Sunday, January 28, 2024

Book Review - The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning



The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning is about a young woman, Alexandra, who is trying to find out the truth about her family’s past. In 1939, a young Jewish European refugee named Romy escaped to Shanghai with her family to escape from the growing Nazi influence. While Romy and her family try to acclimate to their new surroundings, Romy befriends her neighbor’s daughter, Li. The pair and their families become close friends and inseparable. However, Shanghai isn’t invisible to the terrors of World War II and its destruction comes to their little corner of the world.  After a devastating act of violence, Li and Romy find their friendship violently torn apart.

In 2016, Alexandra decided to leave her home in London to Australia after experiencing a bad breakup. She decides that spending time with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm, would be good for her soul and to help mend her broken heart. Alexandra wants to spend time with her grandparents as her grandfather wasn’t doing too well over the past week. Her grandmother fears that his death might be imminent.

While going in and out of consciousness, Wilhelm lets a secret drop from his past. Alexandra is desperate to learn how it fits into her own past and history. She knows that her mother had struggled in life because she didn’t know her own history of her adoption. Alexandra is determined to find out the truth about her family’s past, so she decides to fly to Shanghai and try to trace her grandparents' past.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the novel. The book was a long read but I enjoyed most parts of the book. I did wish at times that the story would pick up pacing wise. The book did go into a lot of details that I thought could have been cut down a bit.  It was told from alternating timelines and narrators. I loved reading about Romy and her time in Shanghai. I felt that those were the best part of the book. I was disappointed that it took Romy so long before she told Alex the truth. I felt that this could have been done earlier instead of drawing it out. I would be open to reading more books by this author.


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