Wednesday 26 June 2019

Audio: The Song of the Jade Lily - Kirsty Manning

Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-14-19
Publisher: HarperAudio
Historical fiction
To review

This one takes place during WWII and present time. With the grandmother and granddaughter. As always with dual timelines I did find one more interesting, and that was Romy's in -39. This one would have worked great as just that too, sure the other POV brought mystery, but still.

Romy and her parents leave for Shanghai in -39. And as always I googled things and the Chinese diplomat in Vienna did give Jews a chance the flee.

Shanghai is another world to them, and she loves it. Of course half is also under Japanese occupation. I did feel the book was lighter, not the right world, but later on they are all put in a ghetto. Evil things are told, but at the same time she fast forward the more troublesome years. Not that I want all darkness, this was not that kind of book.

Romy studied to become a doctor. She met Li, who became her best friend. She hoped her brother who was in Dachau would come to Shanghai (yes that was rather heartbreaking). I liked Romy.

Then in present day Alexandra looses her grandfather Wilhelm, and she takes a job in Shanghai. All she knows about her true origin is that Wilhelm and Romy adopted her mother from Shangai. So she investigates when Romy is closemouthed.

Ok so this was actually the weak point. The secret was not a secret at all. It was cruel of Romy to make it into a secret and not tell her daughter the truth. Because it was NOT a secret. Everyone would have been happier with it out in the open. Sigh, flimsy secrets.

So I can not say much about the child Romy adopts, the secret needs to unravel. Just, why it was a secret I do not know. Cruel, very cruel to keep it so.

There is heartache to be had in Shanghai, sadness, and hope for a better tomorrow. I enjoyed the story, and the end is rather bittersweet.

I have listened to Saskia before and I like her style. She manages well with accents and male and female voices. You easily fall into her narration.

1939: Two young girls meet in Shanghai, also known as the “Paris of the East”. Beautiful local Li and Jewish refugee Romy form a fierce friendship, but the deepening shadows of World War II fall over the women as they slip between the city's glamorous French Concession district and the teeming streets of the Shanghai Ghetto. Yet soon, the realities of war prove to be too much for these close friends as they are torn apart. 
2016: Fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm. Her grandfather is dying, and over the coming weeks, Romy and Wilhelm begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century. As fragments of her mother's history finally become clear, Alexandra struggles with what she learns while more is also revealed about her grandmother's own past in Shanghai. 
After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents' past. Peeling back the layers of their hidden lives, she is forced to question what she knows about her family - and herself. 


  1. I liked the setting and the time period so I bet I'd like this too.

  2. It's always interesting to have books like that

    1. It so is. I knew nothing of this. 30 000 Jewish refugees in Shangahai!

  3. Replies
    1. Nah, it really should have been sadder considering

  4. It sounds like they're are a few secrets in this one.

  5. Always confuses me why they keep such crazy secrets....causes more issues. Just be honest

  6. Always interesting to explore different time periods and cultures. Hmm the secret of the child sounds interesting, pity it didn't have to be a secret.

    1. It was just so silly, everyone would have been happier with it out in the open. Now the child wanted to know about her parents

  7. Nice, a WW2 historical that focuses on the China/Japan conflict side of things!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. My second, though the first did not work for me

  8. A bittersweet ending is well, bittersweet! I'm always left a little sad after those. :/

    1. Though this bittersweet was more that which happened 60 years ago

  9. This sounds really good and I enjoy dual timelines.



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