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Dragon Springs Road: A Novel

Dragon Springs Road: A Novel

5.0 2
by Janie Chang

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From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother.

That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful


From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother.

That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . .

In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate near Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in.

Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the haunted courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes.

Always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother, Jialing grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, guided by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past. But she 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.

Editorial Reviews

Shilpi Somaya Gowda
“Janie Chang has a keen eye for detail and infuses them throughout this magical story, with its masterfully rendered setting of the early Chinese republic, characters who bring to life the constrictions of those girls, and a mystical benevolent spirit. The result is enchanting.”
Huffington Post
“[B]eautifully told . . . fascinating . . . a great choice for a book club.”
“Chang unfurls this intriguing story—set against the chaotic backdrop of China in the early twentieth century-with precision. Rich with detail and a fascinating interplay between the spiritual and earthly realms, Chang’s second novel explores whether it is possible to overcome your past.”
RT Book Reviews
“Lyrical and magical . . . Chang’s lovingly crafted novel will resonate with readers long after the story is done.”
Jennifer Robson
Dragon Springs Road is simply one of the best novels I have read in a long time. With her lyrical, heartfelt portrait of a vanished world . . . Janie Chang has created an enchanting and unforgettable book. I recommend it unreservedly.”
Quill & Quire (starred review)
“Janie Chang’s second novel is a remarkable read, brimming with magic and the grit of realism. . . . With this novel, Chang asserts herself as an exciting, relatable voice . . . that requires us to re-examine our relationships to place, identity, and ancestry.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Born in Taiwan, Janie Chang spent part of her childhood in the Philippines, Iran, and Thailand. She has a degree in computer science and is a graduate of the Writer’s Studio program at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Three Souls.

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Dragon Springs Road: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
JustCommonly 22 days ago
I'm always skeptical when it comes to reading fiction set in old-world China, published and written in the English versus in the Chinese language first. Why? That's because I can read and write Chinese, and that I am Chinese. I know that doesn't sound like enough of a reason, but it has something to do with past experiences with works of fiction that just didn't fit the stories, the folktales and the culture that I grew up hearing and reading about. However, with Janie Chang's Dragon Springs Road, the cover was just too gorgeous and enticing to let the opportunity pass. And I was not disappointed at all. Dragon Springs Road alluded to a certain mystique. It combined the folklore of the Fox spirit with hierarchical social status in China, wrapped with the cultural authenticity of a tumultuous time. From personal research and reading about China during the early 1900s, times were tough for many people. And for those like Jialing, our main protagonist, biracial and orphaned, there were so many obstacles to overcome. Yet, her journey is the very essence of this story. It latches onto you from the first page to the last. The author, Janie Chang is exquisite in her storytelling. I can't praise enough when an author not only gives me characters with depth but also a plot so seductive in its execution, mystery and suspense. Not to mention the authentic quality of its representation of the Chinese culture, without the many stereotypes and prejudices I've encountered in the past (of other works of fiction). Dragon Springs Road is rich with history, beautifully written, dramatically compelling and visually stunning. For my clean readers, please note there are some intimacy in this book. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
Jasmyn9 4 months ago
I quickly fell in love with Dragon Springs Road. The character of Jialing is adorable at the beginning, and watching her grow into a strong woman willing to push the boundaries of what society allows her do was incredible. As a Eurasian, Jialing doesn't fit within any society and both look down on her as something less.At first she accepts this role in her life, but after making friends with the daughter of the Chinese family she lives with and attending a mission school, her views begin to change. She doesn't understand why she is worth less than Chinese or European women, why she can't do anything they do. Pushing her, and helping her behind the scenes is Fox, an ancient Chinese animal spirit that befriends her after her mother abandons her. Fox nudges the people in her life in directions to help Jialing along the road she needs to follow. Fox was a very interesting character. At first she seemed very frivolous and selfish, but as I got to know her better I discovered how selfless and giving she was. In the end, I think she was one of my favorite characters of all. Jialing has to navigate a very difficult Chinese world. There is murder, coups, wars, and so much political drama. And each one threatens in some way to tear apart the little world she's made for herself. Dragon Springs Road was a fascinating tale, and I think I'll have to explore more from Janie Chang soon. **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book**