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  • Fiction - Rather Sad but thought provoking

    The Concubine’s Child by Carol Jones As I began to read this book I was afraid it might not hold my interest but at 3am in the morning, after being unable to stop reading, I decided that indeed it had caught and kept my interest after all. That said, it was a sad book that left me thinking that all of the women in the book seemed to have more sorrow than happiness in their lives. In 1930 Yu Lan is sold at sixteen to become a concubine thus dashing all her hopes and dreams of a happy life. The author then takes us to 2016 where we meet her great grandson Nick who seems to be longing for roots and the child his wife Sarah is not ready for. The story flips between the past and present weaving the life stories of the characters together seamlessly while painting their backgrounds and personalities with a vibrant if sometimes dark palette. All of my senses were engaged as well as my mind as I read of what is now Malaysia – past and present. I thought of the difficulties faced by each female character in the book and how she chose to deal with what she was facing. I thought of the relationships between the women and those that were part of their lives and then thought of the choices they made, why they made them and whether or not they would have been my own if I found myself in their situation. This was a multi-layered, thought provoking, rather depressing look at life with only a bit of hope given that the final characters in 2018 and beyond might lay their ghosts to rest and find their way to a happier future. Thank you to NetGalley and Aria-Head of Zeus for the ARC – This is my honest review. 4-5 Stars

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  • Somber, evocative, and poignant!

    The Concubine's Child is a compelling tale that sweeps you away to a country where money is power, freedom is often beyond reach, and the people are governed by the ancient superstitions, traditions, and spirituality that have been passed down and ingrained from generation to generation. The prose is vivid and rich. The characters are multi-layered, sympathetic, and vulnerable. The plot is well crafted and uses a back-and-forth, past/present style to unravel all the motivations, relationships, and personalities within it. And the story set in Malaysia during both the 1930s, as well as present day, is full of familial drama, heartbreak, lost love, jealousy, obsession, discord, mystique, culture, courage, grief, self-discovery, hope, solace, and survival. Overall, I would have to say that The Concubine's Child is a heart-wrenching tale that does an exceptional job of highlighting the indomitable spirit of women and their ability to face, endure, survive, and conquer any challenges, struggles, or tragedies that come their way.

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