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The Code of Love: An Astonishing True Tale…

The Code of Love: An Astonishing True Tale of Secrets, Love, and War

by Andro Linklater

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385720653, Paperback)

This affecting story of an English couple's struggle to keep their love alive despite the damage inflicted by the husband's years as a POW reminds us that real-life traumas are more terrible and less easily resolved than those in war movies. Beautiful, vivacious Pamela Kirrage and quiet, intense RAF pilot Donald Hill fell in love in March 1939, less than four months before Donald was shipped out to Singapore. Captured during the fall of Hong Kong, he spent three and a half years in a Japanese camp, where he subsisted on miniscule rations and saw his companions tortured and killed for their part in an underground operation he had also joined. He recorded his experiences in an encoded diary that came to symbolize for Pamela, who married him in 1946, the crippling sorrows he was unable to share with her. The psychological legacy of Donald's imprisonment, particularly his fits of anger and emotional distance, prompted the Hills to quarrel and Pamela to drink. Unable to live together, miserable apart, they divorced in 1978, but remarried a year before Donald's death in 1985. Only when a British mathematician finally cracked the secret code of Donald's diary (keyed to the letters in his and Pamela's names) in 1996 could she wholly understand his private hell. Veteran nonfiction author Andro Linklater ably interweaves three distinct stories: Pamela and Donald's star-crossed romance, the tragic drama of his wartime suffering and endurance, and the gripping, step-by-step adventure of cracking the diary's code. His sad, moving book acknowledges the agony of a generation haunted by wartime horrors it could never discuss, while honoring the power of love to assuage, if not eliminate, emotional pain. --Wendy Smith

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:49 -0400)

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One woman's struggle to understand her husband by decoding a secret diary he kept as a prisoner in a Japanese POW camp.

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