Cover Image: The Phoenix Crown

The Phoenix Crown

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

San Francisco, 1906. Days before the devastating earthquake that shattered the town.

Soprano Gemma Garland, joining a new company after chronic migraines left her career in New York in tatters, arrives in town, eager to make a name for herself, alongside her artist bestie, Nellie.

Meanwhile San Francisco native, Suling Feng is desperate to find her way out of an arranged marriage and start a career as an embroideress in an aterier instead of a drudge in the family's laundry. Gemma and Suling's paths collide when they are sponsored by the same man: Henry Thornton, a businessman with a taste for the arts.

As the timeline moves inexorably towards the earthquake, the Gemma, Suling, and their mutual friend, botanist Alice Eastwood find themselves united to in attempt to right some terrible wrongs.

Set amid the very real event of the San Francisco earthquake, this is a fast-paced, multi-layered read that touches on Orientalism, racism, sexuality, women's rights, justice, privilege and so much more. The women in the story are strong, vivid characters, and I loved the way the book portrayed the friendship between them all.

Beautifully written and compelling.

~ Many thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review~

**Note: I also listened to the audio book of this through Audible, and thoroughly enjoyed the narration by Katherine Chin and Saskia Maarleveld as they portrayed the characters of Suling ans Gemma.

Was this review helpful?

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, "The Phoenix Crown" introduces readers to a gripping narrative that unfolds just 13 days before and up to the fateful event. With a meticulously crafted storyline, this collaborative work by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang introduces two main characters, Gemma and Suling, whose lives become intricately entwined in the face of impending disaster.

Gemma, a talented soprano opera singer, arrives in San Francisco searching for her friend Nellie. However, upon her arrival, she discovers Nellie's absence and befriends Alice Eastwood, a botanist and curator at the Californian Academy of Science. On the other hand, Suling, an American-born Chinese girl struggling in Chinatown, dresses as a laundry boy to earn money so that she can escape the undesirable fate of an arranged marriage. Her heartbreaking quest also involves searching for her lost love, Reggie, amid the challenges of her circumstances.

The story takes a captivating turn when Henry Thornton, a wealthy and charming railway tycoon with a sinister agenda, enters their lives. Henry becomes Gemma's patron, recognizing her exceptional soprano voice while simultaneously exploiting Suling's talents as an embroideress. All three women find themselves connected through a boarding house on Taylor Street, their acquaintance with Henry, and an intricate web of lies and deceit.

As the plot unfolds, questions about Henry's intentions arise, especially concerning Reggie Reynolds' disappearance. The San Francisco Earthquake becomes a turning point, setting the stage for a daring pursuit of justice that spans from America to Buenos Aires and eventually to Paris.

The authors skillfully maintain a well-paced narrative, weaving a rich and intricate tapestry of historical fiction. "The Phoenix Crown" is a testament to the resilience of women trying to overcome poverty, societal constraints and prejudices while facing the story's villains. Including LGBTQIA characters adds depth and diversity to the narrative, enhancing the overall reading experience.

It's important to note that the story touches on some derogatory language used to describe Chinese immigrants, making it necessary to be mindful of potential triggers. Despite this, the novel is a compelling and empowering read that transports readers to a vividly depicted historical landscape.

In conclusion, "The Phoenix Crown" is a must-read for historical fiction enthusiasts seeking a well-crafted story of courage, friendship, and the pursuit of justice against the backdrop of a significant historical event. Kate Quinn and Janie Chang's collaborative effort has produced a truly captivating and enriching tale. 📚✨

I received a digital copy of The Phoenix Crown by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang from HarperCollins Publishers Australia and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely love anything Kate Quinn writes...and this is definitely up there with my favourites. Love the women depicted in this book and their resilience despite adversity from society around their gender, sexuality, heritage and illness. Adore that Alice is a real life character with the fictional characters interwoven into her feats. Highly recommend!

Was this review helpful?

The Phoenix Crown follows the story of two women, determined to change their futures. Their lives are uprooted when they are uprooted in the San Fransisco earthquake, and wronged by local railway magnate Henry Thornton.

