2003 EVVY Award winner for Historical Fiction.
"A Book Club Must"
Based on a true story from The Pacific. . .
December 1941 — While the world focuses on the carnage at Pearl Harbor, tiny Wake Island 2,300 miles west is also under attack. On it are 1,200 civilians and a small detachment of Marines. This frightened, under-equipped band of Americans will hold the mighty Japanese navy at bay for sixteen days before succumbing to a sweeping invasion. Remember Wake becomes a battle cry for a nation marching to war.
Now prisoners of the Emperor, Colin Finnely and the others are crowded aboard a notorious Japanese hell ship bound for Asia, where they will suffer four long years in disease-infested prison camps, while forced to work as slave laborers. They will die by the hundreds. With only one reason to live — his love for his fiancée, Maggie Braun — Colin struggles to survive torture and inhuman conditions.
And on the home-front, Maggie, unsure if Colin is even alive, faces agonizing decisions that may alter both their lives.
This book is based on interviews I did with thirteen men and women who actually lived the experiences depicted in Remember Wake. So virtually everything you read in my book actually happened to at least one of my interviewees. That's what lends this book the authenticity so important to good historical novels. It took me ten years to research and write this book and then get it published. I was often interrupted by other writing projects and the needs of three small children, but during those long years I never once stopped believing in the power of this story. It continues to inspire me, as do the men and women on whom the characters are based. This is their story. I've been lucky to tell it.
Just a few kudos from fans:
Remember Wake is a cleanly written, fast-paced novel by Teresa Funke. The history behind the story is intriguing. A handful of Americans held off the Japanese navy for sixteen days at Wake Island, aided by the heroic efforts of armed civilians. The author's depictions of prison camps are authentic and harrowing. The novel traces the effects of war on its two civilian protagonists, ordinary people caught in the tides of history. Maggie and Colin are heroic, not because they control their circumstances, but because they survive them. Remember Wake is a great read.
--Brian Kaufman author of The Breach
This book alternates chapters telling the story of the plight of soldiers and civilians who were taken prisoner at Wake Island with the problems faced by their families in Boise, Idaho. After obviously researching the matter thoroughly, the author rolled the stories of many survivors of Wake into the experiences of just a few characters in the book, making it an interesting read. It adequately tells about the horrors of war, without getting too graphic. I required all three of my teenage children to read the book -- it was hard to get them started, but all three quickly finished it and have shown a marked interest in WWII since then. I am recommending it as a good buy for our school library.
--Carla Wilkins, reader
Remember Wake is that rarest of novels: one that succeeds not only as an exciting tale of hardship and adventure, but also as an involving psychological study--probing the way different individuals cope under unimaginable stress. While reading the "Colin" chapters, I found it hard to believe this author was female--she so capably captures the nuances of this masculine world of war and deprivation. But the "Maggie" chapters are equally convincing...conjuring this character's gradual awakening from insular and naive girl to formidable woman. The main players in this book are full of depth, capable of surprise, entirely convincing. Even the secondary characters here are well rounded. We get attached, we get involved, we share their losses and for some, ultimately, their reconciliations. I had never considered reading a WWII book before this was given to me...but no matter what its subject matter, any book written with such a fine literary sensibility and authentic voice shouldn't be missed. How amazing that this story is true; and how fortunate that this splendid novel now documents this truth.
--An Amazon reviewer
I really enjoyed Remember Wake. I am not much of a reader, but I couldn't put it down and finished it in only a few days. Thank you so much!