Happy Monday all!
Excited to share with you today my review for this stunning story that all historical fiction lovers will devour! A huge thank you to Trish for my invitation to the tour!🌺
ℭ𝔬𝔪𝔭𝔢𝔩𝔩𝔦𝔫𝔤. 𝔄𝔟𝔰𝔬𝔯𝔟𝔦𝔫𝔤. ℜ𝔦𝔳𝔢𝔱𝔦𝔫𝔤.
Kirsty Manning has written a stunning story filled with secrets, sorrow, and resilience. 1939 Vienna Austria Romy’s family realizes it is in their best interest to leave the country. But the only place that will take them in without a visa is shanghai. Shanghai is miles away, a brief respite from the war, but it isn’t long before shanghai is also impacted by WWII. 2016 Alexandra returns home to Australia from London to see her beloved grandfather before he dies. Alexandra was raised by her grandparents after her mother Sophia was killed in a car accident. Alexandra knows that her mother was adopted brought over to Australia by her grandfather and grandmother, Romy. Alexander has taken a new job in Shanghai Inn is determined to figure out where her mother came from. The only information Alexander has is a necklace, a birth certificate, a picture, and journal. Will Alexandra discover her roots? Or are some secrets best kept in the past?
This was an amazing book that introduced me to a part of history I previously had no idea about. When I think of WWII I certainly never think of China. I had no idea China took in so many Jewish refugees. I was ignorant to the tensions between Japan and China during WWII. The beauty of historical fiction is learning something that you probably otherwise would never have learned. Romy and her family have found themselves in the unfortunate position of leaving one horrible situation to find themselves in the midst of another. I once again was completely in awe of the resilience of people.
The characters and the setting of this story completely popped off the pages. Kirsty Manning has seamlessly woven together the present and the past in this compelling tale. Both timelines completely captivated me and all these characters stole my heart. The friendship between Romy and Lee was so beautiful to read about. I loved how we really got to learn about the Chinese culture through Romy’s eyes. I found the Chinese medicine fascinating. Romy was such an authentic character, my heart broke for her with some of the letters she wrote to her brother Daniel back in a work camp in Austria. I was so curious as to what the secret was she was keeping from her granddaughter Alexandra, and what her motivations were. Alexandra was also an intriguing character. I loved discovering the past right alongside her. And I love the little bit of romance she had going on with John.
A beautiful story brimming with family, friendship, and culture. This is not a short book, but it went so quick I was so riveted by the story and I just needed to know what the secret was. I also am completely intrigued by all eastern cultures and just love getting to know more about them. Simply put this was an evocative story that all fans of historical fiction will completely devour.
🎧🎧🎧 The audiobook is narrated by Saskia Maarleveld who in my opinion is one of the absolute best! There are so many accents in this book and she nailed them all! She gave each character their own distinct voice and I never was confused as to who is narrating the story. A stellar job!
*** Big thanks to William Morrow and Harper Audio for my copy of this book **
About the Book
“Kirsty Manning weaves together little-known threads of World War II history, family secrets, the past and the present into a page-turning, beautiful novel.”— Heather Morris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
A gripping historical novel that tells the little-known story of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during WWII.
1939: Two young girls meet in Shanghai, also known as the “Paris of the East”. Beautiful local Li and Jewish refugee Romy form a fierce friendship, but the deepening shadows of World War II fall over the women as they slip between the city’s glamorous French Concession district and the teeming streets of the Shanghai Ghetto. Yet soon the realities of war prove to be too much for these close friends as they are torn apart.
2016: Fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm. Her grandfather is dying, and over the coming weeks Romy and Wilhelm begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century. As fragments of her mother’s history finally become clear, Alexandra struggles with what she learns while more is also revealed about her grandmother’s own past in Shanghai.
After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents’ past. Peeling back the layers of their hidden lives, she is forced to question what she knows about her family—and herself.
The Song of the Jade Lily is a lush, provocative, and beautiful story of friendship, motherhood, the price of love, and the power of hardship and courage that can shape us all.
About the Author
Kirsty Manning grew up in northern New South Wales, Australia. She has degrees in literature and communications and worked as an editor and publishing manager in book publishing for over a decade. A country girl with wanderlust, her travels and studies have taken her through most of Europe, the east, and west coasts of the United States as well as pockets of Asia. Kirsty’s journalism and photography specializing in lifestyle and travel regularly appear in magazines, newspapers, and online. She lives in Australia.
Find out more about Kirsty at her website, and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Have a stunning day!🌺