Set in 1936 in Belgium and Ceylon, Smoke Portrait
traces the development of an unlikely friendship between a young Belgian teenager, Marten Kuypers, and Glen Phayre, an Englishwoman in her twenties. Glen has left England to live on her auntís tea plantation in Ceylon, where she embarks on the task of writing charitable letters to a Belgian prisoner. But the letters go astray, and are received instead by Marten, eager to discover the wide world outside his small village, and desperately missing his older brother Krelis, who has vanished and is presumed dead.
Marten decides to reply to Glen in the guise of the grown-up prisoner she is expecting to hear from, and as their correspondence evolves, they both assume identities that, while false in many respects, remain true to their own selves in other ways. Gradually they come to depend on each other, and their pen friendship proves to be crucial when events in their real lives take on a darker, more threatening turn in the shadow of the impending world war.
"This is a great novel, it is not afraid to examine the racism of the settlers, the different factions heading towards the second world war, but it doesnít preach or lecture, itís a fantastic story and itís almost a surprise to look up from it and find youíre not in the clubhouse avoiding the heat of the day, sipping a gin." - Female Life Style Magazine
is well written and involving enough to... leave Trilby Kentís next book a very welcome prospect." - For Books' Sake
is impressive in its strength and delicacy - the work of a young writer to look out for.' - Luxemburger Wort
'Like a cooling breeze, Trilby Kent has constructed an interesting tale, in the vein of a classic English novel.' - Regency Magazine
'The book's epilogue comes as a complete surprise...a mark of a very good writer.' - The Historical Novel Society
'Readers will be swept from vividly brutal scenes of hatred to tender moments of love and will likely remember Kent's sensitively drawn characters and artful prose long after closing the book.' - Library Journal
'An intriguing story of deception, revelation, and redemption.' - Booklist
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