Cover Image: Peach Blossom Spring

Peach Blossom Spring

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Member Reviews

Meilin had everything she could have hoped for: a loving husband, an intelligent young son, a family business to keep her busy, and a home full of interesting relatives. Then the war came to China. This multi-generational tale follows first Meilin, then her son, and finally her granddaughter as each works out what it means to be happy despite the often overwhelming forces of destruction, family hostilities, espionage, culture, societal expectations and even PTSD. Through it all, stories are one of the few constants that each can turn to when all other hope runs dry. 

For those who follow me, perhaps you're not surprised to see that I dedicated many hours of my life to reading a fictionalized memoir about a family and culture quite different from my own. I'll say for the record that I thought this was a book of poetry, and I probably would have finished it in fewer than two and a half months had that been the case. It isn't quite as poetic as the description makes it out to be, yet as I read, I couldn't help but feel the incredible array of emotions deep in my soul–and not just the negative ones either. The fear as the family fled, the hopelessness when the promise of reuniting with family is dashed, the uncertainty of immigration, but also the beauty of a well-made dress, the joy of a family reunited, and the thrill of new friendships all resonated with me in a way that goes beyond words. It was a hard read due to themes of loss, death, war, sexual assault, terror, mental health collapses and bad parenting, but there's something beautiful and genuine that sings through the sadness. I would love to have a chance to discuss this with my grandfather, a Polish immigrant. This book would make a fascinating book club read as it well deserves to be discussed.
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There have been countless books written about the 1930's and 1940's in China, one of the most tumultuous periods of Chinese history. There was invasion by Japanese soldiers, famine, civil war, with millions of people suffering through some of the most traumatic experiences imaginable. Peach Blossom Spring is a historical fiction novel that begins in 1938 and follows three generations as they arduously make their way across China, Taiwan, and the United States.

Multigenerational sagas are one of my favorite genres, and this one is one of my new favorites. The story is riveting, the writing compelling, and the characters so vivid that they continue to stay on my mind. This is a wonderfully crafted story that clearly has a lot of research woven into it. The historical details are exquisite, and the narrative is both moving and haunting. I can't wait to see what Melissa Fu writes next.
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This was without a doubt written with heart. The prose was beautiful, delicate, and had a peaceful feel to it. It was interesting to learn more about the subject, and as a fan of historical fiction, knowing more about a country's past is always a plus. It was difficult not to feel sympathy for the characters. 

Full review to come and rating may change!
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Wow. This book captured me from the very beginning and didn’t let go. Melissa Fu told a story that spans 3 generations expertly, carefully developing each character and avoiding predictability at every turn. The story begins during the War of Aggression in China and follows one family through to the 2000s in the United States and Taiwan. I love historical fiction, and have read quite a few that take place in China at this time, but Fu takes on the troubled relationship between China, Taiwan, and immigrants to the US beautifully. It’s a solid 5 stars from me, and I cannot wait to get a physical copy of the book to reread again and again. Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review!
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I thought this book was amazing and told such a vivid tale of the horrors of war and the Chinese experience during the early 20th century. I'm glad that the author didn't make it all come together in a neat little bow, some things you never find out but it made for a richer narrative. I'm very glad I was able to read this book and I learned a lot about the early days of Taiwan.
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Peach Blossom Spring tells the story of a family rooted in traditional Chinese culture and values, who faced the upheavals of the twentieth century and had to recover and revalue their heritage. Young mother Meilin  is forced to flee from her home with her young son Renshu when the Japanese invade their small village in China. For two decades, Meilin and Renshu flee from danger to danger, and Meilin makes a life for them through her talent, courage, and strength. She comforts little Renshu with stories from a valuable scroll her late husband had intended to use as capital to start a business before he died. Renshu learns about his culture from the stories and gains strength and perspective from them. When he travels to the US for graduate school and makes his life there, he finds it easier to Americanize and leave his Chinese culture in the past, especially when he is unable to bring his mother to settle in the states.
When his daughter asks questions about his past, he locks it away, believing he is protecting himself and her from the tyrannical punishments and violence he witnessed in his childhood. But the lack of heritage leaves his daughter Lily feeling rootless and incomplete. In the third generation in this saga, Lily has to discover her heritage and the roots that tie her to her past before she can build a future that is truly her own.
Fu paints vivid pictures of life in China, Taiwan, and the US, giving each setting detail and sensory authenticity. Her greatest success is in her genuine characterization that rings so true. Her characters are strong and flawed, brave and foolish, and real in every aspect. Because she makes us care for her characters, we are invested in their stories. 
The pacing of this novel is slow. Some readers may be off-put by its steady, gentle pace, but I found it fitting. The pace is slow, true, but it gives the characters time to bloom, to fail, and to grow.
I have always loved stories set in China during this turbulent period, and Peach Blossom Spring adds a new installment to this collection of literature.
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Peach Blossom Spring was a lovely read. It was interesting to follow Renshu and Meilin through their journeys, getting a more personal feel of the recent history of China.  I did find the style and shorter sentences to be a bit of a challenge, but the story moved along well.
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Peach Blossom Spring is a beautiful, richly written novel of family, culture, history, and love.  Spanning a century, the novel tells the story of Meilin, her son Renshu (Henry), and his daughter Lily.  Forced to flee their home in China, Meilin and Renshu suffer loss and tragedy before settling in Taiwan.  Through their trauma Meilin tells Renshu Chinese folk tales from a beautiful scroll she's taken with her on their journey. Meilin makes sure that Renshu is educated and encourages his travel to the US to complete his education.  There Renshu, now Henry, settles, marries and becomes the father of a daughter Lily.  Lily, caught between two cultures, wants to hear her father's story, but he never discusses his life in China.  The book is a search for where one fits in the world and explores how one's past affects one's future and family.  I loved this book.
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Publication date:  March 17, 2022

