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The Porcelain Moon by Janie Chang : a review

I’m delighted to be sharing Laura’s guest review about The Porcelain Moon by Janie Chang.

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book cover for The Porcelain Moon by Janie Chang.  A woman in a red dress is standing in front of a French landmark with a full moon hanging in the sky

The Porcelain Moon by Janie Chang

  • Category : Historical Fiction
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ William Morrow Paperbacks (14 Mar. 2024)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0063290960
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063290969
  • Amazon | Waterstones | Goodreads

The Porcelain Moon Summary

France, 1918. In the final days of the First World War, a young Chinese woman, Pauline Deng, runs away from her uncle’s home in Paris to evade a marriage being arranged for her in Shanghai. To prevent the union, she needs the help of her cousin Theo, who is working as a translator for the Chinese Labour Corps in the French countryside. In the town of Noyelles-sur-Mer, Camille Roussel is planning her escape from an abusive marriage, and to end a love affair that can no longer continue. When Camille offers Pauline a room for her stay, the two women become friends. But it’s not long before Pauline uncovers a perilous secret that Camille has been hiding from her. As their dangerous situation escalates, the two women are forced to make a terrible decision that will bind them together for the rest of their lives.

Set against the little-known history of the 140,000 Chinese workers brought to Europe as non-combatant labor during WWI, The Porcelain Moon is a tale of forbidden love, identity and belonging, and what we are willing to risk for freedom.

The Porcelain Moon Review

The Porcelain Moon is a beautifully written historical novel set during the First World War in France. I was absorbed reading this wonderful book with a great plot and well-written characters.

I have not read much about the Chinese workers being sent as labour workers and I found this interesting. Sadly, their jobs were on the most part hard, menial and at times distressing.

I enjoyed the two main characters in this book. Pauline, an illegitimate daughter from a Chinese family came to live with her uncle to help out in their antique shop. She fell in love with Paris and felt reluctant to move back to Shanghai, especially for an arranged marriage. Camille came from an aristocratic family but ended up in an abusive marriage after her family lost their fortune.

Pauline meets Camille but soon discovers her painful secret and her wish to escape. Their lives become entwined with each other.

An intriguing read. I fell in love with both of the characters and longed throughout for them both to have the life they desired and needed to survive.

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About the Author

Janie Chang’s historical novels have been critically-acclaimed Canadian national bestsellers. Her novels THREE SOULS and DRAGON SPRINGS ROAD were long listed for the International Dublin Literary Award. Her third novel THE LIBRARY OF LEGENDS was a Book of the Month Club pick. Her fourth novel, THE PORCELAIN MOON, was named one of the 5 Top Historical Novels of 2023 by the Toronto Star. THE PHOENIX CROWN, a novel co-authored with Kate Quinn, released in February 2024.

Her stories often feature a family connection, drawing from a family history with 36 generations of recorded genealogy and stories about life in a small Chinese town in the years before the Second World War, including tales of ancestors who encountered dragons, ghosts, and immortals.

Born in Taiwan, Janie has lived in the Philippines, Iran, Thailand, and New Zealand. She now lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada with her husband.

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