The Dance of the Spirits

The Dance of the Spirits

by Catherine Aerie


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780989690928
Publisher: Aurora
Publication date: 09/22/2013
Pages: 338
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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The Dance of the Spirits 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Cecile-Sune-Book-Obsessed More than 1 year ago
Jasmine Young is raised by a wealthy family in an estate in Shanghai called the Garden of Melody where servants take care of the household. One of them, a boy named Tin-Bo, is an orphan, and Jasmine’s family welcomes him and gives him an education. When Jasmine’s mother dies and her father throws her on the street, she is forced to fend for herself and starts working as a nurse assistant while still attending school during the day. Meanwhile, Tin-Bo is on the run, as he is accused of plotting to murder a government official. Then Mao Zedong comes into power in 1949, and Jasmine has no choice but to enroll as a doctor with the Red Cross in the Korean War. During the conflict, her path crosses Tin-Bo’s again, now a high-ranking officer in the Chinese army, and she meets Wesley Palm, an American soldier who will have a key role in her life. The Dance of the Spirits is Catherine Aerie’s debut novel. The book is beautifully written and includes strong, relatable characters. The subject matter was really interesting to me, as I didn’t know very much about the Korean War. In fact, it seems that few books have been written on the subject, as the conflict is usually overshadowed by the Vietnam War. I also learned a lot about life in communist China. However, I found that there were too many unrealistic chance encounters between Jasmine and Tin-Bo, and Jasmine and Wesley. While Korea is a relatively small country, I doubt that 3 people in different armies or battalions would meet so often. In addition, the ending, while unexpected, was a bit abrupt. On the whole though, I really recommend this book if for no other reason than to learn more about the Korean War. The Dance of the Spirits was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review. Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.
beckvalleybooks More than 1 year ago
Set in a time of war the story follows two people from the different ends of the political spectrum. To try and find her way in life a young Chinese woman goes off as a medical surgeon to serve in the Korean War where she sees and absorbs the real truth and results of warfare.  On the other side is American Wes Palm and their paths collide with an amazing outcome.  The true beauty of this novel is the insight of how tough and different it was for a Chinese woman to grow up and follow her own way whilst been dominated by a strict government regime.  Also when people speak of war it's mainly always about the battles and the fallen but we tend to forget about the casualties and the people who tended to them without the appropriate medicine or equipment, the authors writing brings this horrible part of war to life with true reality.  You feel that you are in the background of every scene.  The narrative is told from two sides but in truth they both want the same outcome the killing to stop and peace to reign. As these two people lives become entwined we are reminded that they are the innocents and the real guilty parties are the powers to be who are fighting for they own greed.  This is a very emotive book which will touch every single feeling you can have and will make you think differently about war and the after effects of it.  The first book I have read by this author but I am definitely looking forward to future publications.
booknerdDS More than 1 year ago
This book was such an interesting read. I've not read many books about the Korean war it was refreshing to read it from Catherine Aerie's vivid descriptions. Chinese surgeon Jasmine Young was such a fantastic female character. Her courage, strength and determination were very humbling and refreshing to read about. She reminded me of Disney's Mulan, joining the army to honor her family despite them disowning her. Army Lieutenant Wesley Palm was finds himself captured during this war and meets Jamine. In the mist of this horrible war Aerie manages to include a beautiful love story between Wesley and Jasmine. Besides the interesting historical information the love story between Wesley and Jasmine added a very emotional and human aspect to the travesties of war. This was a beautiful story with many lessons about love, forgiveness and life. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it. The main characters were very likeable and the plot was well paced and the emotional elements of the story only added to an already beautiful story.