However it’s actually about four women, all struggling to survive and thrive in a world in which they have little influence. This story offered such a rich tapestry of insights into culture, gender and social history of the early 1900’s. It was incredibly well paced, and the writing was just beautiful.

The women were strong and compelling, but the way the authors wove together their vulnerability and humanity really made them jump off the page. The scenes describing the San Fransisco earthquake were highly immersive, and provided such rich insight into the variety of experiences of different residents during this time.

I’d highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, as an easy and engrossing read. With history often recorded men’s perspective, I love books like this which provide a female perspective during significant historical events. I found Alice’s character particularly inspiring, being based on a real person.

Thank you HarperCollins Australia and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I’ll cut straight to the chase… The Phoenix Crown is a must–read for historical fiction lovers and, really, just about anyone who loves reading strong female characters.

From this novel’s opening page, I was captivated by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang’s strikingly evocative narrative.

The fictional tapestry within which the authors have woven real historical people and events is vivid and alive; the folly and decadence of high society against a backdrop of racial tension reaching fever pitch in San Francisco’s Chinatown at the turn of the 1900s.

The feisty women centre stage are barely contained by this novel’s pages. While the publisher’s synopsis for The Phoenix Crown suggests two female leads, I was delighted to find readers are ultimately introduced to four leading ladies, along with a strong enigmatic secondary. One of the many things that make this story so appealing is that these women come from all walks of life but have one experience in common. Life has taught them that to have any chance of living their best life, they must take matters into their own hands and fight for it.

It was such a pleasure to connect with these characters and then follow them through many heart-in-the-mouth moments as they battle to overcome not just adversity and their own demons but also a natural disaster and some particularly detestable adversaries. Oh, and don’t worry, despite the era, Quinn and Chang have ensured their leading ladies cross paths with some men with wholly redeeming qualities who are more than comfortable playing second fiddle.

The Phoenix Crown is a novel that captivates with its prose, is enlivened by diversity and is driven by female empowerment. Unreservedly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

San Francisco, 1906, two very different women are hoping to change their fortune.

Gemma is a soprano opera singer, hoping that a debut with the San Francisco opera will rekindle her career and Suling, an embroidery wiz from Chinatown, looking for a way to escape an arranged marriage.

Their lives cross when they are both bought into the folds by Henry Thornton, a railroad magnet with an extraordinary collection of Chinese artefacts, including the fabled Phoenix Crown.

But everything changes when an earthquake rips apart San Francisco. Thornton, along with the crown vanishes, leaving a mystery with the two women drawn into the centre.

I was hesitant at first going into this book. While I love both authors, I find author collaborations don’t often work well. This book however was brilliant. It didn’t read as if two authors were writing and was incredibly cohesive.

At its core, this is a book about strong female characters. In a world not designed for them, they work out ways to use it to their advantage.

At the beginning of the story, both Gemma and Suling are down about their situations. They’re both looking, not just for a better life, but for their respective loved ones. When the women start working together however, they become unstoppable and nothing will get in the way of them finding the truth.

This is a brilliant history fiction novel with a fun mystery in the centre. And of course, amazing female characters

Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins Publishers Australia and the authors for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

Was this review helpful?

I felt this book was a more fast paced version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s historical novels. It follows four talented women from early 20th century San Fransisco to Paris. Their lives become intertwined around a rich patron of the arts who isn’t as he seems. Following the 1906 San Fransisco earthquake, the women have to fight to survive and rebuild their lives afterwards. This book had good Chinese American rep and forbidden queer relationship rep. The characters of Alice and Caruso were real people and, since the book is based on a real tragedy in American history, it was well and thoroughly researched. There were too many main characters to get to know each one well enough to feel emotionally invested in their stories. I enjoyed the pace of this book, however, Act 2 felt a bit rushed and the fate of the villain wasn’t super satisfying. I have read and loved many of Kate Quinn’s books but this is my first Janie Chang book but it definitely won’t be the last.
4.5 stars

Was this review helpful?

'An unforgettable story about the intertwined lives of two wronged women, spanning from the chaos of the San Francisco earthquake to the glittering palaces of Versailles...

