Cover Image: Peach Blossom Spring

Peach Blossom Spring

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Member Reviews

A beautiful tale describing the heritage of a whole set of people, woven through China, Taiwan and the United States. The storytelling is sublime, even the passages that describe difficult and harrowing times are absorbing, engaging and quietly descriptive. The author weaves the generations together, the 20th century history of China providing the backdrop to the story. It feels that it has been researched excellently with a depth of knowledge that shines through despite the apparent simplicity of the narrative. Interesting characters - I really wanted to know more about each and every one of them, even those that made others’ lives difficult. The power of relationships and family (whether by birth, marriage or circumstance) underpin this brilliant and interesting story. 

Took a while to read, worth savouring and definitely worth 5*. Can’t stop thinking about it, even a few days later. A talented writer - I look forward to her next novel.
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I received an early copy of this book for my independent honest review. Wow where to start with a review for this book. There is so much to praise.
It is a multi generational story about the lives of Meilin, the mother,her Son Renshu and his daughter Lily Dao. It starts in 1938 China where Meilin lives with her husband, young Son Renshu and her husband's extended family. It is a beautifully written,thought provoking,emotional read. It catalogues the troubles between Japan and China with such detail,that I felt like I was actually there too. These were dangerous times and Meilin becomes widowed and she has to flee their home with a young Renshu and brother in law's family. She migrated from place to place selling what few possessions she managed to grab and by sewing for richer families. Whatever Meilin has to do to keep her young Son safe. As a mother myself I could feel her anguish,her protectiveness and how she tried to shield him from atrocities that no human should encounter never mind a young child.
To keep up his moral and hope for the future, she tells stories from a scroll full of fable and peach blossom trees. The characters are so well developed that there is a sense you know them and  travelling with them.
Eventually they have to flee China to Taiwan in fear of their lives.
Renshu studies hard and moves to America to attend University there. Meilin does everything in her power to give him a better life full of opportunities and he marries,settles in the USA and has a daughter Lily. Renshu never really feels like he belongs in America,he constantly lives with  the images and fear  from his childhood. The sacrifices Meilin has made to give him a better life weighs heavy on his mind as she lived so far away in Taiwan.
His Daughter Lily having been raised in the States by an American Mother and Chinese Father has to deal with a different generation of problems and doesn't feel like she belongs either. She constantly searches for her place in the world and who she really is. Lily cannot understand her Father's fears and reluctance to follow Chinese culture like other American mixed race families. She hasn't lived through what he has.
This wonderful book expertly portrays,loss,fear,pride,tradition,the extent ofmotherly love and how the human spirit can overcome adversity in the face of the most difficult of times. 
I highly recommend you read this book. It is one you will not stop thinking about long after. 
It is exquisite.
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I went into reading this book with no expectations. I'm not a massive reader of historical fiction but the draw of the Chinese history and cultural representation peaked my interest... And I found that there were a few things within that really resonated with me and were so alike to my own experiences as a half-Chinese person.

At it's heart this is a story about the power of stories, and human will and determination against adversity. Meilin is such a heartwarming character throughout such an arduous and at times heartbreaking story. 

I really loved this book and the way Melissa has interwoven history throughout this story with such a richness. She has struck a really nice balance between history and storytelling! I loved the journey that I was taken on and found myself really rooting for Meilin, Dao Renshu and Longwei to find their small slice of happiness in an ever changing and challenging landscape.

A rare 5/5 read for me. I loved it!
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Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside! 

It follows three generations, starting in 1938 China with Meilin, a young widow who has to flee the advancing Japanese army with her young son Renshu, eventually settling in Taiwan.

Years later Renshu has settled in America and started his own family, his daughter Lily is eager to find out more about her Chinese heritage but Renshu (now known as Henry) is reluctant to relive his turbulent childhood. 

The book is brilliantly researched with beautiful descriptions and I learnt so much by reading it.
I loved the bond between mother and son at the beginning of the book (which reminded me a bit of the one found in American Dirt) and the sacrifices Meilin made.

It’s not out until next year but know it’s going to be a huge success 🌸
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This huge, sweeping debut novel by Cambridge-based author Melissa Fu started life as nothing more than a short piece of writing about her father’s fruit trees, and ended up a multigenerational tale spanning 70 years, unpicking China’s tumultuous 20th century. 

