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Spring Moon: A Novel of China
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Spring Moon: A Novel of China

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,999 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
At a time of mystery and cruelty ... in an ancient land of breathtaking beauty and exotic surprise ... a courageous woman triumphs over her world's ultimate tragedy.

Behind the garden walls of the House of Chang, pampered daughter Spring Moon is born into luxury and privilege. But the tempests of change sweep her into a new world -- one of hardship, turmoil, and heartbreak,
Paperback, 480 pages
Published April 27th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published 1981)
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Eskana Well, there's always Amazon. I found it at a used book sale- there were several copies.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 17, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those Interested in Chinese History and Culture
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
I've recently read three novels set in China from a list of recommended historical fiction: Min's Empress Orchid, See's Snowflower and the Secret Fan, and Bao's Spring Moon. All three are written by Chinese-American women about female Chinese protagonists born in the late Ch'ing Manchu Dynasty--the times of the Opium Wars, the Taiping Rebellion and in the case of this novel, Spring Moon, taking us to the ending of that dynasty to the Communist Revolution. The three books paint a rather consisten ...more
Jul 22, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spring Moon was a powerful book. It has been almost a decade since I read it and some passages I have never forgotten. The book follows the life of a young girl who is born into a wealthy family in Imperialist China and has her feet bound and ends with her life under the communists when she is an old lady. There is drama and heartache and rare moments of happiness. There are difficult decisions that must be lived with. I learned quite a bit about China reading this book and have never forgotten ...more
May 03, 2014 Michelle rated it liked it
A promising novel that tells the story of the House of Chang from the 1890's till the early 70's but that doesn't seem to fulfill its promise. It seems that Bette Lord tried too hard to fit this family's life into the history of China and although all the incidents are interesting, they don't seem to develop as deeply as I had expected them to. She wanted each of her characters to play an important role in the shaping of China's history but it didn't all ring true - it seemed somewhat contrived ...more
Dec 12, 2008 Ronda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was required reading in my 10th grade combined studies (English/History) class (though it could have been 11th or 12th grade--don't remember for sure). What's really wild about this book is that, 20 years after I read it, when someone asked me about historical fiction, it's one of the first titles that popped into my head. For someone interested in finding out more about growing up in another culture in another time, or in Chinese history or women's history--this book has it all.
Sep 30, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing
When I told my wife I was giving up on Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, she looked at the cover and asked me why I even started reading it. Looking back, I think I was vaguely remembering another novel I'd read as a teenager, and thanks to Amazon, two days later I had that very same novel in my hands. Spring Moon is everything Snow Flower isn't - authentic, readable, gripping, full of real characters I found myself rooting for.
The book follows our heroine from her childhood through her life as C
Dawn (& Ron)
Aug 07, 2012 Dawn (& Ron) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: China, Asian historical fiction readers
Rating Clarification 4-1/2 stars.

I remember this being a sweeping read, which left me with that feeling of having been on a grand journey. Starting in the late 19th century, the reader follows a pampered daughter of Imperial China, Spring Moon, through the sweeping changes of China in the 20th century, and those of her personal life, covering almost 100 years and multiple generations. Despite its big scope, it is the small things that left the biggest impressions.

I read the republished 2004 edi
Dec 21, 2008 Jodi rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 29, 2007 Irishcoda rated it liked it
I enjoyed the first part of this book very much. From the title, I assumed the main character would be Spring Moon and that the story would be told from her point of view. I read somewhere that it's been compared to Gone With The Wind but I have to disagree--except to say that it concerns a family torn apart by civil war. Other characters were introduced into the story and subsequent chapters would go between Spring Moon's point of view and some of the others. I found it distracting, particula ...more
Delicious Strawberry
When Spring Moon was little, it was foretold that she would live to see five generations, and her life unfolds in this story. The family is typical Han Chinese - footbinding and all. The story ends in the late 19th century when the Qing Dynasty still ruled China (but barely) and moves on through the years as the dynasty is abolished and China goes through its revolutionary upheaval. Spring Moon was so sheltered at first, pampered and cared for, and then she goes through all these changes in her ...more
Jul 22, 2007 Emma rated it liked it
Shelves: quest-into-china
Someone else on Good Reads who read this book said that it is a borderline romance novel, but she still throughly enjoyed it. I have to agree. It does have substance, however, as a work of historical fiction. In the late 1800s many people in China were struggling with the introduction of foreign ideas into China. It is the beginning of a divide that will have much greater implications. Through this novel we see this unfold in the lives of three generations of a wealthy family. I think it is loos ...more
Oct 10, 2015 Eskana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
HAving studied modern Chinese history, I recognized a lot of the events, struggles, and themes in this book. China had a heck of a time modernizing... and actually it never really got that much better, what with the cultural revolution and all. However, I feel like anyone teen and above could pick up this book and comfortably settle into what was going on- it's not one of those that you need to know what was happening at the time before you can start reading.

