Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Daughters of the River Huong” as Want to Read:
Daughters of the River Huong
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Daughters of the River Huong

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  607 Ratings  ·  75 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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Daughters of the River Huong, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Daughters of the River Huong

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,101)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Carolyn Roys
May 01, 2011 Carolyn Roys rated it did not like it
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
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
...more
Utahhornbakers
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
...more
Zelda
Jun 11, 2013 Zelda rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013, shelved
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!"
LaNae
Jan 10, 2012 LaNae rated it liked it
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
Kayla D
Read Asia Challenge 02

Daughters of the River Huong is the first book that I have read that takes place in Vietnam. I was initially planning on searching for a novel that tackled the Vietnam War as that is one of the most well-known topics on the country, but the plot of Uyen Nicole Duong’s novel suited my mood and I was very much intrigued by how it discussed parts of Vietnam’s history that aren’t that widely known.

The book was told from four different points of view, in varied settings and time
...more
Gayle
May 22, 2011 Gayle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Patty
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
...more
Mary
Jan 06, 2016 Mary rated it liked it
Worth reading for a glimpse into Vietnamese history. I would have given it 3.5 stars if you could give half stars. What I enjoy most about historical fiction is the chance to imagine and get a sense of what life was like in the culture and during the time period of the character(s). I thought this book did a good job recreating some of the Vietnamese history and painting a picture of the lives of the main women characters. I also enjoyed reading about the different generations of the women and t ...more
Mary Frances
Feb 13, 2014 Mary Frances rated it liked it
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
...more
Trang
Feb 11, 2015 Trang rated it really liked it
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
Mar 25, 2014 Mary Glass rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Asl4u
Jan 17, 2016 Asl4u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting read - 1) it is a great story (or stories - because there are several generations being told)... 2) it is subtly Vietnamese... not so foreign that you cannot quite wrap your head around the motivations - but there are definite cultural/expectational differences present 3) it has a really nice wrap around... not an ending I would have wished for (were it my story)... but considering the archetypes - absolutely believable.
Overall - I enjoyed it - and will probably come back
...more
Shawn Davis
May 23, 2012 Shawn Davis rated it liked it
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
...more
Donna LaValley
Jan 07, 2012 Donna LaValley rated it liked it
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
Victoria Vivian
Dec 28, 2014 Victoria Vivian rated it liked it
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
Sep 11, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
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.
Judie
Feb 05, 2014 Judie rated it liked it
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.
Catherine
Dec 30, 2013 Catherine rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Danielle
Mar 22, 2015 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
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.
Tim Dugan
Mar 20, 2016 Tim Dugan rated it liked it
Ok but not sure I learned too much

Note about the audio book: blatant mispronunciation of Vietnamese words is annoying. Like Hue pronounced two syllables hoo-ay instead of one syllable hway, and ao dai pronounced with English D instead of Vietnamese Y or Z sound. Several others. Not getting the tones is understandable...but the phonetics so far off is distracting
Kim Parish
Apr 15, 2015 Kim Parish rated it it was amazing
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
Nicki
Oct 22, 2014 Nicki rated it really liked it
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
Aug 28, 2014 E L Borg-Breen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.


Catherine
Apr 24, 2015 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 36 37 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Museum of Abandoned Secrets
  • Memories of a Pure Spring
  • The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam
  • Stalina
  • Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos
  • Blood and Soap: Stories
  • The Last Stoic
  • In the Shadow of Babylon
  • The Lost Daughter of Happiness: A Novel
  • Family Deceptions
  • In This Hospitable Land
  • Nightmare Along the River Nile (Paperback)
  • The Circle of Ceridwen (Circle of Ceridwen Trilogy, #1)
  • Catching the Westbound
  • Page From A Tennessee Journal
  • Too Jewish
  • Old Town
  • The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family

Share This Book



“I had offered O-Lan money. Just like Comrade Chuyen, she refused my gift. She did not come to see me for money, she said. “Is there anything you want or need, O-Lan?” She hesitated for a while and then spoke, almost too eloquently, as though she had planned the speech. “I have grown children, and many granddaughters. They are all healthy and good. I would be pleased if you could take one of my grandchildren to America. You can just pick one among them. Any particular one you like. A little girl, perhaps?” 0 likes
“I began to read Son La’s handwritten notes, describing the making of a royal concubine—the transformation of the poor paddle girl of the Perfume River into the legendary Mystique Concubine of the Violet City.” 0 likes
More quotes…