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The Song of the Jade Lily
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September 2019: Cultural > Some of the Jade Lily - 3 stars by Kristy Manning

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy | 8519 comments Just when you think you have encountered every possible variation and slant to the WWII literature, out comes Song of the Jade Lily. Did you know that Jews escaped to Shanghai during the war? That Jews were alongside Chinese under Japanese control?

This book combines the locales of Vienna, Shanghai, and Australia (one month too late!) In it, there is a dual storyline, and an adopted granddaughter of Asian/Chinese descent, who seeks to understand the secrets her grandparents hold, following her grandfathers death.

The older storyline followed Romy Bernard Cohen, who as a young girl, witnesses violence and loss, and escapes to Shanghai with her parents. There she meets the Ho's, a family with two children, and she and Li become best friends. Her current best friend Nina in 2016 is also embedded in the past - in fact they arrived on the same ship to Shanghai. This is Romy, and Willheim's Story. And Nina, and Li, and Jian.

I enjoyed the story well enough, but I found the writing simplistic, and the characters underdeveloped. As usual, the older story in the dual timeline was far more compelling - the history embedded within, more so than the actual plot itself. And as always, entwined in the whole thing, is love and loss, and what one risks to protect.

message 2: by Holly R W (new)

Holly R W | 1257 comments It's interesting to me that some Jewish families escaped to China during WW2. Some years ago, I had a book depicting little known Jewish communities in far flung places such as India and China. I wish I still had the book.

message 3: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7478 comments I have read, somewhere in all my WWII reading, about the Jewish community in Shanghai-like Holly though I can't remember the book.

message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy | 8519 comments One of the most powerful museums I have been to is the museum of the Diaspora in Israel. It’s so fascinating to see all of those synagogues in the oddest and most far-flung places. For such a small world population we really are everywhere in the world. Very tiny population.

message 5: by Joi (new) - added it

Joi (missjoious) | 3809 comments The cover makes it look like a Lisa See book. Plot seems to channel something she might do too. I've added it to the TBR.

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