“Filled with enchantment and intrigue” (Toronto Star) and “a great choice for a book club” (The Huffington Post), Dragon Springs Road takes readers on an evocative journey a century in the past and half a world away.
In early-twentieth-century Shanghai, an ancient imperial dynasty collapses, a new government struggles to life and two girls are bound together in a friendship that will be tested by duty, honour and love.
Abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate outside Shanghai, seven-year-old Jialing learns she is zazhong—Eurasian—and thus doomed to face a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. The Yang family, new owners of the estate, reluctantly take her in as a servant. As Jialing grows up, her only allies are Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the courtyard for more than three hundred years. But when a young English girl appears and befriends the lonely orphan—and then mysteriously vanishes—Jialing’s life takes an unexpected turn.
As Jialang grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, she must find a way to survive political intrigue, jealousy, forbidden love and even murder. Through every turn she is guided, both by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past toward a very different fate. “Rich with detail and a fascinating interplay between the spiritual and earthly realms, Chang’s second novel explores whether it is possible to overcome your past” (Booklist).
“Who can resist a child in jeopardy novel especially one set against the rich background of Shanghai at the turn of the century? . . . Illuminating and vivid . . . an involving, sympathetic novel, which exemplifies the best of historical fiction.”
“I absolutely couldn’t put it down. . . . One of the most satisfying, enjoyable and interesting books I’ve read in a while.”
“Janie Chang has a keen eye for detail and infuses them throughout this magical story, with its masterfully rendered setting of the early Chinese republic, characters who bring to life the constrictions of those girls, and a mystical benevolent spirit. The result is enchanting.”
“Enthralling. . . . It’s both a pleasure and an education to read this sensitive, intelligent novel.”
“Three Souls bristles with freshness and heart.”
“[D]elightful. Chang skillfully weaves China’s story with the fate of her characters, giving the novel a tone of importance that never becomes dull or pedantic.”
“Beautifully told . . . fascinating . . . a great choice for a book club.”
“A remarkable read, brimming with magic and the grit of realism. . . . Chang asserts herself as an exciting, relatable voice in Canadian fiction, a voice that requires us to re-examine our relationships to place, identity, and ancestry. . . . A story for our times.”
“Lyrical and magical . . . Chang’s lovingly crafted novel will resonate with readers long after the story is done.”
“A glorious, deeply readable novel-the kind you pick up and read voraciously, every chance you get. The kind you get lost in.”
“Filled with enchantment and intrigue, this novel shines brightly with lyrical prose.”
[ Three Souls bristles with freshness and heart.
“Chang unfurls this intriguing story . . . with precision. Rich with detail and a fascinating interplay between the spiritual and earthly realms, Chang’s second novel explores whether it is possible to overcome your past.”
“Dragon Springs Road is simply one of the best novels I have read in a long time. . . . Janie Chang has created an enchanting and unforgettable book. I recommend it unreservedly.”
“Chang unfurls this intriguing story—set against the chaotic backdrop of China in the early twentieth century-with precision. Rich with detail and a fascinating interplay between the spiritual and earthly realms, Chang’s second novel explores whether it is possible to overcome your past.”