From the author of Three Souls (“heartbreaking and hopeful,” Booklist) comes a new novel set in early-twentieth-century Shanghai, where, as an ancient imperial dynasty collapses, a new government struggles to life and two girls—one a Eurasian orphan, the other a daughter of privilege—are bound together in a friendship that will be tested by duty, honour and love.
Abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate outside Shanghai, seven-year-old Jialing learns she is zazhong—Eurasian—and thus doomed to face a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. The Yang family, new owners of the estate, reluctantly take her in as a servant. As Jialing grows up, her only allies are Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the courtyard for more than 300 years. But when a young English girl appears and befriends the lonely orphan—and then mysteriously vanishes—Jialing’s life takes an unexpected turn and gives her hope of finding her long-lost mother.
Instead, Jialing finds herself drawn into a murder at the periphery of political intrigue, a relationship that jeopardizes her friendship with Anjuin and a forbidden affair that brings danger to the man she loves. Ultimately, she learns that for years Fox has been preparing her for a very different sort of fate . . . should she choose to accept it.