Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang has as many layers as a Chinese puzzle. This beautifully painted tale is a saga containing a mystery, with elements of romance, fantasy, fairy tale and Chinese spiritualism. The story is set against the dramatic backdrop of the 1911 Chinese Revolution; the last reign of the Xing Dynasty.
Jialing is a young hun xue (mixed breed) girl abandoned by her mother. The other word used to describe her is horrible. Jialing's mother was Chinese, her father British. Her plight highlights the status of women and those of mixed race in a changing society. Women at this time were regarded as property, with little options for independence.
Grandmother Yang, the Matriarch of a well respected family, takes Jialing in as a Bond Servant. She is property of the family until she can buy her freedom. Unfortunately for Jialing, her options as an adult are limited. Although educated, discrimination against her Eurasian appearance makes her almost unemployable.
When the family finds itself in financial difficulty, even wives can be sold; as servants, or worse, into brothels. Jialing can only hope to be a mistress or a prostitute, unless she is lucky. Aided and protected by a Fox Spirit, Jialing attempts to find a home, friendship, her mother, independence and love.
Janie Chang is also the author of Three Souls.
This is the perfect book to read during Lunar New Year!
Dragon Springs Road
by Janie Chang
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
Lunar New Year events
- Lunar New Year at Christchurch City Libraries
- Chinese New Year Parade Sunday, 5 February 2017
- Chinese Lantern Festival Saturday 18 February and Sunday 19 February.