Readers' Favorite

May 25, 2019

The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

May 2019; William Morrow; 978-0062938657
audio, ebook, print (480 pages); historical fiction
Vienna, 1938, the night of Kristallnacht (called the "Night of Broken Glass," for the shattered glass from the store windows that littered the streets)

As 12-year-old Romy, her parents and 2 brothers try to return safely home, the two brothers are grabbed by the soldiers - one is shot and the other sent to Dachau. When this happens, the father realizes that they need to get out of Vienna, that it doesn't matter that he is a well-known doctor, that it only matters that he is also Jewish. No country is issuing visas for people trying to get out of Austria and when he finds out that Shanghai is taking refugees without visas, he decides that they need to leave immediately. I wasn't aware that Shanghai opened it's doors to over 20,000 refugees fleeing Europe when no other country would. When the small family arrives in Shanghai, it is to a country totally different than what they are used to. For the first time, they feel free and unjudged by their religion. However, it doesn't take long before the Japanese troops make life difficult for the people of Shanghai and the family is again faced with fear and shortages brought on by war.

Present Day - Melbourne Australia. Alexandra returns from London to be with her beloved grandfather as he is dying. Her grandmother, Romy, and her grandfather have made a good life for themselves in Australia and don't talk about their time in Shanghai. Alexandra knows that they are hiding secrets about their adopted daughter (her mother) and when her job moves her to Shanghai, she is determined to find out what really happened to her grandparents during the war years.

The timelines in this novel are well done as they weave from the past to the present to give the reader a fantastic story as the truths are slowly revealed. The part of the story that takes place during the 1940s, presents many historical items that were new to me. I love reading historical fiction and learning new things that I never learned in school.

This novel is about love and family and the importance of friendship. No matter how badly people treat other people, love will ultimately win!

NOTE: This book was read by experts for historical accuracy of Shanghai in the 1940s and other experts verified the foods and traditional Chinese medicine.

Buy The Song of the Jade Lily at Amazon

About the Author:

Kirsty Manning grew up in northern New South Wales, Australia. She has degrees in literature and communications and worked as an editor and publishing manager in book publishing for over a decade. A country girl with wanderlust, her travels and studies have taken her through most of Europe, the east, and west coasts of the United States as well as pockets of Asia. Kirsty’s journalism and photography specializing in lifestyle and travel regularly appear in magazines, newspapers, and online. She lives in Australia.

Find out more about Kirsty at her website, and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


  1. I don't know that this is a book up my alley, but I can see readers who really want to be taken away in a story would really enjoy this. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

    1. Sara, I didn't think it was my kind of book either but I really enjoyed it. You might want to give it a try.