Following the lives of two very different women;
Gemma an opera singer soprano trying to rekindle her career and Suling a young Chinese embroiderer hoping to escape Chinatown and her arranged marriage.

Gemma has moved from New York to meet up with her long time friend Nellie and chase her dreams.
When she arrives all is not as it seems and she meets a rather interesting botanist named Alice Eastward at the Taylor Street boarding house.

Suling and Gemma’s paths then cross by way of the boarding house in Taylor Street and Henry Thornton a railway magnate and collector of Chinese antiques. Including the fabled Phoenix Crown.

His patronage offers Gemma and the chance of a lifetime. But their world is thrown into turmoil with the San Francisco earthquake.

Thorntons disappearance. With Thornton vanishing he has left behind a mystery needing to be solved.

This is a wonderful historical novel depicting the history of San Francisco around the time of the 1906 earthquake. It gives a brilliant insight into what it is like as a career driven female in these times. It gives great insights into the the strength and also vulnerabilities of each of the four women and was wonderful to see them work together.

It also gives a fascinating perspective of the lives of Chinese people and their hardships during the turn of the century. The ways they were treated and viewed was really interesting to learn and truly eye opening.

The plot of the story was also generally well thought out and interesting with just the right amount of intrigue and mystery to keep you reading.
My only issue was the pacing of the story. I found the beginning to be a rather slower pace were as the ending was rather fast.

I also really enjoyed the build up of the characters and their unlikely friendships, each of them were easily related to and well depicted. The story was a definite winner for me and I would recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collin’s for the advanced copy e book I received.

(I plan on posting this review on my Instagram page, Good reads and website on the 22nd of February. links below)

Was this review helpful?

In this fast-paced novel, the lives of three young and independent women intertwine as they navigate their careers and relationships in Edwardian San Francisco. Gemma, an opera singer, finds herself still in the chorus at 33 after a series of misfortunes. She soon succumbs to ambition and temptation, becoming the mistress of an intriguing businessman Mr Thornton, but is he what he seems? Suling embroiders beautifully, but she also finds it impossible to get ahead. Occasionally, she joins her friends who work in a brothel to dress in exotic clothes, and wait on tables at Mr Thornton's place. She yearns for her lover Reggie, who suddenly disappeared. Alice Eastland is older than Gemma and Suling. She works as a scientist at the amazing Museum of Natural History, and loves unusual plants.When the huge earthquake of 1906 strikes, these three women will learn where their values really lie.

This story of three women, dark secrets and a natural disaster was so exciting that I could hardly put it down. Edwardian San Francisco was an unusual setting, vividly brought to life, and I also liked the addition of the great opera singer Caruso as one of the minor characters.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

In early April 1906, two weeks before the San Francisco earthquake that destroyed the city, opera singer Gemma Garland arrives in the city after fleeing New York. She has a new job, singing in the chorus of Carmen, thrilled that Enrico Caruso is to be play Don Juan. Arriving at her best friend artist Nellie Doyle's lodging house, she discovers Nellie has left suddenly, so rents Nellie’s old room and meets and befriends fellow lodger Alice Eastwood, Curator of Botany at the California Academy of Sciences.

Gemma immediately loves the energy and can-do attitude in the bustling city of San Francisco. Rehearsing at the Opera house, while waiting for the rest of the company to arrive, her beautiful voice is heard by railway and mining magnate Henry Thornton who offers to become her patron. Henry is well known not only as a patron of the arts, but also for his collection of Chinese artifacts, including the exquisite phoenix crown - a magnificent headdress made for an empress, with phoenixes carved in blue and white jade, butterflies made from kingfisher feathers, and decorated with sapphires and pearls.

Another woman connected with Henry Thornton is nineteen year old Sunling Feng, an orphan whose uncle has taken over her parents laundry business and wants to marry her off, but Suling is also a talented seamstress and exquisite embroiderer who has her own plans for her future. The novel follows Gemma, Nellie, Alice and Suling in the days before the San Francisco earthquake and beyond as they disperse around the world and then brings them back together in Paris to right a grave injustice.

