What Could Be Saved by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz

Published: 2021 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Allen & Unwin 3. Bangkok – Department of Defense Agency Head Residence – 1963 [Public Domain] via US National Archives 4. Child [Public Domain] via Pxfuel

Most of this story is told from the perspective of Laura who, with her mother and father, Genevieve and Robert, and her siblings Bea and Philip, moves to Thailand where Robert works secretly as a spy. The family is shattered when Philip disappears. Many decades later, after the family has moved back to Washington, Laura receives a message from Thailand telling her that Robert is alive. She flies to Thailand and brings him back, discovering what happened to him, as well as other secrets about her mother and father.

“I believe I have found your brother Philip.”

Book Snaps: The author’s portrayal of 1970’s Thailand is vivid, including a realistic depiction of relationships among expats and local people. Although the story is quite distressing, it is also engrossing and suspenseful.

  • Kirkus Reviews: ”A richly imagined page-turner that delivers twists alongside thought-provoking commentary.”
  • Publishers Weekly: ”Schwarz is a remarkable storyteller, juggling many characters, and the seamless alternating chapters narrated by Laura and a servant from the Preston’s house in Bangkok gradually deepen the reader’s understanding of the past and present. Schwarz’s stellar work is riveting from its start all the way to the final horrifying twist.”


”And you were the one who needed to be saved. You were what could be saved, of our family.”

”Home. The things Genevieve had taken for granted: the clean walls and floors, the unsticky air, the pure water rushing from the tap. The changes of season- delicate springs, piles of crisp autumn leaves, properly col Christmases.


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