Reviewed by Shirley Gerald Ware, Fresh! Literary Magazine

Publisher, TATS Publishing

Author, Amy Kwei

A Concubine for the Family: A Family Saga in China (Paperback)

Amy Kwei gives readers a heavy dosage of Chinese culture during the lead up to WWII, in 1937. Her portrayal of the central character, Purple Jade, is very intriguing and crafty. Purple Jade is a mix of old and new Chinese traditions. Her heroism is impeccable. As a young girl, Purple Jade's feet were bound in order to transform them into" golden lilies" as the ancient traditions prescribed. But the old tradition is no longer practiced in China, so her maid is given the task of straightening her shriveled toes, bring her intense Pain. Purple Jade is a very smart woman who is adored by her household staff. Despite being smart and cable of running a business, boys are always given the more favorable positions than girls.

The author surrounds the character of Purple Jade with a very loyal and trusted mistress. With her brother,Glorious Dragon she encounter Little Six, a young girl working in a opium den. Purple Jade takes on the task of giving Little Six a place to live as one of her hired help. I found myself fascinated with Amy Kwei's story telling. She really did her homework before writing this engaging novel, and her detailed narrative style bringing out the mixed elements of good and evil in all her characters. This book is truly a worthwhile read and comes highly recommend by me.