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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

This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait to read it.

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, 400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Inspirational

    Inspirational

  • Illustrated icon, Immigration

    Immigration

  • Illustrated 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?

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.

Member ratings (11,044)

  • 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.

  • Jess Z.

    Saint Louis, MO

    I loved the storytelling of this book, and was fascinated by the history I was previously unaware of. One of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a while…just perfect from start to finish. ❤️????

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Historical fiction
View all
Lady Tan’s Circle of Women
The Women
The Lion Women of Tehran
Husbands & Lovers
Shelterwood
A Thousand Times Before
All We Were Promised
Spitting Gold
The Mayor of Maxwell Street
The Great Divide
The Storm We Made
The Disappearance of Astrid Bricard
Lessons in Chemistry
The Frozen River
What We Kept to Ourselves
The River We Remember
Take My Hand
The Last Russian Doll
The First Ladies
The House Is On Fire
River Sing Me Home
The People We Keep
The Attic Child
Malibu Rising
The Book of Longings
Hester
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
The Nightingale
Daisy Jones & The Six
The Lincoln Highway
The Secret Book of Flora Lea
Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?
The Circus Train
Peach Blossom Spring
Hang the Moon
Booth
The Good Left Undone
The Perishing
The Postmistress of Paris
The Family
Things We Lost to the Water
The Spectacular
Still Life
Send for Me
The Magnolia Palace
The Bookbinder
China Room
This Tender Land
Atomic Love
All the Light We Cannot See
The Vanishing Half
Outlawed
The Four Winds
Independence
The Fountains of Silence
Libertie
Queen of Thieves
The Great Believers
The Clockmaker's Daughter
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Great Alone
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
The Paris Hours
The Heart’s Invisible Furies
Rules of Civility
Circling the Sun
The Moor's Account
Jacqueline in Paris
Don't Cry for Me
The Christie Affair
Bloomsbury Girls
The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle
Bronze Drum