Song is just a boy when he sets out from Lishui village in China. Brimming with courage and ambition, he leaves behind his family, hoping he’ll make his fortune and return home. Chasing tales of sugarcane, rubber, and gold, Song embarks upon a perilous voyage across the oceans to the British colony of Guiana, but once there he discovers riches are not so easy to come by and he is forced into labouring as an indentured plantation worker.
This is only the beginning of Song’s remarkable life, but as he finds himself between places and between peoples, and increasingly aware that the circumstances of birth carry more weight than accomplishments or good deeds, Song fears he may live as an outsider forever.
Welcome to my stop on the Crow Court blog tour! Huge thanks to Random Things Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Spring, 1840. In the Dorset market town of Wimborne Minster, a young choirboy drowns himself. Soon after, the choirmaster—a belligerent man with a vicious reputation—is found murdered, in a discovery tainted as much by relief as it is by suspicion. The gaze of the magistrates falls on four local men, whose decisions will reverberate through the community for years to come.
So begins the chronicle of Crow Court, unravelling over fourteen delicately interwoven episodes, the town of Wimborne their backdrop: a young gentleman and his groom run off to join the army; a sleepwalking cordwainer wakes on his wife’s grave; desperate farmhands emigrate. We meet the composer with writer’s block; the smuggler; a troupe of actors down from London; and old Art Pugh, whose impoverished life has made him hard to amuse.
I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press Publication Date: 04/08/2020 Length: 416 pages Genre: Historical Fiction | Asian Fiction
Mini Pao lives with her sister and parents in a pre-war Shanghai divided among foreign occupiers and Chinese citizens, a city known as the “Paris of the East” with its contrast of vibrant night life and repressive social mores. Already considered an old maid at twenty-three, Mini boldly rejects the path set out for her as she struggles to provide for her family and reckons with her desire for romance and autonomy. Mini’s story of love, betrayal, and determination unfolds in the Western-style cafes, open-air markets, and jazz-soaked nightclubs of Shanghai—the same city where, decades later, her granddaughter Ting embarks on her own journey toward independence.
Ting Lee has grown up behind an iron curtain in a time of scarcity, humility, and forced-sameness in accordance with the strictures of Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution. As a result, Ting’s imagination burns with curiosity about fashion, America, and most of all, her long-lost grandmother Mini’s glamorous past and mysterious present. As her thirst for knowledge about the world beyond 1970s Shanghai grows, Ting is driven to uncover her family’s tragic past and face the difficult truth of what the future holds for her if she remains in China.
It’s the end of the month and it’s also nearly the end of my first week back to book blogging; this wrap up might be slightly odd this month as it is the first one. Even in this short space of time the welcome back I’ve from people in the community has been lovely and it has me very excited to continue! It actually makes me regret taking such a long break away from the book blogging sphere, but I’m pleased to be back.
Books read this month
This month I read a total of 9 books (7 physical books and 2 ebooks):
I really enjoyed pretty much everything I read this month, however there are three books in particular that stand out as my favourites…
Circe by Madeline Miller I’m not totally familiar with the story of Circe in Greek mythology despite reading a lot of it when I was younger, however, I really liked Miller’s take on the character. I loved seeing how Miller weaved her into so many other famous Greek tales. I want to write a full review on this book soon as a couple of lines does not do this justice at all.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee Unlike the other two on this list, this is one that I have managed to review this week! The way Lee seamlessly writes through four generations of a Korean family is incredible. Not only does she gets the pacing spot on to where literal decades in the book fly by, but she also has a great understanding of the people that she is writing about and brings them to life.
The Cat and the City by Nick Bradley This is actually a novel that I read this morning and it blew me away. A full review will be up in the coming days but the tl;dr is that I urge you to pick this up and read it as it is wonderful. It has even made me very nostalgic for my trips to Japan as it truly captures the spirit of Tokyo.
How did you get on this month? Did you read more or less than you expected/wanted? Did we read any of the same books? I’d love to know!