Monday, September 10, 2012

All the Flowers in Shanghai

Title: All the Flowers in Shanghai

Author: Duncan Jepson

Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary:For every young Chinese woman in 1930s Shanghai, following the path of duty takes precedence over personal desires
For Feng, that means becoming the bride of a wealthy businessman in a marriage arranged by her parents. In the enclosed world of the Sang household—a place of public ceremony and private cruelty—fulfilling her duty means bearing a male heir.
The life that has been forced on her makes Feng bitter and resentful, and she plots a terrible revenge. But with the passing years comes a reckoning, and Feng must reconcile herself with the sacrifices and terrible choices she has made in order to assure her place in the family and society—even as the violent, relentless tide of revolution engulfs her country.

Review: Feng enjoys taking walks with her Grandfather as he shows her different flowers and their ancient names that were used in older times when the emperor's still ruled, and ancient traditions still held sway with the people, as a child she doesn't mind that her sister is the favorite and the one destined to marry and have children while she will live at home and become the care giver for her family, this is her destiny and she is expected to live up to it. However fate takes an unexpected turn when tragedy strikes and Feng is thrust into a world that she was not prepared for, and a destiny that she considers cruel and unfair of her parents to expect of someone at her tender age, but she does what she is told as many young Chinese women of this period would have done bound by tradition and honor. 

In her new role as Mother and wife, she makes mistakes, crosses lines, and boundaries that many might consider to be cruel, however as a character the reader should be reminded that she was thrust into this role as an unprepared teenager who had no understanding of the world that she was entering, how much better could you do? This novel takes the reader into a world that is rarely so poignantly seen from this side, and so truthfully portrayed without a silver lining. I very highly recommend this book, it is both heart breaking, and  inspiring; a story for any generation who struggles with the courage to press on.

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