I really enjoyed this interesting and well written historical novel based around the lives of these four very different but strong women (Gemma, Nellie, Alice and Suling) all forging their own paths at a time when being a woman with a career or vocation was difficult and rare. I also loved the vibe and atmosphere of San Francisco as a young and exciting city full of self made men (and some women) before it was destroyed and rebuilt. As a Chinese woman, Suling has other prejudices to overcome and the descriptions of Chinatown and the lives of those who lived there were also well depicted.

The collaboration between the authors works well in this novel and I appreciated their notes on the characters at the end of the novel. In particular, those about the remarkable botanist Alice Eastwood, a self-made scientist and the real Curator of Botany, who was an intrepid hunter and collector of rare plants around the world. She heroically saved over 1500 botanical specimens from the fires that ripped through San Francisco in the aftermath of the earthquakes and later returned to rebuild the collection and hold the position of Curator until she was 90. What a woman!

Was this review helpful?

Set in the early 20th century this wonderful story follows the lives of four women and their struggle for identity in San Francisco when a devastating earthquake hits.

In a word, this book is operatic. It builds into a crescendo and soars.

The writing is sublime and the storyline is immersive, with busy, bright San Francisco as a colourful backdrop. The characters have such depth, and their stories are woven skillfully together. They are formidable apart and devastating together.

In particular, I felt enormous empathy for Suling - born and raised in San Francisco but treated as 'other' by the white people around her. She deftly finds her way through bigotry, tragedy and heartbreak.

My favourite character had to be Alice, who is based on a real person. She's fierce and exacting - a student of human nature as much as she is of botany.

These women's stories drew me in. I don't want to give too much away but the theme of a phoenix rising from the ashes is poignant.

I want to see this on the screen - a series perhaps, to do the details justice.

If you are a fan of excellent storytelling, well-researched history and memorable characters, this book is for you.

Read the Authors' Note at the end for the best experience.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and Harper Collins Australia. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This novel follows the interconnecting lives of four women in early 20th century San Francisco and later Paris, plus an dubious millionaire, a cute latin pianist, a strong Chinese brothel madam, a Queen of the Night flower.. I loved the cast of characters in this one! The twists kept coming until the last page and i was hooked with the countdown to the earthquake. Another of Quinn's books to add to the list of those I thoroughly enjoyed and my first novel by Chang.
The two authors work flowed seamlessly together for an exciting and unique historical fiction which I quickly became hooked to.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this novel.

Was this review helpful?

Anything penned by Kate Quinn is worthy of your attention. On this occasion, The Phoenix Crown has a unique cast of female characters at its heart that is sure to draw readers in. There is an opera singer, a botanist, a painter and a Chinese seamstress who find their lives thrown together and must learn to overcome major obstacles to find justice.
‘Take four women as different as four women could be - an opera singer in her thirties, an emaciated artist from the Bronx, a capable middle-aged scientist, a Chinese seamstress not even twenty.’
This book is of course jointly written with Kate and Janie Chang and I am happy to report that their collaboration is seamless. Although not as rich as I have found Kate’s individual books to be, The Phoenix Crown flowed easily with complimentary writing styles that would make it difficult to pick individual contributions. The book is well researched with focus on topics including opera singing, San Francisco at the turn of the century with a particular focus on the earthquake of 1906. Perhaps the most powerful themes surrounded the treatment of Chinese immigrants and women. The Author’s Notes at the end provided great insight into both their inspiration for the tale and fact versus fiction.
‘Phoenix Crown. Two words to spark a flurry of telegrams across oceans and continents. Two words to spark frenzied plans, hasty boat tickets, memory-fueled nightmares.’
The Phoenix Crown does a wonderful job of transporting readers to another place and time. It may at times lack the sophistication we have come to expect from Kate alone, however, it does a superb job highlighting a variety of topical issues. If stories of female friendship coming together and supporting one another to undergo self discovery appeals to you then certainly this book is most entertaining.
“Oh, a phoenix crown … This must’ve belonged to an empress. Or a royal consort.” Only women from the royal family could’ve owned such a headdress.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

Was this review helpful?

“Listen, my dearest,” Madam Ning said, “the world doesn’t give women many paths to choose from. Worse yet, we are Chinese women in a country that hates Chinese.’

