What I’m Reading Wednesday

15 Jan
Cover---All-The-Flowers-Of-Shanghai_400

Released Dec. 2011.

For those keeping track, I’ve done really well avoiding the library. We recently inherited a large bookcase so now all my books fit in one location rather than having stacks of books surrounding a smaller overflowing bookcase.

As I organized my books I rediscovered all the fun books I’ve owned but have yet to read. This week’s read is one of those books.

I found “All the Flowers in Shanghai” by Duncan Jepson at a book sale about a year ago. I bought it because the cover reminded me of Lisa See’s novels (“Dreams of Joy” and “Shanghai Girls”). The novel actually ended up being similar to “Dreams of Joy.”

Jepson’s novel was released in December of 2011 and is set in 1930s Shanghai, when little more was more important than tradition and saving face.

The book’s main character, Feng, finds her life turned upside down when she is forced into an arranged marriage with a wealthy man at the age of 17. The story grows up with Feng, whose only role in her new household is to produce an heir. As years pass Feng becomes more and more bitter and resentful, to the point it becomes difficult to sympathize with her.

I’m always fascinated reading about China’s history with the Communist Revolution and Mao’s Great Leap Forward. Readers are given a glimpse into the history through Feng’s character and how her life is affected by the revolution.

“All the Flowers in Shanghai” is written as if Feng is telling her story. The reader learns early on she is telling the story to her child.

In all honesty, there is little hope in this novel. As you read it you will wait for something good to happen, but continuous tragedies bring down the readers with its characters.

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