Friday, July 15, 2016

The Ginger Tree

The Ginger Tree
Oswald Wynd

The Ginger Tree

Genre: Historical Fiction

Summary (from Goodreads): In 1903, a young Scotswoman named Mary Mackenzie sets sail for China to marry her betrothed, a military attaché in Peking. But soon after her arrival, Mary falls into an adulterous affair with a young Japanese nobleman, scandalizing the British community. Casting her out of the European community, her compatriots tear her away from her small daughter. A woman abandoned and alone, Mary learns to survive over forty tumultuous years in Asia, including two world wars and the cataclysmic Tokyo earthquake of 1923.

Review: While it was interesting to read about an English woman living on her own in China and Japan in the early 1900s, I was frustrated by the pacing of this book.  All the details of Mary's life would be captured in letters to her mother and journal entries for a period of a year, and then suddenly five years would pass before the next glimpse into her life.  I would have appreciated more continuity in the story.  I also found her lack of emotion towards her husband and children unrealistic.  However, the descriptions were beautiful and evoked a strong sense of place, and the author painted a vivid picture of how hard life could be for women during that time period.

Rating: 3 stars

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