Saturday, December 14, 2013
Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
3.5 out of 5 stars - "The life we receive is not always what we choose."
I enjoyed this sweeping epic -- the tale of a mother and daughter spanning early 1900s to 1940. Told from the point of view of daughter Violet Minturn, the narrative tells the the story of her early life as a the spoiled, headstrong child of mother Lulu, the owner of a popular courtesan house, and the circumstances that tear Violet from that privileged life. The events that transpire are heartbreaking and relentlessly hopeful as obstacles stand in the way to prevent Violet's search for love and happiness as a half-American, half-Chinese girl, then woman, in Shanghai. She endures many false loves, disrespect, and losses through the years after her mother seemingly abandons her.
Although the book is long, I found many parts of it so fascinating. The historical detail is obviously well-researched and I loved reading about the life of women in that time and setting.
I felt the ending was a bit too neatly tied up, and had some unanswered questions (such as what became of Teddy??) but still was left satisfied by the conclusion. I'd recommend it for anyone who loves a good historical novel set in China.
Thank you to Goodreads for the complimentary copy.