When is a love story not a romance novel? When is a book about Japanese POWs not a book about war? When it's A Town Like Alice.
I've been a fan since seeing the Masterpiece Theater version about 20 years ago (after which I had to immediately run out and buy the book. There are lots of reviews posted here, so we don't need another rehash of the plot. Suffice it to say, if you are NOT a romantic, if you are NOT a fan of romance novels, this is a book for you. The context of WWII and Jean Paget's experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese ring with accuracy. Her prosaic life in London, her eventual return to Malaysia and journey to Australia don't stretch credulity. The romance between Jean and Joe, and even her shy Scottish attorney's feelings for Jean, are beautifully developed. It's just a wonderful read, and Neville Shute never wrote a better book (although he wrote many, many worse ones).
There are two excellent filmed versions of a Town Like Alice. The Masterpiece Theater version stars Bryan Brown as Joe Harmon and Helen Morse as Jean Paget, with Gordon Jackson as Noel Strachen--a completely new and romantic turn for the actor I will always think of as Hudson-The-Butler. An earlier version with Peter Finch and Virginia McKenna is also very watchable. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Just read it. And then go out and rent the movies. Both of them. What are you waiting for? Don't miss this delightful story of war and remembrance and love.