Author: Kirsty Manning
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: May 14, 2019
Source: TLC Book Tours
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "In 2016, fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm, when her grandfather is dying. With only weeks left together, her grandparents begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century.
In 1939, two young girls meet in Shanghai, the 'Paris of the East': beautiful local Li and Viennese refugee Romy form a fierce friendship. But the deepening shadows of World War Two fall over the women as Li and Romy slip between the city's glamorous French Concession and the desperate Shanghai Ghetto. Eventually, they are forced separate ways as Romy doubts Li's loyalties.
After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents' past. As she peels back the layers of their hidden lives, she begins to question everything she knows about her family - and herself. "
My Two Cents:
"The Song of the Jade Lily" is a historical fiction with a split-time narrative. One time takes place in 2016 when Alexandra is tending to her dying grandfather in Australia. She has always been fairly close to both of her grandparents, Wilhelm and Romy, who immigrated from Austria to China during World War II before creating a new life in Australia. The second part takes place in the late 1930s as World War II is tearing the world apart. Romy and her parents leave Europe for the exotic city of Shanghai, China, where they can still enter without a visa. Full of hidden family secrets and interesting settings, this was a great story!
The basis for this story was so fascinating! I have read many stories about Jewish refugees fleeing for places like the United States, South America, and Israel but I don't believe I had read a story about refugees leaving for places like China. While the beaten path can be fun to read about, I also appreciate reading things about events that I don't know much about and this was definitely one of those things. I loved Romy's descriptions of Shanghai and the things she experienced and the people that she met there. The amount of detail in the book was perfection. You can imagine all these places that the characters are seeing very easily.
You all may have caught on that I love a story based on family secrets and this book is full of them. Alexandra thinks that she knows a lot about her grandparents' lives but as her grandfather is dying, things keep slipping out. These are things that Alexandra never knew about before and she is trying to get to the bottom of all of these things that she thought she knew about her grandparents. She discovers that the past is often difficult.
This book was well-written and I can't wait to see what the author writes next!