All the Flowers in Shanghai Summary and Reviews

All the Flowers in Shanghai

A Novel

by Duncan Jepson

All the Flowers in Shanghai
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2011
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

A sweeping debut novel set in 1930s Shanghai for fans of Lisa See, Empress, and Memoirs of a Geisha.

In 1930s Shanghai, following the path of duty takes precedence over personal desires for every young Chinese woman. For Feng, that means becoming the bride of a wealthy businessman in a marriage arranged by her parents. In the enclosed world of the Sang household - a place of public ceremony and private cruelty - she learns that fulfilling her duty means bearing a male heir.

Ruthless and embittered by a life that has been forced on her, Feng plots a terrible revenge. But as the years pass, she must come to a reckoning with the sacrifices and the terrible choices she has made to assure her place in family and society, before the entire country is engulfed in the fast-flowing tide of revolution.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[Jepson] does a solid job of voicing a female character." - Library Journal

"Despite the riveting story line, the novel suffers from awkward syntax, and its treatment of time (decades and wars are dismissed in single pages) hints at more familiarity with quickly moving screenplays than full-length fiction." - Publishers Weekly

"Simple but strong on detail and emotional intensity... An unremittingly bleak story, delivered with some passion." - Kirkus Reviews

"Jepson... evokes time and place well as he describes the life of privilege that Feng comes to take for granted only to have her life veer dramatically and be overtaken by the Great Leap Forward." - Booklist

"Poignant and elegantly written." - Romantic Times

"A beautifully poetic story. Duncan Jepson creates a poignant set of characters and follows the journey of one woman who attempts to stop the cycle of history in the only way she knows how, but with dire consequences." - Geling Yan, author of The Banquet Bug

"This story is breathtaking. Like a poem or a painting, it reveals the old Shanghai. It's a great work that will move its readers." - Hong Ying, international bestselling author of Daughter of the River

"The life of this novel's main character is splintered into thousands of pieces, each of them reflecting the changes of Chinese history, yet all of them coming out in Duncan Jepson's poetic, passionate writing." - Qiu Xiaolong, author of the Inspector Chen mysteries

"An accomplished first novel. Duncan Jepson magically inhabits the life of a young Chinese woman in 1930s Shanghai, following Feng's unlikely evolution from neglected second daughter to first wife of the rich and powerful Sang family and her unexpected epilogue. I thoroughly enjoyed this book." - Janice Y. K. Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Piano Teacher

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Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Terri M. (Jacksonville, FL)

Fascinating!
I love stories from other cultures, especially ones that follow the life of a central character and are historical in nature. All the Flowers in Shanghai was all of that and more. The book follows the life of Feng "the second daughter". From the minute I picked it up, I couldn't put it down, I had to find out what was happening to Feng and how she would handle it. So well written, I was sorry to see it end.

Susan P. (Boston, MA)

All the Flowers in Shanghai
A very enlightening story of an innocent young woman exposed to privilege but against her will. Can be enjoyed by anyone interested in the place of girls and women in pre-WWII and in the Cultural Revolution that follows. Enjoyable but heartbreaking as well. Oddly, though, flowers per se as a theme seems a bit inchoate but it didn't detract.

Jacquelyn H. (Blanco, TX)

BRINGS HISTORY ALIVE
ALL THE FLOWERS IN SHANGHAI brings history alive in a spellbinding tale of Shanghai in the 30's to the time of the revolution. Feng, a sympathetic young girl, makes mistake after mistake after being caught in an unexpected arranged marriage while totally unprepared for the life she must lead. The book is a fine read that gives a solid overview of historical perspective.

Margaret M. (Chicago, IL)

The flowers of shanghai
This is a fun read that keeps your interest. I became Interested in Xiao Feng and her life. I felt I knew her!
This is a fun and informative story. It is a fast read.
The story includes mysteries and cultural information about the Chinese family before and after the revolution and at the same time is an interesting and captivating, particularly to women.

Patricia M. (Davidson, North Carolina)

A Mesmerizing Book
This beautifully written book could be categorized as Historical Fiction. I couldn't wait to read it each day. It depicts the Chinese people during a time before the Revolution. A very intimate portrayal and the reader becomes immersed in their everyday lives. The author brings you right into the story. I shed a tear when I finished the book as I didn't want it to end.

Sara S. (Murfreesboro, TN)

Moving
All the Flowers in Shanghai was a thoughtful book that displays the impact of one's environment. Feng's character is a complex yet naive woman, who eventually breaks through her imposed shell.

I appreciated reading this book, and look forward to more from this author. The subtle beauty was divine...

...18 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

Duncan Jepson is the award-winning director and producer of five feature films and documentaries that have been shown on the Discovery Channel Asia and National Geographic Channel. He has also edited two Asia-based magazines, the acclaimed West East Magazine and the Asia Literary Review. In 2005, Duncan established a charity, the Society for Children's Education in Asia, to support the Aschiana Accelerated Girls Learning Centre. He was a director of the Child Welfare Scheme, a charity supporting street kids and young mothers in Nepal. Most recently he established Share, a charity focused on providing opportunities to reduce social inequality among Hong Kong youth. Also a corporate lawyer, he lives in Hong Kong. To learn more about All the Flowers in Shanghai, visit www.alltheflowersinshanghai.com.

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