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Daughters of the River Huong

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  511 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Amid the turmoil of history, the daughters of Hue's River Huong in Vietnam struggle to fulfill their destinies in a cross-cultural ethnic saga stretching from ancient Hue to romantic Paris to today's Manhattan. Beginning in the Violet City of Hue, these stories of a Vietnamese royal concubine and her descendants span four generations, portraying Vietnam's struggle for inde ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Ravensyard Publishing
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Tara Chevrestt
I thought this was a beautiful, well told, and engaging read. It's about five women, really, not three. The book opens with a very unhappy modern day Simone.. Why is she unhappy with her marriage? What's the deal with the husband? I immediately sensed a secret there..

The narrative then goes back to Simone's great grandmother in central Vietnam in the days when there was still a king, tho under French occupation. The Mystique Concubine catches the eye of the king when she is a boat paddler with a
Carolyn Roys
I inter-library loaned this book as I though it sounded fabulous. This is several hours I will never get back. I kept hoping it would get better. The book came all the way from a Wyoming library so I'm sorry for the wasted effort. The writing was scatter-brained but I could have handled that if the story had been as compelling as advertised. I love books with some historical context, especially set in countries that have deep ties to the US. The character that holds the book together is a concub ...more
It was difficult to rate this book, as I loved part and totally did not enjoy other parts. It was almost as though the book were written by two different authors.

The sections telling the tale of Simone's ancestors were wonderful to read. Also loved hearing about the changes in the country of Vietnam and getting a taste of what those changes did to the people who lived there.

The love story felt intrusive to the story of the ancestors, and was not enjoyable to read at all IMHO. If you are reading
I didn't get very far into this. French poetry, conjugal discord, cancer and mythology based visions is a lot for one chapter. The protagonist was long-suffering by the third page and while I love an e-Reader I do miss the satisfaction of being able to slam a book shut with a hearty, "Get over it, Sweetie!"
This was a story about multiple generations of women in Vietnam, beginning with the Concubine wife to an Annamese King, up to the generation that left Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. I enjoyed the stories of the great-grandmother and grandmother much more than the modern byline. However, as the novel progressed, it became clear that many of the stories related about some of these women were shrouded in mystery or fables. Some of the stories were made up and handed down to cover uncomfortable t ...more
As a child of the 60s & 70s, when I think of Vietnam I think horror, and pain, and body bags. I think of all the beautiful boys that were my friends who went away to war and either came back in one of those caskets draped with the American flag, mothers, fathers, and siblings crying and wondering why, or of those sweet innocent boys who left thinking of Chevy's, and girls, and Saturday night dances, and came home quiet and subdued, sweating and screaming in their sleep, never to return to th ...more
I downloaded this book for free as one of Amazon's daily deals. I visited Vietnam almost two years ago and I would like to know more about the country and the people. I thought a novel written by a Vietnamese-American might tell me something about both.

The story was fine and I am not sorry that I read it. The premise was interesting and the writing good enough to hold my interest. I am not sure that I actually learned any more about the history of Vietnam, but that did not really matter. I fell
Mary Frances
This is an odd book. The author has chosen an episodic structure that travels back and forth thru time. I think that damages the book, leaving the reader frustrated again and again in following the story. Worse, the modern day protagonist is unlikeable- I wanted to feel empathy for her as a troubled young woman facing the horrors of the fall of Saigon, but I never liked her enough to do so. Other characters were mere sketches or, in the case of the Mystique Concubine, a very interesting characte ...more
Margaret Harrison
Daughters of the River Huong that spanned multiple generations and embraced the timelessness of a culture that faced loss and tragedy with dignity and grace. it was good to be reminded of the beauty and the rich culture rather than just focus on the ravages of a lingering war. At times it was difficult to separate the generations and characters, hence four stars; however, a worthy read that honored the nostalgia and mystery of a country and people that have persevered. I enjoyed the book and rec ...more
April Martinez
Daughters of the River Huong by Uyen Nicole Duong

I always finish a book, good or bad! This is a hard book to read, had to force myself to return to it. Maybe it's the cultural differences or just the style of the author, it seemed to jump from character to time line. I found myself lured to one story only to be in the middle of a different story. Of course as an American we all know the tragic end of this story, yet we seem to be searching for the "rest of the story" so to speak. This was a frus
I enjoyed this book greatly. It painted such a romantic picture of Vietnam, so different from the one I grew up in. I was born a decade after the Vietnam war ended and into a very different country. I also didn't pay much attention in history class when I was a child, so to me this book is very intriguing and educating. The author mentioned some folk stories in the book that I barely remember, it invokes nostalgia. But you don't have to be Vietnamese to appreciate this book, you just need to hav ...more
Mary Glass
Four women, four generations, one country

Four women, four generations, one country

Mostly praise, few disappointments and a learning experience. It was a fount of new history information as regards Vietnam for me. Just makes me want to understand more. Compelling first generation heroine. Smart, had to adapt and did. Second generation, convictions and loyalty, but above all family. Third generation, barely sketched in. Weird, considering the character lives for a good long time. For me, the disap
Shawn Davis
Fleeing falling Saigon via the last American airlifts of the Vietnam war extracts a significant emotional toll and ripples unrelentingly through life from the moment the decision is made.

