Monday, July 7, 2014

Latest Review: Three Souls by Janie Chang

Summary Blurb:
We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this ... So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends.

As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life, she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was, a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval. At a party, she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator, and instantly falls in love with him.

When Leiyin defies her father to pursue Hanchin, she learns the harsh truth—that she is powerless over her fate. Her punishment for disobedience leads to exile, an unwanted marriage, a pregnancy, and, ultimately, her death. And when she discovers what she must do to be released from limbo into the afterlife, Leiyin realizes that the time for making amends is shorter than she thought.

Suffused with history and literature, Three Souls is an epic tale of revenge and betrayal, forbidden love, and the price we are willing to pay for freedom

My Blabberings:
It's been awhile since I've read some Chinese historical fiction and I'm so glad that I broke that streak.  I've never read much about the Communist movement in China so this time period was really fascinating for me.

I thought the characters were complex enough to be both realistic and sympathetic.  I loved Leiyin even though she could be naive and spoiled.  All of the secondary characters were also very compelling - whether they were villains, friends, or dwelling in a moral gray area.

My overall opinion was that this is a great historical fiction novel that also encompasses some of the mystic religious qualities unique to Chinese culture (Leiyin's yin, yang, and hun souls).  If you are a fan of Lisa See, Amy Tan, or just historical fiction in general - this is definitely a book worth checking out!

4.5/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. A new one for my TBR. This looks lovely, very contemplative. Thanks for your thoughts.