San Franscico, 1906. The two main characters are Suling Feng, a talented embroiderer who works in her family’s laundry in Chinatown and Gemma Garland, a talented opera soprano who seems confined to support roles. As the story opens, Gemma has just moved to San Francisco to take up a role in the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera travelling company. She’s planning on staying with her friend Nellie in a room on Nob Hill. On arrival, Gemma finds Nellie has disappeared.

We meet Suling and learn about the treatment of the much maligned and restricted Chinese in Chinatown. Suling’s uncle (her parents are dead) is arranging her marriage to a much older man. Her uncle needs the money he will receive, but Suling is determined to escape.

The wealthy Henry Thornton takes an interest in Gemma. He has an extensive collection of Chinese artefacts, at least one of which came from Beijing’s Summer Palace:

‘Only women from the royal family could’ve owned such a headdress. Sapphires, pearls, and rubies traced a pattern around the lower part of the headdress. Phoenixes carved from pale
blue and white jade flew across the front and sides. Heavy white tassels, which on closer inspection were strings of tiny white pearls, dangled down the back, carved flower pendants at their
ends. Strings of larger pearls looped down the sides. But the blue! The upper part of the headdress was covered in hundreds of blue flowers and blue butterflies trembling on gold wires. The
petals and butterfly wings were inlaid with kingfisher feathers, a brilliant intense color more enthralling to the eye than any gemstone or flower, so vivid Suling felt she had never truly seen
the color blue before.’

Suling is employed by Henry Thornton to make some repairs to his collection and she and Gemma become friends. But, as we learn, Henry Thornton has secrets.

The story alternates between Suling and Gemma and once the earthquake hits, the pace increases. Henry Thornton is a villain, while Alice Eastwood (a passionate botanist) is a terrific character, as is Madame Ning
Ms Quinn and Ms Chang bring San Francisco to life: from the challenges of life in Chinatown to the glitterati of Nob Hill. And then the earthquake hits inflicting chaos. Henry Thornton seems to disappear … and then the Phoenix Crown reappears at a costume ball in Paris five years later.

Fast moving, intriguing historical fiction. I enjoyed this novel. While I have previously read some of Ms Quinn’s novels, I have not (yet) read any of Ms Chang’s books.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers Australia providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

Was this review helpful?

This is a fabulous story set in San Francisco in 1906 around the time of the earthquake that so devastated this wonderful city.

Quinn and Chang introduce us to two special people: Suling Feng, a 20-something talented embroiderist who runs her family's laundromat, and Gemma Garland, an opera soprano, who is a gifted vocalist but seems to miss out on the big lead roles. The authors do a great job with alternate chapter POVs for each of the leads. Interestingly, we discover the connection the two have before they do as the authors juxtapose the worlds of the rich elitists and the maligned Chinese. San Francisco is known for having one of the most vibrant Chinatown's in the world and it was lovely to spend time exploring this world through the eyes of Suling.

The two characters are very different and the authors explore these as well as demonstrating their commonalities later in the story.

Henry Thornton is a marvellous bad guy. On the surface, he's charming, wealthy and powerful. Once again, the authors show us how such people can lose their humanity and become so driven in their pursuit of more and more!

I loved exploring early 1900s San Francisco, a city I always enjoy visiting. The descriptions of the devastation, havoc and chaos the earthquake and ensuing fires caused was fascinating to read, if in a fictional setting.

The supporting cast of characters are excellent and add great colour and depth to the story. Suling's aunty, Madame Ning who runs one of the leading brothels in the city, Alice Eastwood, the passionate botanist and Reggie Reynolds (nee Nellie Doyle), a budding artist.

This is a book that has you quickly turning pages as the writing is generously paced with one always anticipating the various moves of Suling and Gemma. Once the earthquake hits, the pace speeds up along with the chaos in the devastated city.

I feel very fortunate to have received access from the publisher to the ebook version via the Net Galley app but this has had no bearing on my review of the novel.

Was this review helpful?

Prior to the devastating earthquake on the 18th of April 1906, San Francisco was a jewel of the West Coast of America, a busy city full of self-made millionaires and three days later it was left a smoking ruin. One of the biggest natural disasters in United States history, over thirty thousand buildings were lost and including The Palace Hotel and Grand Opera House and the mansions on Nob Hill.

