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The Dance of the Spirits

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Award-Winning Novel ..".fleeting but intense...An often engaging tale of a flickering moment of love during a forgotten war." --Kirkus Reviews. Spring 1951: it is the fiery zenith of the Korean War, a war that the youthful US Army lieutenant Wesley Palm and his men thought that they had won... until the Chinese swept across the Yalu River. Traveling with the million-man ar ...more
Paperback, 338 pages
Published September 22nd 2013 by Aurora
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. No other consideration was offered, expected or received.

This was an amazing story. The author's writing and descriptions made me feel like I was actually there experiencing the same things as her characters - intense, scary, sad - the things seen, death with, felt, the treatment Jasmine received from her colleagues, the atrocities of war - the pain, fear and death.

If you like to read historical books set in the middle of war, t
Tara Chevrestt
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have so many good things to say about this book... It's eye-opening, insightful, romantic, and contains so much passion in the middle of war. Passion for helping others, passion for survival, passion for each other.

From the get-go, kudos to the author for tackling the Korean war. There are so few novels about this war. It seems to get lost in the middle of the fascination for the world wars. And even better, this author tells us about the Korean war from a Chinese's viewpoint. What was incredi
Richard Bunning
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful book has already been heavily reviewed and highly praised. How can I usefully add to the many affirmations of brilliance?
I will start by mentioning the only deficiency, which may be confined to the mobi version I read. A few of the changes of scene were abrupt enough to stagger the flow of my reading. I would have liked a few more new chapters to emphasise scene changes, or even a few dinkus between the paragraphs. I didn't find the extra line breaks sufficient on my reading devic
Mar 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Despite there being an abundance of genre fiction that could be referred to as Great American War Novels, these are mostly set during familiar military engagements such as World War I & II, Vietnam, and the American Civil War. As it happens, I have never come across any historical novels focusing on the Korean War. Dance of the Spirits seems to be treading some new ground here, and I found it very refreshing to read about a time period that most authors of American literature rarely touch. The a ...more
Yvonne (It's All About Books)
Finished reading: September 23rd 2014
Rating 4,5

“Little King was not just a dog. He was part of Jasmine's childhood; he was a little brother, a dear faithful friend, and an indiscriminate companion to all the humans in the Garden Of Melody, whether they were noble or humble, whether they were rich or poor.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Catherine Aerie!  ***

(view spoiler)
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
`All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.' John Steinbeck

Author Catherine Aerie, now living in Whittier, California, began her early years in Shanghai, China where her father worked as an architect. After moving to Southern California she obtained a Masters degree in Finance at the University of California, Irvine. THE DANCE OF THE SPIRITS is her debut novel, a story that is the product of extensive research about the Korean War and more particularly about a family's role in t
Dan Curnutt
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Set in the period of the Korean War we follow the lives of two people who will be drawn together through circumstance and find that they get more than they thought possible.

Jasmine is a Chinese citizen who grew up in a wealthy family and found their wealth destroyed with the advance of Chairman Mao and the Communist. She was studying to be a doctor and found that it took every last penny of their money to get her education completed because of the change in Economics. Eventually Jasmine voluntee
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
The Dance of the Spirits by debutant author Catherine Aerie is a sweeping and poignant tale of love, resilience, human brutality and the horrors of war. Set in war-ravaged Korean Peninsula, Army Lieutenant Wesley Palm is captured and taken as prisoner of war where he meets Jasmine Young, a beautiful and young Chinese surgeon who enlisted for mysterious reasons. Surrounded by a vast sea of human brutality, hypocrisy and the terrors of war, Wesley and Jasmine developed a love for each but they are ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
"This novel shocked me. The Dance of the Spirits by Catherine Aerie is a love story about a young woman doctor from Shanghai named Jasmine at the beginning of the Korean War. What is shocking is her story about the pursuit of love through some of the most hellish moments that any human could endure. The story takes place as Jasmine, a new Chinese doctor, volunteers to join the communist army to fight against the Americans in 1949. Because she can speak English, she is sent to a POW camp to be th ...more
Sharon Martin
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Set in a time of war the story follows two people from the different ends of the political spectrum. To try and find her way in life a young Chinese woman goes off as a medical surgeon to serve in the Korean War where she sees and absorbs the real truth and results of warfare. On the other side is American Wes Palm and their paths collide with an amazing outcome.

