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The Valley of Amazement

From goodreads

Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai, a beautiful and intelligent woman who has honed her ability to become any man's fantasy since her start as a "Virgin Courtesan" at the age of twelve. Half-Chinese and half-American, she moves effortlessly between the East and the West. But her talents belie her private struggle to understand who she really is and her search for a home in the world. Abandoned by her mother, Lucia, and uncertain of her father's identity, Violet's quest to truly love and be loved will set her on a path fraught with danger and complexity-and the loss of her own daughter.

Lucia, a willful and wild American woman who was once herself the proprietress of Shanghai's most exclusive courtesan house, nurses her own secret wounds, which she first sustained when, as a teenager, she fell in love with a Chinese painter and followed him from San Francisco to Shanghai. Her search for penance and redemption will bring her to a startling reunion with Flora, Violet's daughter, and will shatter all that Violet believed she knew about her mother.

Pages: 589 (hardcover) 

Publisher: Published November 5th 2013 by Ecco (first published October 24th 2013)

Rating: 9 out of 10

Source: Checked out of library

Date Completed: April 2, 2014

I have loved Amy Tan ever since I first read Joy Luck Club in college.  A few years ago, I enjoyed reading her memoir The Opposite of Fate on a trip to India. I was really excited to learn that she had a new book coming out, The Valley of Amazement.  My excitement and anticipation only increased when I read the story of her search for a new editor who ended up working with her on this book.  Since the book was in high demand and I am still on on a book buying budget, I had a lot of breaks in my reading as the book had to be returned and I needed to wait my turn.  

In spite of stopping and starting multiple times, I found myself engrossed in the story. In particular, I liked getting to know Violet and seeing her grow.  Parts of the book were slow, but I felt like there were lots of saucy parts which made for some juicy reading.  As with all of her novels, I appreciated the exploration of mother daughter relationships in a way that honors complexity and conflict.   The lessons on how to be a courtesan were fascinating and the ways in which she fell in love made me feel both hopeful and sad. 

I am counting this book for the following challenge: 2014 Chunkster Reading Challenge: At 589 pages, this is certainly a chunkster.  

Posted on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 12:43PM by Registered Commenter[beastmomma] in | CommentsPost a Comment

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