I have to say first off, for someone like myself who really prefers to read non-fiction – I’ve read mostly fiction in 2017 so far, and it’s kind of weird. I’m also hard core slacking in the reading department this year, because I spent part of it either at work or asleep, ah early pregnancy! This book was going to be read by me regardless. I absolutely ADORED “Three Souls” by Janie and had the wonderful opportunity to meet her via Skype as part of a program I was running at the Library and she’s one of the kindest people I’ve met!
But this post isn’t talking about how wonderful Janie is (but you all should really know that because she’s A GEM!), it’s about her latest novel Dragon Springs Road.
It is 1908, Shanghai: Our main character is Jialing, who we meet when she is 7 years old and her mother has abandoned here (but Jialing doesn’t know this to be true at this point) and she is taken in by the Yang family who has purchased the Dragon Springs Road. Grandmother Yang has decided to make Jialing the family’s bondservant, and it was going to give her an in when she went to heaven, in her opinion anyways. Luckily for our protagonist, she becomes friends with the Yang’s youngest daughter Anjuin, so her time at Dragon Springs Road isn’t so bad.
Jialing is considered an illegitimate Eurasian, which at the time the novel takes place, isn’t a favourable thing to be. Her mother was considered a whore (who of course abandons her) and she never knows her father. She is often called the derogatory term zazhong, because she is a mix of Chinese and European, but the teachers at the mission school she attends prefer the term hun xue, (mixed race), though it doesn’t change society’s outlook on her. Jialing learns very quickly that life is hard for a zazhong, and she may have to take steps she does not want to in order to survive once she is no longer the bondservant of the Yang family.
The interesting part of this book: Jialing’s interactions with the Fox Spirit. If you read Three Souls you know that Janie is a master of tying spirits into her story lines, and this is no different. Jialing’s mother taught her to pray to the fox spirit, and throughout the novel she regularly interacts and seeks help from the Fox that has lived at Dragon Springs Road for centuries. Learn more about the Fox Spirit HERE.
This novel is filled with folklore, murder, political unrest and modern society creeping in on Traditional China. It is a must read!
Perks: well-written, captivating story, strong Canadian female author, and a great mix of spiritual and historical rhetoric.
MY RATING: 5/5 stars!
Get more information about Janie and her novels HERE.