Read advance reader review of Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden by Zhuqing Li, page 2 of 4

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Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden

Two Sisters Separated by China's Civil War

by Zhuqing Li

Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden by Zhuqing Li X
Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden by Zhuqing Li
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2022, 368 pages

    Jun 20, 2023, 368 pages


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There are currently 23 member reviews
for Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden
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  • Carol N. (San Jose, CA)
    A celebration of life. . .
    In "Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden," Zhuqing Li shares a deeply human story about her aunts, Jun and Hong, who lived through the consequences of the notorious mainland China/Taiwan's historic split, a time of traumatic change and unmatched resilience in Asia.

    The sisters were the offspring of a southern Chinese family, each other's best friend, and grew up in the 1930s days of Old China prior to the political revolution that changed China forever. By chance, both ladies found themselves separated. June in Taiwan is married to a National general and living among fellow exiles at odds with the new regime. On the mainland, Hong is forced to disavow her family's background and her sister's decision, in order to continue her career as a doctor. She is forced to tolerate several waves of re-education by working in exile in very remote areas of the backcountry.

    Both ladies were faced with tense decisions as they go forth and forge careers and families midst this upheaval. With determination and ambition on the part of both women, Jun established several important trading companies while Hong becomes one of the celebrated Chinese doctors.

    This riveting and deeply personal account is a celebration of these remarkable ladies' legacies.
  • Jean F
    Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden
    This is a heartfelt family saga of determination, dedication, and resilience. Sisters Jun and Hong, from a formerly wealthy Chinese family, end up on two sides of the political divide and physically separated by the waters between mainland China and the island of Jinmen (now Quemoy). Their career ambitions (medicine and teaching) and their personal lives are impacted by the civil war and later, the hardships of the Cultural Revolution. Through extensive family conversations and research, author Li has crafted a marvelous account of how these two very different women, her aunts, accommodated themselves to their respective political climates, raised children, and still managed to forge a path ahead. Li’s perceptive rendering of their different approaches to life provides added depth. I was immersed in this book from the moment I began reading!
  • Carol S. (Mt. Juliet, TN)
    Daughter of the Fragrant Flower Garden
    Daughters of the Fragrant Flower Garden is a riveting memoir written by Zhuqing Li, niece of sisters Jun and Hong. The sisters lived in Nationalist China of the 1930s in the family compound called Fragrant Flower Garden, where they were surrounded by wealth and privilege.

    Jun, two years older than her sister, trained to be a teacher. While visiting a friend on an island under Nationalist control, she became accidentally separated from her sister and entire family living on the mainland during the upheaval caused by the Chinese Civil War. Understanding she could not return home, she was forced to forge a new path for herself, ultimately living with her husband and children inTaiwan and then in the USA.

    Hong, Jun's younger sister, became a doctor on mainland China and was uprooted from the path of her career after the Communist Chinese takeover. Twice she faced incredible physical and emotional hardship and isolation from her husband, children and career to endure reeducation in distant impoverished areas of China. There, she was forced to pay dearly for her association with those the Party deemed disloyal, including her sister and family, and was required to prove her loyalty to the Party.

    The two sisters went their separate ways but were equally determined to find happiness and success despite unimaginable obstacles.

    I highly recommend this compelling historical account of those living in China during a time of political upheaval. One cannot fail to see the parallels in the story between China and Taiwan then and tensions now in the forefront of current events.
  • Sylvia F. (Lincoln, CA)
    Daughters of The Flower Fragrant Garden
    This book is about two remarkable sisters who lived in China during the Japan conflict and then during the Chinese Civil War. It was both informative and interesting to follow how Jun's life was under the Nationalist control and how Hung's life was during the political upheaval of the Mao's communist government.

    Both sisters were are intelligent resouceful and determined to live their lives in spite of numerous hardships. Jun started out as a teacher then became a very sucessful business woman in Taiwain. Her younger sister Hung was a doctor who after saving numerous lives was "re-educated" by the communist government.

    I found the facts about Jin nem island a mile from the mainland very interesting. That island became the frontline defense of Taiwain.

    A well written book full of historical facts and kept the reasders interest. A book I will recommend to my book club.
  • Doris K. (Mountain Iron, MN)
    Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden
    This is an interesting memoir of two sisters separated by the communist takeover of China and the separation of Nationalists to Taiwan. The true story is narrated by a niece. The book is a descriptive analysis of women growing up in the thirties. Their stories are significant today due to the current interest in China.

    I found it fascinating to actually read the details of people who lived during this time. The writing is excellent, even though this is true history it almost reads like a novel.

    I will definitely recommend this book to my book club and other friends.
  • Ellen H. (Leonia, NJ)
    A great book club choice!
    Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden is the beautifully told story of two very close sisters from a respected Chinese family who found themselves geographically separated at the beginning of the Chinese Civil War – a separation that lasted for over 30 years. On their very different paths, these two smart, resilient, hard-working women were committed to being the best that they could be in the face of extreme challenges. One remained loyal to Taiwan and the Nationalist cause, while the other embraced the goals and ideas of the Communist Party to protect herself and her family. The author, Zhuqing Li who is their niece, places their stories and her family history in the context of the Chinese Civil War and the many cultural and economic changes that took place in China in the 20th Century. I think this would be a great book club choice. The themes of war, endurance and strong family ties could spark an interesting discussion.
  • Jean B. (Naples, FL)
    Two aunts/two Chinas
    Zhuqing Li writes about the lives of her two remarkable aunts. She also gives us a picture of two Chinas: communist on the main land and democracy on Taiwan. Her aunts were close during their childhood, living in their beautiful home, the Flower Flagrant Garden. They were separated during their adult lives. Hong became a famous and revered doctor in mainland communist China and Jun became a successful entrepreneur in Taiwan.

    The author brings these two women to life in her well-researched book. She is currently a professor of East Asian Studies at Brown University. Readers of her book will have a better understanding of both Chinas and a real admiration for the author and her aunts,

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