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Daughters of Shandong

by Eve J. Chung

Daughters of Shandong by Eve J. Chung X
Daughters of Shandong by Eve J. Chung
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There are currently 36 reader reviews for Daughters of Shandong
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Rebecca G. (Havertown, PA)

Hope amid sorrow
It's difficult these days to comprehend what's happening to people especially children in Israel, Gaza, and Ukraine. Power struggles kill everyday people and there are places around the world that have dealt with oppression for centuries. The Daughters of Shandong highlights this struggle between Mao and Chang Kai-Shek, between Communists and Nationalists. Mao's cadres killed and tortured wealthy landlords in the name of giving back to the common man. This left many people, especially women and children with no family support. They were left to beg, steal, and survive anyway possible. This book tells the story of one such family, Hai, her sisters and her mother who are abandoned by their family and grandparents primarily because they are female and of no value. Hai is tortured in lieu of her father being the oldest. The family sets out on a journey to find their family which takes them deeper into poverty, despair and squalor in every new place along the way. But they are resilient and resourceful and finally rejoin their family in Taiwan. Hai and her sister, Di are able to break the bonds of tradition and gain an education and jobs. It's a book of faith, hope, charity and lots of luck. I loved every minute. It's also a great book for book clubs because it will spark a lot of discussion, especially about gender inequality
Melissa C. (Saint Johns, FL)

A Woman's Incredible Journey
Daughters of Shandong is now on the top of my list of historical fiction novels. The author transports the reader into the eye of Chinese history and shows the incredible strength and fortitude of women who refused to be oppressed so that their daughters could rise above the hardships of cultural and political challenges and injustice. I found the story fascinating, compelling and surprisingly easy to read, despite the intense and, at times, brutal subject matter(s).
Marie M. (Rochester, MN)

Daughters of Shandong
If a book taking place during a war (communist revolution in China, 1948) can be called enjoyable, this is it. I say enjoyable based on the mother/daughter relationships, the three dimensional characters and the rising above the circumstances which almost made the reader forget the horrors in favor of the power of the storyline.

The thread of misogyny was prevalent throughout the novel. "Di looked me in the eye and said, 'All girls are disposable, and you know it.'" As much as the war raged between Nationalists and Communists, all females struggled with humiliation, punishment and wondering if she held any value at all.

Through tension, love and just plain stamina, the characters wrestled with traditional versus non traditional values, the old and the new. This book offered a lot of insight about how we escape (and, in some cases, don't escape) hard core beliefs.

I thoroughly enjoyed Eve J. Chung's writing and would highly recommend this novel.
Laurie B. (Jacksonville, FL)

Highly recommended
I am a longtime avid reader and rarely find a book that I would rate 5-stars. This is one. Eve Chung has done a wonderful job of telling a historically based family story during the tumultuous events in China from the 1940s through 1960s. The extreme challenges of women, their resilience and fortitude are portrayed in a realistic way. Chung's writing is descriptive without being overly expansive. Daughters of Shandong was a real pleasure to read and I hope Chung continues to write.
Shirl (Wisconsin)

A beautiful and touching story about Chinese women!
This is a story beautifully written. While it was painful to read, it held my interest completely and deeply touched my heart. While I knew in general that women had been valued less than men in China, the details in this story taught me so much about how women were openly considered less than men and also violently abused. I liked the way hope was shown through improvements in women's rights over time, just as in the United States. I was heartbroken though by the way some older Chinese women completely bought into the degradation of their own daughters and daughters-in-law.

It left me with questions about the United States and its relationship with China. Does having so many of our products made in China actually hurt or help women there? What are factory conditions and pay like for Chinese women? (Maybe the setting for another story?) So much to think about - brought tears to my eyes and definitely ranks as the most touching book that I have read this whole year.
Laura P. (Atlanta, GA)

A Study in Perseverence and Family Dynamics
A fictionalized version of the author's family history, Daughters of Shandong is set during the Chinese Revolution (1948 - 1960) and traces the story of the wealthy Nationalist Ang family. When their town of Zhucheng is threatened by the Communists, the father of the family and his parents leave for greener pastures, delegating the care of the family home to his wife and their three daughters -- less important because they were women. Communist forces seize the family home and "try" the oldest daughter, Hai, as a stand-in for her father, beating and torturing her in the process. The women escape on a cross-China journey in search of their family members, ultimately reaching Hong Kong, and then Taiwan. They face starvation, horrible living conditions, disease, and danger in their search. A consistent emphasis of the book is the status (or lack thereof) and treatment of women in the Chinese culture.The book is well-written; the story line is propulsive and the characters are well-developed.I learned a lot while enjoying a really good story.
Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI)

Lesson in history...albeit fictional
A story of perseverance, determination, family support, and four women walking their way through the ups and downs of Chinese politics beginning in the 40s. The women are strong and determined albeit a somewhat dysfunctional family group of 4.
Melissa K. (Orland Park, IL)

Shocking account of China during the Communist Takeover
This book Daughters of Shandong was a fascinating read. It is fiction and has a lot of action which is great as you are able to easily understand everything and the fast pace keeps you interested. The story is based on a Mom and her 3 daughters who are left to fend for themselves in Communist China. I had no idea how the takeover happened but I feel like now I understand more. The Character development was great also, and you felt you knew this family. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Thank you for the ARC.

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