"Spring Moon" tells the story of Spri
Tammy Downing
Nov 07, 2013 Tammy Downing rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes history woven into a story
I really enjoyed reading about the ups and downs of the Chang family dynasty as the years went through WWI, the Communist takeover and then the visit of Henry Kissinger and his entourage including one of the Chang family members. Spring Moon is the central character and she has a very interesting life. I have had this book since 1981 and finally got around to reading it. I'm sorry I waited so long!
Jan 31, 2008 Kathryn rated it really liked it
I read this a long, long time ago and still remember it as a wonderful true story. Bette Bao Lord is China-born and ended up marrying an American diplomat and moving back to China (I hope I've got it right...) and this is her very well told story.
Again, I highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in China.
Jul 28, 2007 Morgen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone looking for good historical fiction with a side of trashy romance
I learned a lot about China. Betty Bao Lord has an incredible way with words. The way she writes women is fantastic. Her women, while they are not what we generally believe to be strong, have enormous strength and inner spirit. I was in love with this story after the first page.
Jun 22, 2013 Anne rated it it was amazing
Something I was reading tonight reminded me of this book. I read it at least 20 or more years ago and remembered loving it. Much later, I read Amy Tan's " The Kitchen God's Wife" and "The Joy Luck Club". I loved all of these books; they are really excellent.
May 15, 2016 Sissy rated it it was ok
I was very excited based on reviews to read Spring Moon. As with most generational narratives, I found myself deeply enjoying the first generation's tale and struggling to care about the fourth and fifth. The historical abstracts at beginning of the chapters were too thin, I had to research more to understand what was really going on especially as the revolution wears on. Honestly, this may have more to do with my lack of knowledge on the subject - so many terms were new and China is so vast. I ...more
Mom (Melanie)
May 09, 2008 Mom (Melanie) rated it it was amazing
I loved this book which spans different generations of a family in China before, during and after the Maoist revolution. Very interesting background on the culture, especially as it pertained to women.
Beth Withers
I think someone versed in Chinese history would have enjoyed this more than I did. The novel takes place in the late 1800s to the 1970s in China, although most of it is in the earlier part of that time frame. Thankfully, there was a character list in the front, or I would have been really confused. The names are translated Chinese names and are not easy to get used to since they are so similar. I was frequently puzzled over some of the historical aspects and did look some things up as I read, bu ...more
Jul 16, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it
Simple editing decisions would have made this a solid 4-star rating to me. The 100-year history of China told following five generations of a family was ambitious but I think the author did it well. I learned a lot about the class system and how it changed over time. I learned more about China's history and the interactions with international affairs. But it was way too much work to follow characters and to figure out the timeframe. I'm ok with working hard with a book. But this was unnecessaril ...more
Trixie Fontaine
Feb 05, 2013 Trixie Fontaine rated it it was amazing
I think I was still a teenager when I read this . . . don't remember a ton about it except that I really enjoyed it / it was a total pageturner.
I have the 1983 edition by Sphere books. brought home to re-read sometime.
Sep 29, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it
The front cover of Spring Moon bills it as a "Chinese Gone with the Wind", which I can sort of see now that I've finished it. The main difference is that the main character isn't a totally reprehensible person.

