Aug 21, 2022
Reviews of Two Novels of China During Two Wars, 1918 and 1937: Historical Fiction
Genre: historical novel, WWI novel
Expected publication: February 21st, 2023; William Morrow
The historical aspect of this novel is as important if not more important than the novel's basic plot of marriage and romance in the early 1900s during WWI.
Pauline Deng and her cousin Theo are Chinese who have spent many years living in France working in Theo's father's antique shop. They are both reluctant to return to Shanghai for arranged marriages to people they have never met.
I was also fascinated by the little known, overlooked part of history, of over 140,000 Chinese laborers and peasants brought over to help the WWI war effort in Europe, in non-combatant work such as clearing battlefields, loading goods and ammunition on trucks and trains, keeping the railroads running, and soul-destroying jobs such as handling decayed corpses in the trenches.
Pauline and Theo are a fascinating part of the novel, as they struggle to keep their freer life in France, in spite of the war. There is danger for both of them, and possible death, as they try to find their way during wartime France.
An excellent read.
Published May 12th 2020 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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