When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you have personally decided to basically continue on #maskingup and #lockingdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #fourthwave (#fifthwave?) is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. Plus it is hot as all heck and nothing is more appealing than sitting in front of a fan with a kindle!

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

A moving debut novel about war, migration, and the power of telling stories, Peach Blossom Spring follows three generations of a Chinese family on their search for a place to call home.

With every misfortune, there is a blessing and within every blessing, the seeds of misfortune, and so it goes, until the end of time.

It is 1938 in China and, as a young wife, Meilin’s future is bright. But with the Japanese army approaching, Meilin and her four-year-old son, Renshu, are forced to flee their home. Relying on little but their wits and a beautifully illustrated handscroll, filled with ancient fables that offer solace and wisdom, they must travel through a ravaged country, seeking refuge.

Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. Though his daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, 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? Yet how can Lily learn who she is if she can never know her family’s story?

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 haunting question: What would it mean to finally be home?

Home is a funny word ... 6 years ago my parents sold the only home I know and I felt ungrounded for months ... I had to accept that my crappy flat was "home"...I am still having problems with that despite living here 23 years. ( We cannot afford to move as our rent would at least triple...)

This book is STUNNING ... it is a mixture of the horrors of war, feeling ungrounded and understanding our past so we can understand our future. It is a perfect book club book and 
I will recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, and people reading books in the park as we do … I have had some of my best conversations about books down by the Thames!

Read this book and then tell all your friends to ... they will not be disappointed.

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. ") on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸
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What a great debut novel. The writing was poetic, soft, and had a quiet vibe. It was nice reading about the subject matter, and as a historical fiction lover, knowing more about a country’s history would always be a plus. I felt empathy towards the characters, it was hard not to. This was without a doubt written with heart; I felt quite sad finishing it. 

Full review closer to pub date! To be posted on my blog and Goodreads.
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Absorbing intergenerational family saga following a mother, her son, and his daughter from China to Taiwan to the United States. Themes from Chinese folklore are woven throughout, particularly the story "Peach Blossom Spring," in which a man discovers a paradise and must choose whether to remain and never see his home again, or leave and not be able to return.

Meilin flees with her young son Renshu through China, at first escaping Japanese invaders and then civil war between the Nationalists and Communists. With her she carries a precious scroll of illustrated fables, including the title story. When Renshu grows up and studies in the U.S., changing his name to Henry, he faces the same decision to stay and never return. He tries to suppress his connection to China to the point of paranoia and ends up alienating his mixed race daughter Lily, leaving her conflicted about her heritage.

The author paints a vivid picture of China during a time of upheaval and the resettlement of refugees from the mainland in Taiwan. Henry's first generation experiences were presented in an unusual manner, making for an interesting take on the immigrant story. I especially liked the way the themes from the scroll carried through to the end.