Thirteen days before the earthquake hit, Gemma Garland an opera singer, travels to San Francisco to meet up with her best friend Nellie Doyle a nomadic painter. Alice Eastwood is a botanist and she works as a curator at the Californian Academy of Science. Suling Feng lives in Chinatown, her parents have recently passed away, her third uncle has arranged for Suling to get married, to an older doctor and she’s planning to run away.

The women are linked via two reasons a boarding house on Taylor Street and knowing Henry Thornton and all are inevitably tangled up in his evil web of lies and deceit. Henry is a rich and charming railway tycoon, he's interested in the arts and has a large collection of Chinese antiques including The Phoenix Crown a relic of Beijing’s fallen Summer Palace and exotic plants that he shows off at his mansion Octagon House.

Henry informs Gemma she has the best soprano voice he’s ever heard and he wants to be her patron, and he pays Suling to use her skills as an embroideress to repair a dragon robe and thinks she's wasting her talent delivering laundry.

Three women start questioning things about Henry, what happened to Reggie Reynolds and then the earthquake hits. Henry Thornton escapes and five years later, Alice reads The Phoenix Crown is to be worn at the palace of Versailles and at a costume ball, and Henry had it when they last saw him. The ladies are determined this time he won’t slip away and they come from America and Buenos Aires to Paris and hatch a daring plan to catch him out.

I received a digital copy of The Phoenix Crown by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang from HarperCollins Publishers Australia and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The dynamic duo uses real facts and people to cleverly write and weave a captivating historical mystery story. I didn’t know a lot about the San Francisco earthquake and it was the fires that destroyed what was left of the city and how large the Chinatown district was, made up of mostly single men and American’s didn’t like them and they thought they spread diseases, were responsible for crime, prostitution and opium addiction.

This of course isn't entirely true, Chinatown did have honest businesses, such as laundries and shops and families lived there. I admired Suling’s character, she was smart and fierce, and her last name Feng means Phoenix in Chinese. A story about survival, all of the women rising from the ashes, not letting one greedy man get away with the numerous crimes he committed, getting justice and not giving up. I really liked this narrative, something different and five stars from me.

Was this review helpful?

My rating:

Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Writing: 4 out of 5 stars
Character development: 4out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Recommended for readers of:

Historical Fiction


A beautifully written story that captures you from the start, thought provoking at times. It deals with the meaning of the bonds of female friendships. The main characters are interesting strong women from different walks of lives. The book also gives an insight into the life and hardship of Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century. An interesting story full of intrigue set in an interesting time and place.

Review copy provided through Netgalley at no cost to me.

Was this review helpful?

A magnificently told tale set at a breathtaking pace! The characterisation is superbly presented and I could tell that it has been impeccably researched. A little piece of history.

Was this review helpful?

The Phoenix Crown
By Kate Quinn, Janie Chang

Historical Fiction and Literary Fiction

👑 Strong women friendships
👑 Hardships of Chinese immigrants
👑 Murder

Four women from different walks of life team up together with one goal to survive the aftermath of an earthquake and the person that connects them all Thornton.

Beautifully written.

If you enjoy historical fiction highly recommended.

Thanks NetGalley and Harper Collins Publishers Australia for a digital copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

What a treat The combination of Kate Quinn and Janie Chang to share their talents in the historical event of the San Francisco great earthquake. The four women that we follow are party based on real people at the time, some as in Alice ,was actually the botanist she is portrayed to be. She has plant species named after her and was actually a Director at the Herbarium. The novel is beautifully constructed with seamless integration of each story. The Chinese parts are obviously beneficiaries of Janie Chang’s personal contributions but every part of the setting is beautifully researched and accurate. The build to the earthquake is reasoned and just enough as you do know what is going to happen. Of course it’s part romance so there is a villain who pushes the story along and provides some page turning impetus. WhatI loved most was the real contributions of historical fact, the life of Chinese men and women, the opera and the life of an opera singer, the artist and of course Alice the botanist. Thanks to @netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review and share my thoughts in return for the advance copy.

Was this review helpful?