Thursday, June 5, 2014
ALL THE FLOWERS IN SHANGHAI (DUNCAN JEPSON)
HarperCollins|September 19, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-208160-5
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.
Both a sweeping historical novel and an intimate portrait of one woman's struggle against tradition, ALL THE FLOWERS IN SHANGHAI marks the debut of a sensitive and revelatory writer.
I absolutely fell in love with this story and was astounded that a male author could write the roles of females so well. He clearly has an understanding of what and how women think, feel, and act.
Feng was forced to marry her husband after her sister died. She was only weeks away from marrying this man when she passed away and to save face, her family forced her younger sister, only seventeen to marry him instead. Feng knew her place in the new Sang household but as the years went by she became an embittered woman and plotted a revenge that she would eventually be sorry for, but once something has been done, it's impossible to take back. I was glued from the first to the last page and would have liked the story to continue on for another couple of chapters to tie up a couple of loose ends but I suppose the author has given us permission to conjur up our own endings in these matters.
I'll definitely be looking for more of Duncan Jepson's work in the future. This book comes highly recommended!