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Shanghai Love: A Novel by Layne Wong

Shanghai Love: A Novel

by Layne Wong

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Shanghai Love is a love story that takes place during World War II in China. There is a Jewish doctor refugee, Henri and a Chinese herbalist, Peilin. They come together through a series of tragic events.

The book opens on Peilin preparing for her wedding day in 1937, going through the ancient Chinese rituals that are expected for every bride to perform. She is marrying a man, who is no longer alive on this earth. He has died while fighting in the war. She is marrying him to show her devotion to his family and her keep their love alive.

While Peilin is being wed, Henri's life is changing drastically as Hitler rises higher into power. He is treated the worst during the war since he is Jewish, but he attempts to stay alive as a doctor and help his neighbors and those he can, along the way. He has found himself in love with an Aryan girl, and it isn't until her father learns of who Henri is, that he needs to find a quick escape out of the country. It's amazing how he flee's because of the fear he feels due to her father in comparison to the fear he feels for the war and the Nazi's.

Henri manages to escape to his friend's jazz club where he meets Sophie, but he is betrayed by her when she turns him in to the Nazi's. Somehow he manages again to escape to Shanghai where they do not have a restriction on Jewish immigrants. He meets a man named Ping, who just so happens to be Peilin's brother.

Now that they have met, they can fall in love and live happily ever after. It's your typical love story. The angle on Jewish refugee's escaping to Shanghai is a fairly new angle on World War II. I haven't read many books discussing this topic, and it was refreshing to see a new perspective on an a part of history that has been repetitive in the past. Not many people read about China's involvement in the war, and I really enjoyed learning a little while I read.

There is a great mix of Chines culture, mixed with the historical tragedies of Jewish refugee's and the pain they went through. I give this book a rating 5/5. ( )
  lizasarusrex | Jul 4, 2013 |
In Shanghai Love, Wong constructs a tale of true love in the most unlikely circumstance –World War II China, where a Jewish doctor refugee, Henri, and a traditional Chinese herbalist, Peilin, come together through a tragic series of events. Using this conflict-rich historical setting, Wong weaves a story that reads seamlessly, integrating the personal struggles of Henri and Peilin into a world that insists on tearing them apart. Wong successfully combines the historical tragedies with this story of unfailing love, despite the tragic circumstances, while enlightening the reader on traditions of Chinese culture and providing an alternative perspective on one of the most monumental wars in modern history. Wong has the ability to engage the reader directly, as you absorb the struggles of each character as your own, which she accomplishes through her eloquent language, delicate details and careful consideration of the range of emotions tied with such tragedy. It is a story that transcends cultural bias and war in the most prejudiced, violent period of 20th century history. Shanghai Love is Wong’s first novel, and with it proves her skill as a storyteller and historian as the voice of two cultures that have suffered greatly at the hands of others. Wong links two radically diverse societies through this love story: proving that united in love, it is possible to overcome even the most harsh bigotries and triumph in happiness and peace. Shanghai Love serves as an enduring statement on the undeniable power of love. ( )
  lauren_firth | May 14, 2013 |
I absolutely loved this book. Usually I am the type to not finish a book due to a dragged on story, but Shanghai Love wasn’t like this at all! I couldn't put it down! The storyline plus the twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat. Layne's writing really puts you in the characters shoes and makes you feel their emotions whether they are happy, sad, or scared. You will see the characters experience love, betrayal, tragedy and the honor of family. This story is outstanding and I would recommend it to anyone! ( )
  Meghan_S | May 2, 2013 |
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A love story develops between Peilin, a Chinese herbalist and Henri, a Jewish refugee, in Shanghai during World War II.

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