The true beauty of this novel is the insight of how tough and different it was for a Chinese woman to grow up and follow her own way w
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
It's not often that I read novels set in/during war, and most of them are during more well-known wars, such as WWII. I really enjoyed this book, and the stories of the two main characters. I really liked Jasmine's story, it explained well how she came to where she was, and her relationship with the man who would eventually save her life.

My only complaint is that while the author gave Jasmine a fleshed out background, she failed to do so for Jasmine's lover. Therefore, while I could easily imagin
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an intricately developed story of love in the face of overwhelming difficulty and the author does an exceptional job of portraying the innermost feelings of Jasmine and Wesley. It was nice to see characters who were so fully developed and realistic. Everything about the characters made me care about them and want to see what happened next and the way that the story was told from two different viewpoints only helped the development of the characters. One of the things I loved the most abo ...more
Linda B.D.
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
Good story with clearly defined characters. Smoothly written, making it an easy read. It has love, romance, war, suffering, and medical situations. There was a few things that were not connected that left me asking ,"How did that happen? or, "Where was she when that occurred?" I skipped over those to find the book, overall, a good read. I would have written the ending very differently. No, It was not a bad ending, just not what I wanted. ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
at times I wondered if I was reading a romance novel but overall I enjoyed the writing and the story
Mousumi Bhattacharya
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Dance Of the Spirits was a revelation for me. I cannot compartmentalize this book as a war fiction or a romance or a woman centric fiction, because it is so much than any of these. I don't exactly know why, but this book reminded me a bit about 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini.
The history of the war was very thoroughly researched and beautifully presented by the author.Even though I am not a war buff and generally go for the happily ever afters, I became engrossed in this account of th
Carole Rae
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another dark novel on my hands, but it was good. Jasmine and Wes are in the middle of a bloody war. Wes is an American who is fighting, while Jasmine is a Chinese doctor trying to save lives at the same time as trying to safe herself and try to be the perfect "communist", but her mid-set is from the old world.

So sad, so dark. War is such a nasty thing and the author does a wonderful job bringing it to life. However, it's not over-the-top. The ending was sooooooooooo sad with a sparkle of hope. I
Patricia Reding
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed for Readers' Favorite.

The Dance of the Spirits, by Catherine Aerie, is the story of Jasmine Young who is raised in a well-to-do home in China. Her life is punctuated by experiences of wealth and plenty on the one hand, and family misery on the other. Throughout Jasmine’s young years, her mother continually encourages (bullies?) her to become a doctor so that she will be self-sufficient and not have to depend upon an unfaithful man, as has Jasmine’s mother. Into the mix of family life is
Oct 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Jasmine Young is a Chinese woman, part of the Korean War, one of the few to have volunteered into it, unlike most others. Born into a rich and privileged family, Jasmine had the best of education and had not known the lack of anything until her mother died and changed everything for her and her family.

Personal circumstances weren’t the only things that changed for Jasmine. Soon the political climate changed too and circumstances landed her right into the war. Jasmine had just completed her medic
Cecile Sune
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-read
Jasmine Young is raised by a wealthy family in an estate in Shanghai called the Garden of Melody where servants take care of the household. One of them, a boy named Tin-Bo, is an orphan, and Jasmine’s family welcomes him and gives him an education. When Jasmine’s mother dies and her father throws her on the street, she is forced to fend for herself and starts working as a nurse assistant while still attending school during the day. Meanwhile, Tin-Bo is on the run, as he is accused of plotting to ...more
Julie Nolan
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This novel surprised me, as I think it will for many others. While I don’t typically watch movies or read stories that feature the brutality of war (I don’t find the subject matter should be a point of entertainment), I was drawn into this tale, because first and foremost, because it is a love story between a soldier and a Chinese nurse set in the Korean war. While many seem to forget about this particular time in our global history, this story reminds us that brave men and women fought valiantl ...more
Bronsen Hawkins
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This being the first war novel I have read, bravo to Catherine Aerie for a riveting tale of love, lost, and pain. I went into this novel not expecting to love it the way I did. And I enjoyed sharing it with the people around me every chance I got.

