Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao after a traumatic childhood as a refugee from China, where, in 1938, he and his mother Meilin had to flee as the Japanese army approached. Now his daughter Lily is desperate to understand her heritage, but Henry 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?
Debut novelist Melissa Fu draws on her family's history to create a captivating story of immigration, family secrets and deep love ... Fu writes sensitively about the concerns of multiple generations of immigrant families: the daily needs of survival during traumatic times, the fierce determination to protect one's children and give them better opportunities, the difficulties of sharing a family history that includes so much pain ... Fu's thoughtful third-person narration gives readers a sense of all three characters' perspectives, as well as a slice of modern Chinese history. Richly described, with deeply compassionate protagonists, Peach Blossom Spring is a haunting tribute to immigrant families and a gorgeous meditation on how stories can shape identity.
... accomplished ... documents Henry’s diligent attempts to put down roots in New Mexico, but its strength lies in its portrayal of the many places — Changsha, Chongqing, Shanghai and points in between — where his mother, Meilin, sought refuge with her only child, known then as Renshu.
... a beautiful debut novel that focuses on one man’s attempt to forget where he has come from and his daughter’s insistence on understanding it ... Melissa Fu ponders the questions of home in this forceful and compelling family generational saga ... told in a simple and deliberate tone, which truly allows us to see the humanity in each character’s story and relate to it. Fu’s words are often infused with a poetic grace that belies the strength of her characters, their convictions and their attempts to overcome the obstacles in their way. They are all striving to create a place for themselves in the world. May this book open us to thoughts of compassion and love for those who are currently running for their lives and looking for refuge around the world.