The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan REVIEW 


I would like to say thank you to Harper Collins Canada Ltd. for this brilliant book!


From the lavish parlours of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village—a sweeping, evocative epic of two women’s intertwined fates and their search for identity

Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai, a beautiful and intelligent woman who has honed her ability to become any man’s fantasy since her start as a “Virgin Courtesan” at the age of twelve. Half-Chinese and half-American, she moves effortlessly between the east and the west. But her talents belie her private struggle to understand who she really is and her search for a home in the world. Abandoned by her mother, Lucia, and uncertain of her father’s identity, Violet’s quest to truly love and be loved will set her on a path fraught with danger and complexity—and the loss of her own daughter. Lucia, a willful and wild American woman who was once herself the proprietress of Shanghai’s most exclusive courtesan house, nurses her own secret wounds, which she first sustained when, as a teenager, she fell in love with a Chinese painter and followed him from San Francisco to Shanghai. Her search for penance and redemption will bring her to a startling reunion with Flora, Violet’s daughter, and will undo all that Violet believed she knew about her mother.

Spanning fifty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement sweeps the reader along a deeply moving narrative of family secrets, the legacies of traumas, and the profound connections between mothers and daughters, returning readers to the compelling territory Tan so expertly mapped in The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic wisdom,grace and humour, Tan conjures up a story of the inheritance of love, its mysteries and senses, its illusions and truths. -HARPER COLLINS CANADA


This is the biggest book I ever read in the shortest amount of time. I don’t know where to start to express my thoughts about this amazing novel. First I will say this is a book for adults only. From the beginning the author Amy Tan made me travel back in time to the 1900s Shanghai, China and glimpse into a world affected by the revolution, a cultural movement of East meets West and the life of courtesan houses.

 The details are beautifully expressed and we see how these changes effect the lives of the characters in the novel. I got to follow the life of a half-Chinese half-American seven year old girl by the name of Violet. Growing up without a father and as a mixed child she often questions her identity and her mother’s love towards her. She craves for her mothers attention and love. There are lies that are told and truth that is hidden and love that is torn apart.I really appreciate that we read Violets perspective in the novel but later in the novel you also get to read her mothers story as well. The mothers story is so emotional and expressive. As she is separated from her mother, Violet is forced into a life of a courtesan and quickly learns many things about life. She learns about struggle, love, and fate. Her life is not an easy one but a difficult and challenging one. She is faced with love and later In the novel abuse. Her journey is a long one but what stands out most about Violet is her courage, strength and determination. What keeps her going is the memories of those she loved and continues to love.

The novel moved me in many ways. I cried, laughed and couldn’t stop reading. There are questions of fate and hope. Lies that were once told are revealed. There is grief and Loyalty. There are bonds that are broken and brought together. There is love that is torn and love that blossoms. There are cultural struggles and identity crisis. This novel encompasses this and much more.

I give this book a 5/5