An enjoyable and promising debut.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy.
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A beautiful written debut from author Melissa Fu.  A family saga following three generations through history, starting in China during World War II and ending in more recent times in the United States.  It's a book I didn't want to put down.  Melissa's descriptions are wonderfully written, you can almost taste the food and smell the surroundings.  I highly recommend this book to anyone and especially fans of Lisa See.

I was given a free copy via Netgalley for my honest feedback.
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This story was an educational experience.  Historical fiction, takes place late 1930's to 2005.  Starting in China with the Japanese invasion and what the Chinese families went through to survive, being on the run. To arriving in Taiwan, feeling safe, for awhile,  and getting a wonderful education and being accepted at a university in the USA, feeling free, for awhile.  This story shares family, love, hardships, betrayal, survival, growth.  All of these wonderful feelings.  This book was well written.  I really enjoyed reading the story.
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I read this book in one sitting.  Terrific debut novel.  I knew very little about the war for independence in China nor about the Japanese bombing in China.  Add to that, the escape to Taiwan by many of the Chinese. Felt like a history lesson (but  told brilliantly by the author). I was enthralled from beginning to end.  A must read for anyone who wants to know more about this period of time.
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I had the honor to receive a pre-publication copy of "Peach Blossom Spring".  This is a debut novel for Melissa Fu.  Debut novels often come with a lot of heart and this book does just that.  The novel is a 3 generational family story that begins with the family fleeing through China as the Japanese are invading the country.  

The characters in "Peach Blossom Spring" are the greatest part of the novel.  Meilin is a mother protecting her son at all cost.  Renshu, a young boy just trying to have a childhood under great stress and danger.  Around Meilin and Renshu are family members and friends who create a life in times of political unrest and war.  There are moments of extreme tragedy and moments of joy.

I found the style of the writing a little hard to get used to at the beginning.  The book is written in short sentences which felt like it was about just what happens next.  Although, it didn't take long for me to fall into the flow of the story.  

Renshu is the center of this book.  I learned many things about life while on the run for survival in a country at war.  Then how that experience shapes a life in the future and what the experience gives as well as what it takes away.  

To me, this book was about motherhood and survival.  Then, as the story moves on, it is really about fatherhood and a father being unable to tell his story.  Very well done.

I am looking forward to seeing "Peach Blossom Spring" on our bookstore shelves in the Spring!
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I loved this book and read in one sitting.  It’s different from anything I’ve read before.  I feel like a learned a ton about China, culturally and historically.  There are lots of stories told throughout that entertain and educate and make the point that everyone lives their own story.

This is historical fiction, but it is so much more.  It’s about a family and especially about a mother and her son.  It asks big questions like where is home, and what is a parent.  

The main character Meilin is a woman to be admired. As a mother myself, my heart broke for all she had to go through to make sure her son stayed safe.  She puts him first always.   She is strong and smart.  Her story of struggle and survival during the War of Aggression and the Civil War while taking care of her son, Rengsu, is compulsive.  She is so resourceful and finds her feet after all kinds of horrible events.   She contents herself with so little and never complains or expects anything from life.  We could all learn a lot from her way of living.  In the end, it is she who, from afar, heals the relationship between father and daughter.  What a testament to motherly love!

The second part of the book is mostly from Rengsu’s perspective and his integration or lack thereof into American society.   The incredible difficulty he has doing so is very telling and the fact that he basically can never let his guard down or even talk about his past is sad. His family life is negatively affected because of his past, and I found this to be heartbreaking to read.  This is such a reality for so many new Americans.  We have no idea of the stress and trauma that lingers after they have “made it” to America.   His daughter Lily is someone many of us can relate to.  I felt for his wife, Rachel, as she stuck by him and tried to understand him as best she could.  Issues of interracial marriage were still around as late as the 60s and that was a shocking reminder of how America is still experiecing growing pains when it comes to race relations.    

The book ends with the third generation, Lily.   The difficulty of relating to a parent from another country/culture/time in history is an issue so many of us face.   The ending was sweet and sad but it was a lovely, realistic and touching resolution that suggest hope for the future.  

I especially appreciated the author’s note which shone a lot of light on the genesis of this novel.  It really added to my appreciation of this amazing work.  

Melissa Fu is a talented writer whose style is easy to read and whose characters come alive on the page.  I wanted to spend more time with Meilin, Rengsu and Lily.  Sequel??

Thanks to Melissa Fu, Little Brown and NetGalley for this gift of an early read.  I will be talking about this book for a long time as it really is one that sticks with the reader.
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