About The Book
It is 1938 in China, and the Japanese are advancing. A young mother, Meilin, is forced to flee her burning city with her four-year-old son, Renshu, and embark on an epic journey across China. For comfort, they turn to their most treasured possession – a beautifully illustrated hand scroll. Its ancient fables offer solace and wisdom as they travel through their ravaged country, seeking refuge.
Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. His daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, but he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down?
Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It’s about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the search for a place to call home.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have to be honest and admit that before I read this novel I had little idea about China’s history or culture. It is a novel that left me wanting to know more, especially concerning the same period as this one does, the 1930s to modern day.
Three generations of the same family, Meilin, Henry ( Renshu) and Lily. Each one of them shows how they coped with the situation they found themselves in. All three of them faced difficulties in different ways. Meilan’s was definitely the most dangerous, showing her running from horror of the war, losing her husband and leaving her family behind with no idea of their fate. But also at this time you could see Renshu’s terror, far too young to understand, you knew that his experience would still had an impact many years later. During Meilan’s story both of them, and other minor characters in the novel, got some respite from the stories that Meilan told from a scroll. After a few years of trying to find somewhere they could settle they ended up in Taiwan, the fear never leaving them but they all managed to rebuild their lives.
When the narrative switches to Renshu, now known as Henry and later his daughter Lily the author shows how difficult it was to move on from such a traumatic childhood. How difficult it was for Henry to open up and discuss what happened and always feeling the need to look over his shoulder. He didn’t want Lily to be involved in the Chinese communities, wanting to protect his family but not being able to see that he was denying her an identity.
There were times it felt strange to read. Showing families fleeing everything they know to try and keep safe, you would hope that things change. But in modern day it is happening time and time again. Just in different parts of the world.
I loved everything about this novel. It showed a completely different world to the one I know. Chinese history, it’s culture and fables and the often shocking and baffling laws in both China and America not that long ago.