So it was for Simone, who chose to save her family from the advance of the Viet Cong by offering herself to and marrying the journalist Christopher Sanders. It is a marriage that is not made in love, but out of necessity. And though Christopher loves Simone very much, she cannot bring herself to love him.

There a
Donna LaValley
Mystical, memorable, melancholy, and finally, melodramatic. Starting with the last kingdom of today’sViet Nam (1880), through four generations of women, we see the French taking over, the influence of China, American “help” and the Tet offensive with the Viet Cong. The story ends in the late 1990s with Simone’s return as a corporate attorney from an American firm. This is a totally feminine view, however. If you want historical fiction, look elsewhere. This one is heavier on myth and the fortune ...more
I chose this book after reading the compelling description and was looking forward to a multi-generational story of life in Vietnam. I was really hoping for something along the lines of "Cane River" by Lalita Tademy or "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan. Perhaps the height of my expectations was my downfall. I mistakenly thought this book was based on the true story of the author's ancestors, and like some other reviewers, I was left disappointed. If it was a true story I probably would have rated t ...more
Victoria Vivian
I really enjoyed most of this book. I would say it is a combination of historical fiction and fantasy. The main characters were strong women who were not without fault and flaws which is what made them believable. I loved the way the author blended Vietnamese folklore, french poetry, and history into a very readable story.

However I felt that there was a definite natural ending to the book and the author went well pass that.
Donna Swedin
It was a bit of a struggle initially to get into this book - and I even put it aside and read something else - but once I got about a third of the way, I could not put it down. Daughters of the River Huong tells the story of three Vietnamese women, from different generations, connected spiritually and genetically. As the description states, you follow the characters from the early dynasty days, through the Vietnam war, and into the new Vietnam of the '90's. The journey takes the reader also to P ...more
Charlene Menegos
This book had it's moments

I enjoy Historical Fiction books and thought this book sounded very interesting. It has the potential to be a great book, but was just so confusing to read. Jumping back and forth, from past to present, from French to Vietnamese made this difficult to follow. If this were a movie, I would need to watch it a second time to see what I missed.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, the history of Vietname, what the war did to Vietnam and its people,but the self indulgent love story was the part I liked the least. The intereaction between the vietnamese and French charcters and their worlds is interesting despite the love angle. I recommend the book because it is interesting and the love story is only a small part of the story.
I gave it three stars for all the interesting history about Vietnam under the French and during the American intervention, but otherwise I was disappointed with this story of 3 generations of women from one family. The primary narrator, the youngest of the three, was especially unsympathetic. She thinks her fate is bound to the history of her grandmother and great-grandmother. It is not clear, however, whether in telling her own story she is simply noting the parallels or trying to escape them. ...more
Patty Brandl
Daughters of the River Huong was fascinating from the start, a story of generations of Vietnamese women paralleling the country's turbulent history. Unfortunately, when the story swings back to Simone, who appears to be a thinly veiled character based on the author, the story becomes hard to take. Maybe because Sone is the most beautiful, most talented, bravest woman in existence. I loved the book when it described the lives of her grandmother and great-grandmother (the most beautiful royal conc ...more
This was such a fascinating book. The book goes through a few generations, but I was able to follow the entire way through. I felt like I gained insight into how Vietnam once was and how it's changed and brought it to where it is today. It definitely makes me want to make a stop in Hue one of these days.
Kim Parish
A great read that provides insight on the changing face of Vietnam and the impact on a family. While the brutality of wars is not denied this book manages to give the information and the consequences without it becoming the focus. It was a book that I kept wanting to read Enjoyed all the more by being read while travelling in this wonderful country
This was on my reading list for some time and I decided to read it before my trip to Vietnam to get a feel of the place. I really loved this book. It was well written in places. So much description about the history of Vietnam. The only downside was it appeared disjointed in places especially at the beginning of each chapter. It could have been an excellent book if the publisher had edited the book properly .
E L Borg-Breen
Interesting in site into Vietnam

I have visited and traveled in VIet Named and this was an interesting dimension. There is so much history and feeling of layers of the unknown in the country that this novel explores some of the possibilities.

Dreamy story of vietnam

This story traces the lives of a family of Vietnamese women before and after the war... sometimes a little vague, but maintains an ethereal storytelling feeling. I enjoyed it.
Karen Jernigan
Beautifully Written

The imagery in this book is vivid, astounding, remarkable. I honestly felt like I was there, in the Vietnam of French Indochina days as well as modern times that have transformed the country. I may very well read this book again!
Gary Hays
A very touching story which follows a young Vietnamese girl during the turbulence of the Vietnam War, and beyond. One of the better more recent book I have read. I highly recommend this.
Kim Bui
Ok, fine, jumping between characters is fine but at points I think this book goes backwards and forwards in timelines and it's confusing. I love the theme and what the author was going for and for the most part the writing is fine. However, it's a lot of plot for one short book. Almost too complicated?

Generally enjoyable, but could have used some serious editing.
Patty Hanahoe-dosch
This book brings to life the complex history and culture of part of Viet Nam and gives a strong context to the war and the people, while bringing to life remarkable characters.
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