I found the historical background of the novel quite magical set in the 19th Century and the storyline kept me interested throughout the whole novel. The characters were well developed and you could easily be drawn into the storyline, becoming one of the characters easily.
You can easily get the sense that the author has a deep knowledge and understanding of the country and also as we read this novel, we get educated in the politics of China in the 1920s. You see that the author has done thorough research to write this novel and I can always appreciate the work of an author who goes through such length to produce quality novels for us to read. I have read this “over 700 page” novel about two times.
The storyline focus on two women Catherine Cabot and Yu Fu-kuei. We learn about Catherine first and then we get introduced to Yu Fu-kuei and then we get to see how these two women’s stories all gel into one. The flow of the storyline is great and easy to follow and it does not really take much concentration. This is a story telling of the epic kind.
This was a riveting read and I would highly recommend any book lover to pick this book up to read and to definitely put it on your “to-read list” as it will be worth all your time reading it.
Synopsis on the back cover:
As 1920s China teeters on the verge of civil war, two Oxford graduates return to the land of their birth.
By the age of twenty-one Catherine Cabot has already witnessed more death and hardship than anyone should have to in a lifetime. A nursing veteran of the Great War and the Russian Revolution, she is beautiful, headstrong and complicated, just like her mother. Now all she wants is to lay the ghosts of her past.
Her friend, Yu Fu-kuei, is a revolutionary and communist spy determined to sacrifice herself and anybody for her cause.
Caught up in a triangular love affair, Catherine is drawn into China’s struggle. As warlords and nationalists tear each other to pieces, and Japanese militarists wait for an excuse to invade, Catherine becomes the pawn of two men who will stop at nothing to wreak their revenge. Meanwhile Yu Fu-kuei, betraying and betrayed, discovers that love might be her strongest weapon.
“This book is poetic and romantic in parts, harrowing and tragic in others…you’ll be richly rewarded” – Heat
“Rip-roaring adventure” – Time Out Beijing