The story opens quietly in Changsha, in 1938, in the home of Dao Hongtse and his three wives (whose ‘names are not important’) plus his sons, Dao Longwei and Dao Xiaowen, who are both far from home ‘protecting the future of the Republic’. Shui Meilin, the wife of Dao Xiaowen, is diligently at work in her husband’s family antiques business. Her three-year-old son Renshu and his young cousin Liling charge around her feet, screaming with laughter, before Dao Longwei’s fearsome wife Wenling crossly retrieves her daughter from the room, and the youngest generation are begrudgingly put to bed. The gentle domesticity of the scene is offset by the knowledge that the Japanese are advancing and, later in 1938, the Changsha fire would see 30,000 people lose their lives. It’s that tragedy which forces Meilin to flee with Renshu and begin her huge journey to safety, wherever that might be. The family takes comfort from a small, illustrated hand scroll containing ancient fables and stories, given by Xiaowen to Meilin. Huddled on boat decks or in the back of wagons, they read it for guidance – Meilin deliberately altering the ending of the harder stories to give her young son hope – while waiting to see what fate might deal them next. 

The book follows their escape to Taiwan and the terrifying choices they have to make en route – then Renshu’s eventual journey through education to America, and a new life (and new name) studying engineering even further from home. But even in this new, safer land, unforeseen challenges arise. Although fiction, this makes a fascinating overview of China’s recent history and – on a smaller scale – is a beautiful tale of love, loss and just how far a parent will go for their child. Perfect winter reading on darker evenings.

Featured in Book Club in the November 2021 issue of Cambridge Edition magazine
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I loved this book! It grabs you from the beginning and you’re hooked until the end. It’s has a lot of parallels with Pachinko, though it’s about the Japan-China wars rather than Japan-Korea, and it’s way less sad and depressing than Pachinko. A much subtler read, spanning several generations and really insightful when it comes to migration within and beyond China. Some really beautiful writing, I was sometimes lost in the political background to the story but I didn’t feel I had to engage with that aspect to really enjoy the book. Really lovely!
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This story follows a multigenerational family, spanning 70 years. A story of love, loss and hope. 

We start in 1938 in war-torn China, about a family of refugees fleeing their country. It focuses mainly on Meilin and her son in their tiring journey through China and Taiwan. And then on Renshu's life in America and finally about his daughter. I loved this book so much. Meilin's resilience, her love for her son and her will to protect him, it was beautiful and saddening to read about. Their life was surely one of hardship and how Meilin did anything and everything to make sure her son was able to grow up well was truly an act of motherhood. 

Finally, when Renshu gets an opportunity to go to America for his higher studies, it seemed as if he could leave this life behind but even in a country that's miles away from his home, he has to be wary of who he is because his past could still put him and his mother back home in danger. This is turn affects his daughter's life because he doesn't let her embrace her identity as an Asian American in fear of what China would do to them.

The plot was very gripping but heart-wrenching, the characters were beautifully developed throughout the story and the writing was poetic and gentle. I read historical fiction after so long and it did not disappoint. This was highly impressive for a debut novel and it makes me sad that I cannot immediately read any more of Melissa Fu's works.
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a beautiful story spanning 70 years, full of hope, loss, longing, belonging, loving.

the writing was soft, honest, and straightforward, and i felt every emotion intensely because of this. i connected with the characters and it felt like i was with them at every stage of their lives. i was immersed in the storytelling and found myself so invested in their lives. i got goosebumps several times while reading and even teared up a little towards the end. their simple joys, hardships, journey, conversations, etc. resonated with me. i am impressed with Fu's skill to deliver such an amazing heartfelt story for a debut novel. fans of historical fiction must read this!
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DNF'ed @ 20%.
I don't really want to class this as a DNF because I know I'll come back to it eventually. I'm just struggling with it at the moment, being a mood reader. The writing is gorgeous and the plot is intriguing, it's my own fault that I'm not connecting with it. I can't wait to come back to it in the future and fall in love with the writing.
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Thanks to Netgalley, Melissa Fu and the publisher for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I have recently got into historical fiction, and this one kept me interested in the genre. I loved this book and read it within a couple of days.

It was emotional and heartbreaking and, although I had little to no knowledge of Chinese history, I was engaged in this book and the characters.
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I devoured this beautiful novel so quickly I may have set myself a new personal best. This was one of my most anticipated releases for next year and it didn’t disappoint in any way, I can’t wait to receive my finished copy so that I can relive the story all over again.  If you haven’t already preordered this one, I encourage you to seriously do so, do not sleep on this book!

This novel is about a Chinese family trying to find safety as a Civil War across the mainland and a deadly conflict with Japan see them flee from Japanese bombers, and the equally terrifying Chinese Civil War. Throughout all of their fleeing, they managed to keep hold of an illustrated scroll containing ancient fables from their world and they read them to keep their hope and faith that they will get through this turmoil. Having Meilin read through the fables on there was captivating. 

