Beyond the Palm Trees by Robyn Harbour is an enjoyable read. Robyn was a missionary in Vanuatu for several years however this book is not a typical missionary book. Robyn has chosen to write 36 short stories about the people who live in the islands that make up Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

The stories are biographical accounts of the islanders and are not strictly speaking evangelical. The stories expose the culture and customs of the different islands with each island being unique, though there is a common theme of poverty and hardship.

By presenting the stories in this manner the reader is left to draw their own conclusions. A tourist could read this book and find it helpful and informative for their visit. A future missionary could read it and become aware of the difficulties they will be facing. As a Christian reading this book I thought about the positive impact Christianity has obviously had, yet often it hasn’t gone far enough. Some island cultures are still abusive to women and do not treat everyone with respect. I wonder if future generations will break the hold that traditional practices and customs still have.

I found Robyn’s approach to be a refreshing and interesting as each story throws light on a different aspect of island life.

A good read.

With thanks to Robyn for providing a free book for review.