The story centers around a young Chinese doctor caught smack dab in the middle of the Communist uprising in the 1950s. Jasmine Young, the daughter of a wealthy family, has to enlist herself in the war effort after a series of events that leave her with
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not just a powerful love story between adversaries during war, it is also an in depth presentation of communism. All aspects of communism including expectations, outlandish behavior as Mao ascends the ladder of power, as well the continual deplorable continuation of communism and the aftermath of war is also included in the story.

Aerie constructs a well written, extremely vivid and realistic portrait of war. Her writing is graphic leaving the reader running for cover as you are in the trenches o
Casia Pickering
Feb 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
For the first quarter of the book, I was unsure how I felt about it. I wasn't connecting with the characters and the writing seemed difficult for me to get into. It wasn't until after that quarter that the book was really starting to get good. The book blurb says that it's about a love in the midst of a war, and that is seen there, but the love is very limited. I honestly didn't feel a connection to the hero and heroine's relationship. Instead, I felt a connection with the heroine.

I honestly th
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Copy received for an honest review from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

This book was such an interesting read. I've not read many books about the Korean war it was refreshing to read it from Catherine Aerie's vivid descriptions. Chinese surgeon Jasmine Young was such a fantastic female character. Her courage, strength and determination were very humbling and refreshing to read about. She reminded me of Disney's Mulan, joining the army to honor her family despite them disowning her. Army L
Philip B.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Is it an act of courage or folly to write a novel out of any pat genre? Or is it simply the book that’s in you?

Catherine Aerie’s The Dance of the Spirits cannot be pigeon holed. I wouldn’t call it “Romance” despite the fact that it is operatic in the romantic notes it hits. I wouldn’t put it on the “Military” shelf, because it delves too deeply into a young girl’s heart. On second thought, perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe there is a genre that this book can slide into: “Literary Fiction”.

The scope is hu
Bradley Knox
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Dance of the Spirits is an incredible book! Exhaustively researched, richly descriptive and beautifully written, and a complexity of storyline seen only in some of finest classics. The story weaves its way through the lives separately and together of a young Chinese doctor named Jasmine Young and US Army Lieutenant Wesley Palm and the fateful alliance they forge against the brutal and foul backdrop of the Korean conflict. An ugly conflict largely and unfairly overlooked in history. The autho ...more
Angela Fristoe
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Sometimes readers and books just don't click. That was the case for me with The Dance of the Spirits. There was so much description of events and details about the war going on that what little character development and emotion Aerie explored becomes lost. It wasn't until I was about three chapters in that I realized Jasmine was the protagonist. What kept me reading was the intense look Aerie offers into life in Korea during the Korean War. There wasn't anything wrong with the way the author wro ...more
Sage Adderley
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Dance of the Spirits is a text heavy historical book based around the Korean War. Author Catherine Aerie was incredibly descriptive with the gruesome environment. While I am a fan of wartime stories, I’m new to reading about the Korean War and learned quite a bit.

I enjoyed the complex background of protagonist Jasmine Young, a Chinese surgeon, and the emotional relationship with US Army lieutenant Wesley Palm. I feel the author was successful in maintaining an intense plot and giving us an e
Robyn Gibson
Written through the eyes of Chinese about the Korean War. A privileged Chinese young woman whose mother wanted her to become a doctor so she could make her own way in the world and didn't have to rely on a man. She joins up to go to war and has such a hard time....everything is so gruesome. Communism, cruel and barbaric. I read a few parts the second time because I thought I'd missed something out, but it wasn't there in the first place. Explains the history of the Korean War. But still, it's a ...more
Reeca Elliott
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
The cruelty of war always amazes me. Jasmine, the female Chinese surgeon, has some very real experiences that are tragic and terrifying. The story is graphic in places, just as war is. A really true to form novel.

The story tends to jump around quite a bit and has a few rough spots. But, it is very well researched with some wonderful, strong characters.

I have not read many books about the Korean War. So, this story was really fascinating. Get your copy today!!
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Let me introduce myself and The Dance of the Spirits. I am Catherine Aerie. The Dance of the Spirits is my historical novel. The book won the 2014 eLit Awards sponsored by Jenkins Group Publishing. The story is of an American Army Lieutenant, a young Chinese surgeon and their forbidden love in a forgotten war.
I invite you to review my book and appreciate your comments. You can also see some

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