“Little King was not just a dog. He was part of Jasmine’s childhood; he was a little brother, a dear faithful friend, and an indiscriminate companion to all the humans in the Garden Of Melody, whether they were noble or humble, whether they were rich or poor.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Catherine Aerie! ***
When I was first contacted about The Dance Of The Spirits and read the description, I immediately knew I would enjoy this book. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I love reading about foreign cultures and war stories. This novel by Catherine Aerie about forbidden love set during the Korean war in the 1950s is right up my alley. I have to admit I didn’t remember much of the details about the Korean war, but it wasn’t a problem when reading The Dance Of The Spirits. Catherine Aerie was able to both refresh my memory on the facts of the Korean war and at the same time tell the rather tragic love story involving an American soldier and a Chinese surgeon. There is a perfect balance between the historical facts and the fiction, and the prose itself is beautifully written. All in all a perfect read and highly enjoyable!
The Chinese Jasmine Young grew up in a wealthy family, but as her mother dies she is forced to leave her house and family. She was studying medicine at the time, and struggles to pay her debts. But soon she has other things to worry about, as the Korean war starts to affect the daily life as she knows it. Mao and his communism are spreading, and soon she is shipped off to war in order to save the honor of her family… Jasmine was told she wouldn’t be in direct danger and would be working as a surgeon to pay her depts to her country. Unfortunately she has problems adapting to the communist way of thinking and she soon offends the people in charge at the camp. She is then send off to a far more dangerous site with the excuse they need an English speaking doctor… And then her life changes forever.
US Lieutenant Wesley Palm is sent to the Korean war to free the country of communism, but he is more worried about getting his buddies and himself out of this mess alive. He fights bravely and suffers some great losses. One day fate decides Jasmine and Wesley have to meet… And even though Jasmine is the enemy, he cannot kill this ‘innocent’ Chinese woman. He lets her go, but against all odds they meet again… After surviving horrible battles, freezing winters and the brutality of war in general. Even though their love is forbidden, they find a way to be together… Only to be taken apart again. But the love never died, and something else is growing inside Jasmine. Will they survive the war? Will they ever meet again?
Catherine Aerie really managed to dazzle me with her story about the forbidden love between an American soldier and a Chinese surgeon. Its historical facts about the Korean War mixed with fiction form a perfect balance and the prose is beautiful. So many great quotes! I simply loved reading The Dance Of The Spirits, and if you enjoy reading historical fiction, I’m sure you would as well. Definitely recommended!