The story follows Spring Moon throughout her life during a time of great change in China (the fall of the Qing Dynasty, as well as its transition into Communism several years after that). It takes us into a world where tradition battles revolution, and where members of one family make dras
Carole Rae
Jul 16, 2013 Carole Rae rated it it was ok
This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a LONG time. Nearly four years now...*bows head in shame* Finally I decided it was time to take this from my bookshelf and read it.

It took me a while to finish this, but there was so much going on, my poor brain needed a rest. I will also admit at some spots it was rather dry. So did take me some time to get through it. There was a lot going on and China went through many changes over such short amounts of time. It was a lot to take it, b
Mar 16, 2011 Marla rated it liked it
I thought I wrote a review on this already, but I guess not. Anyway, I picked this 'cause I was in the mood for historical fiction (as I am frequently) and Chinese history is something I knew next to nothing about. From a historical point of view, I found the story line of the family culture VERY interesting. The book goes back and forth between the fictional, family story line and the historical facts of Chinese politics during the lifespan of the main character (Spring Moon). Politics, though ...more
This book reminded me of all the historical fiction that I read in high school. My high school librarian didn't have much YA, so I read a lot of Victoria Holt, John Jakes, and other romantic historical fiction.

This author was born in Shanghai in 1938 and, if it weren't for that, I would have concerns about this title. I loved the Chinese myths and legends that were included at the beginning of each chapter, but the life of the rich Changs seemed unbelievable at times. So odd to think they were l
Jeanne Mixon
Nov 07, 2014 Jeanne Mixon rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure if this is book is a guilty pleasure that you really enjoy but don't admit to anyone you really enjoyed it or not, but I really liked it. I liked all of the quotations from famous Chinese philosophers and poets. I liked the way the story was woven around Chinese history. I liked all the cultural details about how people lived their lives before all of the revolutions. So a guilty pleasure book with a lot of Chinese history woven through it.
In theory, I should have loved this novel - set in a fascinating place during tumultuous times, with some strong female characters, and a theme of seeking balance between preservation of worthwhile tradition and adaptation to worthwhile modernity . In practice I struggled with connecting to any of the characters. Partly, maybe, because of the extreme class-consciousness (expressed, for example, in privileged individuals being called names like Fragtant Snow and Lustrous Jade, while servants have ...more
Sep 06, 2011 Melanie rated it it was ok
Shelves: borrowed
While this book is not completely horrid, the slow progression and lack of focus made me slowly dislike it. The summary says that it tells the story of a Chinese girl named Spring Moon, born in a rich family living in Soochow province, amidst the traditional Chinese culture of showing respect for their elders, bonding their feet (practice they called "golden lilies"), not choosing whom they married. And yes, Spring Moon's life spams form the traditional Chinese life until the Chinese Revolution ...more
Sep 14, 2014 Bonnie rated it liked it
This is a very interesting novel covering the period of time from 1892 till the 1970's in China. It follows the life of one girl as she grows up, marries and experiences the tumultuous events that occurred in that country. The author manages to give us a peek at the different idealogies and cultural norms that clashed and evolved into present day Chinese society. That sounds like a lot, but she does it skillfully, as a good story teller does.
May 21, 2014 Joanna rated it really liked it
My dad gave this book to me when I was a teen. I read it then and loved it. Just re-read it and still loved it. A beautiful, interesting book. During this second reading, I learned that Disney heroine and major inspiration of mine and Genevieve's, Mulan (Mu Lan), is based on a true Chinese heroine, perhaps mythological, but her story is a part of the collective psyche. I love that!
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Bette Bao Lord is a Chinese American writer and civic activist for human rights and democracy.

With her mother and father, Dora and Sandys Bao, she came to the United States at the age of eight when her father, a British-trained engineer, was sent there in 1946 by the Chinese government to purchase equipment. In 1949 Bette Bao Lord and her family were stranded in the United States when Mao Zedong
More about Bette Bao Lord...

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“Remember that we are not gods who can fashion events to our desires. We are mere mortals who must learn not to contend with life but to yield to it.” 0 likes
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