Pacific, by Judy Nunn. My most expensive book purchase…..ever!

I’ve been back at work now a total of five weeks. Why does it feel like five months? Breaking it down further, and taking into consideration my reduced hours, that’s a total of only fifteen days. And I’m already feeling the need for a break.

My two hours a day spent in transit to and from my work place is prime reading time – usually when I consume my share of “light and fluffy”. With the current workload the light and fluffies are a treat. How tragic is this?

I recently picked up from a charity sale a book by Australian author, Judy Nunn. Nunn is a prolific writer, though as she had starred in an Australian television soapie in a previous life, I had been avoiding her books like the plague. Pacific had a nice cover, was in excellent nick, and I was feeling mellow. Blame the hot weather……


It was wonderful to be totally surprised. What an entertaining read. Doesn’t it just throw you when your preconceived ideas are completely off the mark?

Samantha is an Australian actress (who started out in soapies), who succeeds on the stage at West End, and follows on in a role as leading lady in an American blockbuster to be filmed in Vanuatu, an island in the Pacific Ocean.

The film, “Torpedo Junction”, is based in Vanuatu during WW2 and is the story of Samantha’s character, Jane Thackeray, the wife of a missionary who becomes much loved by the locals for her own humanitarian deeds, and is known as Mama Tack by all.

It was only having read Pacific that I learned that after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during WW2, the island was used by Allied forces as a military supply and support base, naval harbor, and airfield. This later contributed to the island’s diving tourism, as the United States dumped most of their equipment and refuse at what is now known as ‘Million Dollar Point’.


I spent a week in Vanuatu back in the early 1980’s. It was the first time I had visited a country outside of Australia that was different to my norm. Locals bathed under waterfalls, travelled to work by canoe, and the dead were on platforms high in the trees, covered by vegetation. The landscape was beautiful with its lush greenery and golden beaches, and its giant Coconut Crabs scared the hell out of me but we’re fine eating. I was very young and madly in love at the time. The Ni Vanuatu’s had only just grasped power of their country from the French and I had a penchant for swimming on top of the water, not under.

Anyway, Mama Tack has a fling with an American gent in uniform, which is all very honourable. He returns stateside and the novel follows through to the years of Vanuatu’s independence, with Mama Tack continuously aiding her beloved natives. Her story entwines with Samantha’s in real life, and is an enjoyable read that could easily be turned into a movie. One of those old fashioned movies of course, the ones that depend on clever conversation, without any special effects, and definately no car chases! (Won’t happen, will it?)

Unable to face another five weeks of work without the prospect of a decent break my youngest daughter has agreed to accompany me on a short holiday to Vanuatu. Can you believe that the time it takes  me to get from A to B is less than two days travel for me to work and back?*Shaking head.

So my bargain book purchase from a Charity Store has proved rather an expensive exercise.

I’m looking forward to showing my child the place where her mother learnt how to concoct a damn fine Champagne and Brandy Cocktail, as well as visiting Santos where there is still much evidence of habitation by the Americans, apparently.