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"Willow of China" would have been more appropriate
Just used Pearl to make a buck
This piece of historical fiction supposedly "brings new color to the remarkable life of Pearl S. Buck, illuminated by the sweep of history and an intimate, unforgettable friendship". But that was NOT the case. There was a sweep of history that was revealed through Pearl's "friend" Willow but the friendship was a mere contrivance to provide this sweep of history.
There was little in-depth revelation of Pearl S Buck; she was a mere character to frame Willow's story against. The author obviously has an insight into the history of Mao's China but I was looking for Pearl to come to life, and for me this didn't happen.
The history itself was choppy with some parts, for example the Boxer Rebellion or the Japanese invasion, given little depth while the evils of Mao and Communist China consumed so much of the storyline. There were a few moments of WTF with characters that refused to die ... the author subjected them to labour camps, deprivation, torture, poverty and extreme old age and they just lived on, and on.