was her poor self-esteem speaking. That’s where she needed his help to show her how much he esteemed her. But what did he do instead? As she told him these horrible stories, he never commented on them. He never showed any disgust or interest, nothing at all. He never had anything to say about them. What could she gather from such a reaction to her shameful stories, that he wasn’t interested in her, that he didn’t love her anymore. All these misunderstandings are fine in a novel where you need them to add spice to the story. But in real life, people have to take the risk and talk openly to the person they love, and if they disappear from the person’s life, then they weren’t the person’s soul mate. Love need not be painful. People have to find the courage to speak if they have things that need to be said, things they consider embarrassing in their lives or if they don’t like something about themselves or something about the family. This story left me very sad for all the characters because their love was painful, and they did nothing about it.