Saturday, 4 April 2015

Review: Diamond Head by Cecily Wong

A sweeping debut spanning China to Hawaii that follows four generations of a wealthy shipping family whose rise and decline is riddled with secrets and tragic love—from a young, powerful new voice in fiction

“Diamond Head takes the family saga to a new and very high place. . . . Readers will follow the fortunes of this family breathlessly, hungry for more.” —Mary Gordon, author of Circling My Mother

At the turn of the nineteenth-century, Frank Leong, a fabulously wealthy shipping industrialist, moves his family from China to the island of Oahu. But something ancient follows the Leongs to Hawaii, haunting them. The parable of the red string of fate, the cord which binds one intended beloved to her perfect match, also punishes for mistakes in love, passing a destructive knot down the family line.

When Frank is murdered, his family is thrown into a perilous downward spiral. Left to rebuild in their patriarch’s shadow, the surviving members of the Leong family try their hand at a new, ordinary life, vowing to bury their gilded past. Still, the island continues to whisper—fragmented pieces of truth and chatter, until a letter arrives two decades later, carrying a confession that shatters the family even further.

Now the Leong’s survival rests with young Theresa, Frank Leong’s only grandchild, eighteen and pregnant, the heir apparent to her ancestors’ punishing knots.

Told through the eyes of the Leong’s secret-keeping daughters and wives and spanning The Boxer Rebellion to Pearl Harbor to 1960s Hawaii, Diamond Head is a breathtakingly powerful tale of tragic love, shocking lies, poignant compromise, aching loss, heroic acts of sacrifice and, miraculous hope.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: April 14th 2015 by Harper
Terri's Thoughts
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Harper via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is April 14th 2015.

This was a really interesting story for me although I have to admit that it took me a while to get in to it.  With the multi-generational stories and the alternating between time and stories I at first had a hard time keeping track of all of the characters.  Once I straightened it all out the story began to hit it's groove.

I was really conflicted about how I felt about this story.  It was about fate and destiny and the ties that bond people together.  On the one hand it was fascinating with the several stories that intertwined but on the other there were some characters I just couldn't warm up to.  To be truthful it was only one character and that was Amy.

Lets talk about Amy.  In my mind she was completely selfish and lived in a world of self pity when things did not turn out the way she wanted.  This can happen when all of your decisions revolve around money.  I simply could not feel sorry for her or understand her point of view.  I understand that there was a moment of redemption for her in the story but it simply was not enough for me.  I found her cold and unfeeling and it made it difficult to go on her journey with her.

Aside from her I found myself enjoying all of the other characters.  I liked how their stories slowly unfolded as told through the various woman.  I also enjoyed the historical backdrop in which the story took place.

Overall this was an enjoyable read and I am glad that I had the opportunity to preview it.

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