Irene M. (Ashland, OR)
City of Tranquil Light
This novel is a true love story: the love of a young couple for each other; their love of their God and their faith in Him; and the love for their adopted country (China) and their village (Ch'eng An Fu) that became so important to their lives.
But it is also a story of loss: the loss of a child; the loss of a lifetime partner; the loss of an adopted country and a way of life, and at times, almost a loss of faith.
In short, a powerful story of man's kindness to man, and man's inhumanity to man.
This would bee a very good book for discussion groups and book clubs. I recommend it as a study of the way most of us, in our consumerism and self-centeredness will never live, but cannot help but admire.
Denice B. (Fort Bragg, CA)
City of Tranquil Light
I loved this quietly powerful book, even though it was not "compelling" in the typical, cliff-hanging way. While I have mixed feelings about "missionary work," this story gives real life details about the dedication and difficulties of two such workers. The love story of an enviably close and sweet marriage built on Faith is such a refreshing break from the self-centered, crass stuff of our modern culture. The book also offers a very interesting (compelling?) way to learn of China's civil unrest in the early 1900s.
I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates simple but elegant and profound story-telling.
Sherrill B. (Columbia City, In.)
City of Tranquil Light
I wasn't sure at first if I liked this book. It was different than most novels. The characters and their trials and tribulations were so real and believable that I decided I liked it after all. also there is romance that is very real and facts about China in the 1900's that seem like real facts. I think I learned a lot about China. It was an interesting book and I would recommend it.
Darra W. (Walnut Creek, CA)
A Quiet Masterpiece
This simply, but exquisitely written novel tells the story of two young Mennonites, Katherine and Will Siehn, who journey to mainland China in 1906 to offer their lives in missionary service. The narrative is told from two viewpoints: his recollections as an elderly man returned to America, and hers through her diary. The resulting "weave" is a quietly powerful story of a marriage, commitment, and a land moving from imperial rule toward an uncertain political future.
It's now almost mid-August. Since January 1, I have read 88 books, a list that includes contemporary literary fiction, quality non-fiction, and acknowledged classics. "City of Tranquil Light" is the best so far, and I look forward eagerly to Ms. Caldwell's next work.
Eileen C. (Arlington, TX)
A Love Story
I found this book was one that I never wanted to put down. Two young missionaries in love with God, fall in love with each other and with the people of early 1900 century China. They face hardships of war, isolation, bandits, and death; yet, they find that God sustains them and their love for Him and each other deepens. A wonderful look at the lives of Chinese peasants in the tumultuous time between the end of the Manchu dynasty and the rise of communism . I highly recommend this book.
Patricia K. (Oak Park, California)
City of Tranquil LIght
"City of Tranquil Lights" is a beautifully written novel. I read this book in two days, any time I put it down, I felt the book tug at me to pick it up and keep on reading. So much about this book kept my attention, from the description of life in China in the early 1900s to selfless service Will and Katherine gave during their missionary life. I highly recommend this book.
Susan S. (Lakeville, MA)
An Inspiring Love Story
The book arrived on Thursday afternoon. 48 hours later, I finished it. It was inspired by the author's grandparents who spent 56 years as Mennonite missionaries in China. I was disappointed and surprised when I learned that it was, in fact, fiction because it is so well-written. The author does, however, list a number of books in her Acknowledgment that she used in her research for this piece, which I fully intend to read. Anyone who has an interest in Chinese culture and/or history would be interested in reading this or anyone who just wants to read a good, old-fashioned love story. I had a lot of things to do today, but the book held my attention to such a degree that I got up early and spent most of my day in my reading chair because I couldn't put this book down.