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Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu
Historical fiction

Peach Blossom Spring

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Melissa Fu, on your first book!

Early Release

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by Melissa Fu

Excellent choice

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Quick take

This multi-generational epic traces the enthralling story of a mother and son who journey from China to America.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational

    Inspirational

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Immigration

    Immigration

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_War

    War

Synopsis

"Within every misfortune there is a blessing and within every blessing, the seeds of misfortune, and so it goes, until the end of time."

It is 1938 in China and, as a young wife, Meilin’s future is bright. But with the Japanese army approaching, Meilin and her four-year-old son, Renshu, are forced to flee their home. Relying on little but their wits and a beautifully illustrated hand scroll, filled with ancient fables that offer solace and wisdom, they must travel through a ravaged country, seeking refuge.

Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. Though his daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down? Yet how can Lily learn who she is if she can never know her family’s story?

Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It’s about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the haunting question: What would it mean to finally be home?

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Content warning

This book contains a scene that depicts sexual assault.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Peach Blossom Spring.
Peach Blossom Spring

Origins

Tell us, they say, tell us where you're from.

He is from walking and walking and walking. He is from shoes filled with holes, blistered toes and calloused heels that know the roughness of gravel roads and the relief in straw, in grass. He is from staying each night in a different place, sometimes city, sometimes country. From roads that wrap around mountains and dip through valleys. From waterways shrouded in fog and mist.

He is from walking across China.

Tell us your memories, they say.

He remembers kerosene lamps burning low, the smell of woodsmoke, cold stone floors under his bare feet. Urgent voices, the rasping of coins, carts creaking at night. He remembers a sandalwood puzzle picture. One way up, there were one hundred monkeys. Turn it over, there were ninety-nine. How did that monkey appear and disappear? He is from this mystery.

Tell us more, they say as they nestle by his side. How did you come here?

He crossed rivers. He crossed oceans.

He carried a watch bought from a sailor, a letter to open doors. A suitcase, a packet of light blue aerogrammes, a single pair of wool socks. He went towards the call of a beautiful country, a beckoning dream, a promise made of air. Towards wingbeats of birds, kaleidoscopes of seasons he’d never imagined before.

And now, they say, their eyes clear and voices playful, tell us a story.

To know a story is to stroke the silken surfaces of loss, to feel the weight of beauty in his hands.

To know a story is to carry it always, etched in his bones, even if dormant for decades.

Tell us, they insist.

To tell a story, he realises, is to plant a seed and let it grow.

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Why I love it

From the first pages of this gorgeous historical novel, I knew that this was my kind of story. Any fans of Pachinko will love this sweeping book for its emotional tenderness which quietly creeps up on you. This is a timeless story that will never get old.

Peach Blossom Spring begins with Meilin and her four-year-old son Renshu as they flee their burning city during the Sino-Japanese war. They are setting off on a perilous journey across China in search of safety. And at every stop, they are faced with difficult choices about who and what to leave behind, and at what cost. Years later, Renshu leaves his mother behind and moves to New Mexico, where he reinvents himself as Henry Dao, and marries an American woman. His daughter Lily wants to understand his mysterious past, which Henry refuses to talk about. This is one of the most moving parts of the novel. Henry’s journey reminds me of the one my own parents took. Can we, children of immigrants, ever really understand all the hardships they endured? This book bridges that generational gap and does so with true wisdom.

Despite how much ground this story covers, it reads like a page-turner. I was fully invested in Henry and Meilin’s journey at every turn and wanted them to find peace and happiness. Expansive, atmospheric, and affecting, Peach Blossom Spring shows just how much the human heart can hold, and it left me breathless.

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Member ratings (10,914)

  • Michelle B.

    Alexandria, VA

    I LOVED this book. I don’t understand why it took me so long to pick it up. I love the characters & the writing. I cried, got angry & happy throughout this book. I give it a chef kiss. Read it!❤️❤️❤️

  • Nikki M.

    Pataskala, OH

    Absolutely amazing!! The storytelling was phenomenal, I couldn't put it down! The historical context weaved perfectly within the story of this mother and son growing through tumultuous times. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

  • Samantha S.

    Philadelphia, PA

    One of the most evocative and heartbreaking books of the past few years. Fu deftly answers the question, “How do we honor the last without letting it define us, and move on to who we’re meant to be?”

  • Sara G.

    Pasadena, CA

    I didn’t know much about this part of history before beginning this novel but the story was evocative and the main characters so real that my heart broke about fifty times for them. Couldn’t put down.

  • Emmett R.

    Bozeman, MT

    This book was so amazing, I cannot even put into words how great it is. Fu’s writing is exquisite and delivers not only a well written story over 3 generations, but also an informative story. 5/5 ⭐️

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