Cover Image: Four Treasures of the Sky

Four Treasures of the Sky

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Member Reviews

Is your name the signpost to the story of your life? Daiyu has been given the name of a tragic heroine from an old poem but will her own life be a tragedy?
At first the story seems to be a happy one, she lives with her parents and grandmother in a fishing village. They’re not as well off as when they lived in the nearby city, but still show generosity towards the many visitors. Then her parents disappear and her grandmother fears that Daiyu may also be disappeared. So she cuts her hair and dresses her as a boy, then sends her to hide in the city. Daiyu becomes Feng, a street urchin, who eventually finds work as a servant to a teacher of calligraphy, giving her insight into another beautiful world. 
But this is not to last as she is kidnapped from the streets and sent to America where she is sold to a brothel and becomes Pearl. She manages to escape and hides herself again as a boy called Jacob Li, finding a job and saving the money to pay for her passage home. But will Jacob stay in America and build a new life or will Daiyu find her way back to China?

The single viewpoint of this book makes for a vivid narrative as we suffer all of the protagonist's misfortunes with her. Everything seems to conspire against her but she manages to keep going, to find a respite and even friendship. Parts of the story seem farfetched, but I searched out some of the references afterwards and they are all based on historical scenarios. The book does throw a spotlight on the anti-Chinese prejudice from the American government and ordinary people during this time and which lingered afterwards. But the book isn’t an exposition dump, instead concentrating on how the heroine reacts to all her setbacks. It’s a very sad read even while there are moments of light and beauty.

I had a copy of this book early through Netgalley
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Great historical fiction, I look forward to reading more by this author in the future and am hoping to get my hands on a physical copy of this soon!
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It feels wrong somehow to say I "enjoyed" Four Treasures of the Sky, though it is a marvellous book - some parts were so tense I could feel my heart pounding, and content warnings abound for this - there are some really quite graphic and harrowing scenes. However, if you prepare for this, you're set for some gorgeous prose and an all-around insightful read. It's also intensely moving, and beautifully written - the use of present tense felt appropriate for Daiyou's story
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I love historical fiction and I really wanted to love this one. However, it is a very slow one with detail descriptions that instead of keeping me interested I got bored and I decided to DNF. This is just ny personal preference and opinion, it doesn't mean the book is bad, it means that is just nor me.
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This was such a good book. I love historical fiction, especially when it is about eras/ situations that I previously knew nothing about and this was definitely one of those books. It was so well researched and so compelling in its narrative that not only did I love reading it but I felt that I learned too. A really enjoyable read and perfect for any fans of historical fiction. This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

3.5/5.
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Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang is a powerful historical novel about immigration from China to America and a struggle for survival.
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I so wanted to love this book. I usually enjoy books about Chinese culture but this proved just too slow for me. I enjoyed the first part but once the scene changed to America I became bored. I know that this is an important novel in that it tells a little known history of the Chinese experience in 19th century America but it just wasn’t for me.
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This is a fantastic read about a period in history that I knew very little  - to nothing about and it was such a powerful read. It was well written with a captivating storyline that had obviously been very well researched and well developed characters some of which i took to my heart especially Daiyu. I loved it.
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