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I love to read, mostly historical fiction with a little historical romance and some ghosty stories thrown int.

The Woman Who Lost China

The Woman Who Lost China - Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang When I read a really good historical fiction set in a specific locale, I tend to choose more books set in the same place (just look at my Where Am I Reading map, poor England is almost covered). A couple of years ago, I could not get enough of China. Of course, I moved on, but when I saw this book on Library Thing, with its beautiful cover, I decided to revisit the country.Readers are introduced to Manying in the first pages. Her situation was very urgent and I was immediately wrapped up in her story. The writing was fabulous and the first two chapters had me glued to my trusty iPad. I was so excited and was really looking forward to reading the rest of the story.By chapter 5 we are whisked back to 1894 and start following the lives of Manying's relatives. By this point the story changed. Not just location, and characters, but in tone and focus. I started to have problems keeping the characters straight. It seemed that many were introduced in order to facilitate meeting other characters, or to move their stories along. While I was reading I could not always figure out if the characters (aside from Manying), were going to become key players or not. Other characters would disappear and then come back again at a different time in the story. Again, the list of characters was helpful here.The 1894 story moved along and brought us up to speed on the political, cultural and religious climate of China though the years. Actually, there was a lot of religion in this story. It wasn't preachy really, but Manying's Christianity was a big part of her story, and explained some of the struggles that she experienced. I was surprised about it though, because I hadn't seen it mentioned in any of the blurbs.Eventually we caught up with Manying's life in 1949, from the beginning of the book. However, by this time, I had started to struggle with the novel. It was interesting, but it dragged. At 70% I really didn't see the point of the novel. The author did not provide me a "hook" that gave me a reason to keep reading. Sadly, I had become detached from the characters, and I didn't "have' to find out what happened to them. When it was over my first thought was, "how long was this"? I was shocked to see it was only 357 pages. It seemed longer.So, even though I thought I would love this story, I didn't actually. The author certainly knew her history, but in the end, I wish that she had developed the characters and their interpersonal relationships, as well as the plot and the history. I never felt the same attachment again after the first two chapters. Although this novel wasn't for me, it was still interesting enough to finish. Plus, I stopped to Google more about a few things that stood out, such as the Chinese symbol for horse (which was described in detail), foot binding, lepers, and cheongsam dresses (which are beautiful and I wish I could wear one).Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com