Richard_Bunning More than 1 year ago
This wonderful book has already been heavily reviewed and highly praised. How can I usefully add to the many affirmations of brilliance? I will start by mentioning the only deficiency, which may be confined to the mobi version I read. A few of the changes of scene were abrupt enough to stagger the flow of my reading. I would have liked a few more new chapters to emphasise scene changes, or even a few dinkus between the paragraphs. I didn't find the extra line breaks sufficient on my reading device as they often aren't noticed between variably formed 'screen pages'. I fully acknowledge that this is pernickety¿ but the book is so well constructed in most other respects that this easily included little change would be worthwhile. If stronger breaks have been left out to account for differences in line length (dependent as it is on font size), then a compromise might be to position a 'dinkus' on a double or treble width indentation to that of the paragraph opening. This looks stylish enough. This book has all the story elements of classical tragedy and is as powerful as any powerful classic I have ever read. What is more, this fiction reads as truth. We know from the history record of the Korean War that every detail written in this story did happen, though not in the exact way they have been put together by Aerie. Books like this play a vital part in keeping modern history alive. It is clear that a good deal of basic research was matched to the very good fiction writing. Through books like this, historical fiction really shows its worth. The terribleness of the war story is well balanced by the in depth construction and deconstruction of the emotional lives of several individual players. We come to understand a great deal about just exactly who many of the characters really are, and not just what they individually do. We know what poisoned the mind of Tin-Bo, what kept Jasmine going, why Wesley risked so much, and what made countless lesser characters tick. We see how war turns rationality upside down, how pain twists emotions, how xenophobia, dogma, politics and culture all have many obvious and less obvious facets and many hidden consequences. This book is written very much from the angle of those in the 'East' in the nineteen forties and fifties, rather than from the often has been recorded 'Western' perspective. Such fiction goes a long way towards helping us understand how the culture we are born into colours our judgements. The greatest of experience of one's own side of a conflict is hollow unless we can experience that of our enemy. Even if our other experience is only ever gained through powerful writing it can provide enough empathy to create some depth to understanding. We don't have to have lived in Shanghai in 1950 to feel what it was like to do so; we can feel by reading Aerie. She writes that well. I am so looking forward to Aerie's next work, which I hope will be every bit as emotionally powerful as this one.
TopBookReviewers More than 1 year ago
"This novel shocked me. The Dance of the Spirits by Catherine Aerie is a love story about a young woman doctor from Shanghai named Jasmine at the beginning of the Korean War. What is shocking is her story about the pursuit of love through some of the most hellish moments that any human could endure. The story takes place as Jasmine, a new Chinese doctor, volunteers to join the communist army to fight against the Americans in 1949. Because she can speak English, she is sent to a POW camp to be their doctor. Her compassion for POW’s gets her into deep trouble and she is sent to the front line to “re-educate herself”. This where Jasmine learns about human misery and the tenacity to overcome any despair. Love spans years with Jasmine falling for a servant boy, Tin-Bo, who grows up to be a military officer in the new communist army. Jasmine finds herself longing for him as she meets him again while in the army. Fate brings Jasmine and an American soldier named Wesley together when he finds and saves her after being left for dead in a field. Recuperating, fate continues as she and Wesley keep running into each other. Now Jasmine is confused about love. What direction will she take? Who will she choose? Catherine, the author, takes the reader down a dark path with very descriptive narrative of the Korean War and how communist China acted on the battlefield and at home. When the rest of the world was sighing with relief from the end of WWII, Korea was seeing some of the most horrific conditions known to man. She makes the reader understand that whatever the adversity, hope can somehow be found." TBR-TopBookReviewers
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