I was gripped from start to finish and I just couldn’t put this one down, it was hauntingly beautiful while simultaneously being utterly terrifying to read. The characters were relatable and real, in a lot of novels that are based around war you can feel like the characters just aren’t real and their actions to their circumstances aren’t believable, but this is not the case in this book. My heart bled for these characters, and I can’t count the amount of tears I shed for them while they were just trying to find a safe place to call home, all the while staying loyal to themselves and their familial bonds. 

Melissa Fu has managed to provide us with a novel that shows us the history of a very fragmented nation at a time where so many things were going wrong in the world. She writes with such a gentle grace that although you are affected by what you’re reading, you know she’s protecting you from the harshness of the reality that this novel is based on. This may seem like a novel about the harsh consequences of war, but at it’s core it’s about the struggles of loyalty to both family and country while knowing when it’s time to cut ties and put roots down somewhere else, whilst you know, trying to stay alive in a world gone wrong. 

Thank you to Headline for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Meilin lives with her husband and his family, they have a young son Renshu . As WWII starts her husband and his brother join the KK... sadly only the brother comes home.

The story is about their life, the struggles during WWII , the civil war and their later rush to leave Shanghai to Tawain.

Renshu works hard at school and is eventually offered a graduate course until the USA. Renshu westernises his name to Henry. Henry works hard, marries Rachel and they have a daughter Lily. Henry tries to ignore most of his life before America, with the exception of his mother who continues to live in Tawain.

I felt a lot of the story was rushed ... probably trying to cram near 70 years on one book...an interesting read nonetheless .
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Really beautifully written! I loved this book. I thought it was incredibly beautiful, emotional and so innate. A beautiful piece of historical fiction.
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What's the book about?

It's 1938, Meilin and her four-year-old son, Renshu, are forced to flee their home in China in search of refuge. They can only rely only on their wits and a beautifully illustrated hand scroll filled with ancient fables that offers solace and wisdom.
 
Years later, Renshu settles in America as Henry Dao. His daughter is eager to learn about her ancestors but Henry refuses to discuss the past. Lily must dig into the family's history to discover who she is.
 
 
My thoughts:
A fantastically moving and heartbreaking story. I absolutely loved the journey this book took me on. Such a touching and compelling story. The characters are beautifully written and I connected with them right from the get go.
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I really enjoyed reading this debut historical fiction novel by Melissa Fu! Before reading Peach Blossom Spring, I had limited knowledge of Chinese history during the 20th Century and I feel I learnt so much through this beautiful story of 3 generations. Melissa's writing is so engaging and you felt completely captivated by Meilin, Henry and Lily's journey from China to Taiwan to America. 

A very interesting read that I would definitely recommend.
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This is not my usual kind of book but I was keen to read a different genre and a debut novel. All about family, migration, loyalty and traditions and this intrigued me. It was a well written, enjoyable read and emotions all over the place. I enjoyed learning about the Chinese tradition and family. 

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion
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Eye-catchingly described as 'Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It's about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the search for a place to call home', Peach Blossom Spring is a novel that sure lived up to its wonderous reviews and promise of plot. This is a tenderly written novel that follows three generations of a Chinese family before and long after the japanese invasion of China. The POV is introduced in China in 1938 and carries on until the present day with different characters leading the narrative and contributing along to make this a grand story.. While It was at times harrowing, there was still hope shining like that light at the end of a dark tunnel. For a debut novel this was incredibly impressive. Overall enjoyed it.
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This is the story of a family whose history is disrupted and broken by the wars in China, first the Japanese invasion in the second world war and then the civil and cultural wars. It stretches over a lifetime, but also the poetry and folk tales of China play a big part in relaying a changing culture, where friendship and love triumph over the devastation of dislocation and mistrust. 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the characters in a world of which I was quite ignorant. China’s modern history was quite confusing to me, but I learnt a lot from this work of fiction/fact. The political limbo of expats in America was quite eye opening, and made me appreciate how difficult it must have been to keep a sense of cultural identity. The writing is wonderfully evocative of time and place, and quite beautiful.
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I loved this book!!!  I found it hard to believe that it is a debut novel.  Telling the story of three generations of a family, the reader is taken from China during the 2nd World War and Civil War in the 30's and 40's, to the mass migration of families to Taiwan to escape the Japanese and then the rise of communism, to building a new life in the US for Renshu.  The descriptions of China and Taiwan are wonderful and you really are transported by visions, smells and situations.  I had little knowledge of the plight of the people of China during this time and the continuing problems for Taiwan today.  It is impossible to understand unless you have been through it yourself but a book like this gives you some insight into the horrors that people all over the world are subjected to.  The inhumanity is hard to fathom.
A very powerful story of great hardship, grief, loss and hope.
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The story of a Chinese family looking to find a new home.
I found this story too slow for me and the characters hard to relate to.
I did enjoy reading about the family’s heritage and traditions.
Thank you to NetGalley and Headline for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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