France, 1918. In the final days of the First World War, 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 in the French countryside as a translator for the Chinese Labour Corps.
In the town of Noyelles-sur-Mer, Camille Roussel is planning her escape from an abusive marriage and seeking to end a love affair that can no longer continue. Camille offers Pauline a room in her house, and the two women become friends. But before long, 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 who were brought to Europe as non-combatant labour during WWI, The Porcelain Moon is a tale of forbidden love, identity and belonging, and what we are willing to risk for freedom.
About the author
Janie Chang writes historical novels that draw upon family history for inspiration. She grew up listening to stories about ancestors who encountered dragons, ghosts, and immortals, and about family life in a small Chinese town in the years before the Second World War. Her second novel, Dragon Spring Road, was released in January 2017. Her first novel, Three Souls was a finalist for the 2013 BC Book Prizes fiction award, one of 9 Canadian novels long listed for the 2015 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Born in Taiwan, Janie has lived in the Philippines, Iran, Thailand, and New Zealand. She now lives in beautiful Vancouver, Canada with her husband and Mischa, a rescue cat who thinks the staff could be doing a better job.
“Janie Chang’s beautiful writing will transport you to another time and place with characters you will feel in your soul. The Porcelain Moon is incredibly well researched and sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of the Great War with the struggles of Chinese laborers brought to work in France. Once I started this book, I absolutely could not put it down – I cannot recommend it enough!” — —Madeleine Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London and The Librarian Spy
“East meets West in World War I France. In The Porcelain Moon, Janie Chang exhibits her signature trademarks – lyrical prose, deftly-drawn characters, and skillful excavation of little-known history – to give us a rare jewel in a sea if wartime fiction!” — —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Diamond Eye
“A tribute to the sacrifice of the little-known Chinese Labor Corps in France during WWI, The Porcelain Moon is a heartrending tale of secrets, love, and sacrifice. Expertly crafted, gripping the reader from the first page, Janie Chang delivers another stunning work to her impressive collection. Truly a beautiful tapestry of a book.” — —Aimie K. Runyan, bestselling author of The School for German Brides
“Captivating from the outset, The Porcelain Moon tells a story of found family and forbidden love, while showcasing the lesser-known contribution of Chinese workers to the Allied cause in WWI. This tender and beautifully written story is Janie Chang at her best!” — —Bryn Turnbull, bestselling author of The Last Grand Duchess and The Woman Before Wallis
“Janie Chang is at the top of her game with her latest, a fascinating, beautifully written novel set during the Great War that explores the forgotten role of Chinese laborers. A story of incredible courage, forbidden love, and the questions surrounding cultural identity, The Porcelain Moon is a heart-rending, thought-provoking addition to the canon of world war fiction.” — —Heather Webb, bestselling author of The Next Ship Home and Strangers in the Night
“I’m so grateful to Janie Chang for bringing to life a side of the Great War – and France! – that one seldom sees: the Chinese laborers who came over to aid the war effort and the members of the Chinese community in Paris who volunteered as translators. Chang creates a fascinating, immersive story of worlds intertwining, a story of friendship, love, found family, and finding one’s own place in a rapidly changing world.” — —Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of Band of Sisters and the forthcoming Two Wars and a Wedding