In the midst of a brutal and devastating war, a small sliver of light emerges with the love of two strangers on opposite sides. The Dance of the Spirits by Catherine Aerie tells the story of two people caught in the middle of the Korean War and against all odds seem to keep finding each other. Jasmine Young volunteers to go into the war as a doctor thinking that this will be a way to bring her family honor. After barely graduating from medical school she is thrust into the battle and quickly realizes that she will have many soldiers’ lives depending on her alone to survive. With unrelenting determination she gives each patient she sees her utmost attention and does everything she can with the limited resources that are available to her. As the war continues, she is transported from one place to another until she finds herself at the front lines trying to survive bombs and gunfire coming down around her. In an attempt to find cover she is knocked unconscious and is found by Wesley Palm, who takes her to a hospital not believing that he will ever see her again. On the other side of the line Wesley is a Lieutenant in the American army who has a knack for staying alive and creating a strong connection with his men. During one trek across the snow covered battle field Wesley, along with his companion, stumble along a body that looks feminine, which is not seen often. Curiosity gets the best of Wesley and he discovers that this girl is also alive and in need of immediate medical attention. After grumbling a little about the time it will take to save her, he picks her up and gets her to a hospital where she makes a great recovery. Later in a twist of fate Jasmine and Wesley find themselves hiding out in a cave praying that they are not found by the Chinese army. Thankfully, they escape this predicament and are placed in the same camp where an attraction is felt by the both of them. However, the love is short-lived as they are only able to spend one night together before Jasmine is sent off to a prisoner of war camp. Both of their hearts are filled with defeat as they wonder if they will ever get to see each other again. From the very first page I could feel that this would be an enduring love story and I was hoping that through the reading I would be able to find out more about each character. I was not disappointed in regards to Jasmine as the author went into great detail about her upbringing, her parents, siblings, and all the circumstances that brought her to volunteer in this war. Learning all of that was great and I hoped for something similar for Wesley, although I was a little disappointed as there was not too much background information about him. As I was reading I kept thinking that any minute I was going to go into a chapter that would tell about his upbringing, family, and what brought him to the war but it never came. On the other hand their love story was quite enduring and as soon as they met I could not stop reading and was intrigued with their devotion to one another. The fact that Jasmine and Wesley were technically on different sides did not matter because their love was a love no one could take from them and amongst all of the harshness of war they found something beautiful. Quill says: This is a heart-wrenching, page-turning love story that shows even in the brutality of war something enlightening can be found.
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite The Dance of the Spirits by Catherine Aerie is a story set during the Korean War. A young American army lieutenant, Wesley Palm, meets a Chinese doctor, Jasmine Young. During their encounters they start liking each other. They fall in love and the story is about their fates and how they are interlinked despite the brutalities and sufferings caused by the war.  The author has captured the horrors of war and the destruction and wounds that war leaves both outside and inside. The two characters, Wesley and Jasmine, fall in love in the midst of destruction, not knowing what their future would be. The book has some intense moments. Love stories with a wartime backdrop always fascinated me and this book did just that. The story has twists and turns which make it more interesting. The supporting characters are also portrayed well and they add to the impact of the theme and the plot. The interspersing of the romantic moments with the strife of the war lends a sort of softness and gentleness to the story. The author has also created some beautiful visuals with her style of description. I would recommend this book to any reader because it is a poignant love story with a human touch.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite When a familiar face was placed in front of her to practice her surgical skill, Jasmine realizes that there are forces stirring that are beyond her understanding in The Dance of the Spirits by Catherine Aerie. Jasmine Young is a Chinese surgeon behind the lines of the Chinese army on their march through Korea. The sight of Tin-Bo reminded her of another war and another time in her life. She begins to try to make sense of the brutality and hypocrisy that had thrust itself into her life so rudely and so often. Pressured by the political officer to correct her “thinking problem,” she continues to try to make sense of it all, but encounters another alteration to destiny and training as her fate collides with that of a young US Army lieutenant, Wesley Palm. Though it is completely forbidden for them to be in love, their passion and their desire to be free cannot be taken away from them. Will the casualties of the war go beyond that of the lives of the soldiers and the nations attempting to gain a victory? Will Fate force the sharp blade of a bayonet into the love of Jasmine and Wesley? Will the dance of the spirits of their destinies twist and turn together or separate them forever? Catherine Aerie chronicles a forbidden love and the search of two young lovers from being diametrically opposed to being thrown together in love by the fortunes and misfortunes of war. The Dance of the Spirits is a deep and probing story which takes a deeper look into how lives are touched by war and how spirits find a way to move past those things which conventions use to divide them. Profound, real and intense, The Dance of the Spirits will keep readers engrossed in every twist and turn while the story unravels.