An epic, heart-wrenching story of a mother and daughters journey to their destiny.
Lotus Feet. He would give his daughter the dainty feet of a courtesan. This would enhance her beauty and her price, making her future shine like a new coin. He smiled to himself, pouring fresh tea. And it would stop her from running away
When the young concubine of an old farmer in rural China gives birth to a daughter called Li-Xia, or Beautiful One, the child seems destined to become a concubine herself. Li refuses to submit to her fate, outwitting her fathers orders to bind her feet and escaping the silk farm with an English sea captain. Li takes her first steps toward fulfilling her mothers dreams of becoming a scholarbut her final triumph must be left to her daughter, Su Sing, Little Star, in a journey that will take her from remote mountain refuges to the perils of Hong Kong on the eve of World War II.
The Painter of Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein
Shadow of the Moon by MM KayeIn 1913 an orphan girl boards a steamship bound for Wuhu in South East China. Left in the hands of her soft-hearted but opium-addicted uncle she is delivered to The Hall of Eternal Splendour which, with its painted faces and troubling cries in the night, seems destined to break her spirit. And yet the girl survives and one day hope appears in the unlikely form of a customs inspector, a modest man resistant to the charms of the corrupt world that surrounds him but not to the innocent girl who stands before him. From the crowded rooms of a small-town brothel, heavy with the smoke of opium pipes and the breath of drunken merchants, to the Bohemian hedonism of Paris and the 1930s studios of Shanghai, Jennifer Epstein's first novel, based on a true story, is an exquisite evocation of a fascinating time and place, with a breathtaking heroine at its heart.
AudioFile review: Complex, colorful saga about the British Raj
Shogun by James Clavell
An explorer in seventeenth-century Japan, ambitious Englishman Blackthorne encounters the powerful and power-hungry Lord Toranaga and Catholic convert Lady Mariko.
A Single Pebble by John Hersey
A young American engineer sent to China to inspect the unruly Yangtze River travels up through the river's gorges searching for dam sites. Pulled on a junk hauled by forty-odd trackers, he is carried, too, into the settled, ancient way of life of the people of the Yangtze -- until the interplay of his life with theirs comes to a dramatic climax.
Green Dragon, White Tiger, by Annette Motley.
Library Journal review: In the 7th century A.D. the Empress Wu ascended the Dragon Throne to become the only woman to rule China. This novel begins that incredible story with a prophesy made for an infant named Black Jade. The central thread of the novel follows how that destiny comes to fruition. The often cold-blooded struggles and intrigues of court life are presented with great care, but the Empress is given perhaps too much sympathy. Her image, though powerful and passionate, it rather shallow. Also, romance is overused, detracting from a novel that is rich in the historical details of ancient Chinese culture: a world of exquisite, delicate beauty and viciously rigid social structure.
The Secret Mandarin, by Sara Sheridan
Desperate to shield her from scandal, Mary's brother-in-law, the ambitious botanist Robert Fortune, forces her to accompany him on a mission to China to steal tea plants for the East India Company. But Robert conceals his secret motives - to spy for the British forces, newly victorious in the recent Opium War.His task is both difficult and dangerous - the British are still regarded as enemies by the Chinese and exporting tea bushes carries the death sentence. In these harsh conditions Mary grieves for her London life and the baby she has been forced to leave behind, while her fury at Robert intensifies.As their quest becomes increasingly treacherous, Robert and Mary disguise themselves as a mandarin and man-servant. Thousands of miles from everything familiar, Mary revels in her new freedom and the Chinese way of life - and when danger strikes, finds unexpected reserves of courage.The Secret Mandarin is an unforgettable story of love, fortitude and recklessness - of a strong woman determined to make it in a man's world and a man who will stop at nothing to fulfil his desires.
Aztec by Gary Jennings.
Aztec is the extraordinary story of the last and greatest native civilization of North America. Told in the words of one of the most robust and memorable characters in modern fiction, Mixtli-Dark Cloud, Aztec reveals the very depths of Aztec civilization from the peak and feather-banner splendor of the Aztec Capital of Tenochtitlan to the arrival of Hernán Cortás and his conquistadores, and their destruction of the Aztec empire. The story of Mixtli is the story of the Aztecs themselves---a compelling, epic tale of heroic dignity and a colossal civilizations rise and fall.
Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge
Publishers' Weekly review:
While Hatshepsut, Egypt's only woman Pharoah, was considered a god, Gedge portrays her as very much a human being in this fine historical tale.