A fascinating portrait of love and resilience in a time of war.
I enjoyed the fact this novel exposes the reader through the eyes of a young woman thrust into the harshness during wartime as opposed to concentrating solely on the war itself. Yet we were made fully aware of the dire circumstances faced, danger, starvation, the unknown, lack of medical treatment and services, not to mention being vulnerable without the presence of a male in the household.
An Lee took me by surprise. At first I questioned her strength, as the story progresses An Lee came into her own. You find yourself downright proud of the way she handled herself, her composure never waning, her strength unleashed, her fears slowly diminishing, her doubts scant, guilt lessened. An Lee is left to fend for her pregnant self, along with her small child, her mother, mother in law, and their band of servants. All three women rise above the challenges as their small village faces Japanese occupation. The three women pull together, using their smarts, planing ahead for the inevitable, An Lee is a follower but soon falls into the role of leader. Frustrated with feeling helpless as her country is bullied, she joins a resistance group, this bold move took me by surprise. Willing to take risks An Lee will do anything for her loved ones.
“All my heroes has horses and armor, a double-bladed sword or an eighteen-foot spear. They had their blood brothers to save the day. And I? My spindly arms fell to my sides. I should have been a man.”
Affecting story of surviving war, a woman’s strength tested as she is forced to serve as provider, protector with her life and that of her family’s hanging in the balance. Sweeping glimpse into the Japanese occupation of China through the bombing of Pearl Harbor to Japan’s defeat.
•Paperback, 288 pages
•Published May 8th 2014 by Dog Ear Publishing