Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang
If you follow my blog regularly, you may remember I mentioned having to drag myself through Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang. So, it might come as a surprise that I gave the book 4 stars at Goodreads and recommend it highly.
Jialing lives in the Western Residence of a three-residence compound. Her mother occasionally leaves for a night or two and Jialing is accustomed to spending time alone, staying quiet when necessary. So, she stays hidden when her mother packs up for a short trip, just as the owners of the compound move away. But, then her mother doesn't return. Abandoned but certain her mother will eventually return, Jialing is taken on by the new owners of her home, the Yangs, as a bond slave. She will eventually be able to buy her freedom. But, what will happen then?
As the years pass, there is political upheaval and the ups and downs of business ownership amongst the families that live in the main residence. Jialing becomes friends with Anjuin, the daughter of the Yang family, and eventually is able to receive an education. But, the odds are stacked against her. She is part Asian and it's clear that she's also part caucasian. Because of her mixed heritage, it's unlikely she'll ever be employed. Will Jialing somehow manage to beat the odds? Will the magical fox spirit that watches over Jialing help her find her way, or will she (the fox spirit) pass through a door to the next world and leave Jialing to fend for herself? Is Jialing's mother alive? If so, where did she go?
Highly recommended - I'm assuming the fact that I read Dragon Springs Road so slowly is just a timing issue because the story is indisputably a good one, with plenty of highs and lows and never a hint as to how it will end. I think that's why I continued to read, even though the reading went slowly. It may have been slow going but I was well aware that the storyline was a good one, suitably complex and with characters worth following. I loved the ending and when I closed the book, I felt satisfied. I particularly enjoyed the fox element, which lent the story a magical touch. Dragon Springs Road takes place in China in the early 20th Century.
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