ISBN-13: 9780062345431
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 14 April 2015
Format: eBook, 320 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

From China to Hawaii, author Cecily Wong brings us an unforgettable tale of a Chinese family - the Leong’s, spanning from three generations set in the twentieth-century. 

The story opens with a young driver, Peter Choi, chauffeuring Amy Leong and her daughter, Theresa. Amy's husband, Bohai, is deceased and she's the surviving member of the family. As Peter chauffeurs the two women where his funeral is held, Theresa gives us more than a glimpse of her thoughts about her father as well as the history surrounding their family. 

Maku, as she fondly called her father (that's 'father' in Hawaiian: makuakane), was born not by his father's wife but a concubine, a girl who's barely sixteen. As in Chinese traditions and beliefs, Theresa's grandfather (or as in most Chinese families) believes that it is important to bear a son to carry on the family's name (in fact that belief still continues today, especially with the older generation). Theresa's grandmother couldn't bear any children, let alone sons so it seems appropriate to take in a concubine. As Theresa reminiscences based on what her mother had told her, it seems there's more to the family history. Memories and tales of her grandparents' days; and how the war had separated her grandfather and his brother, Shen. 

What ties this family story to fables is an ancient tale of Yue Xia Lao (ζœˆδΈ‹θ€), a lunar god who's known to be responsible for the fate and marriages between couples and how an invisible red string of fate binds a person to his or her partner. Likewise, how one would be punished for making mistakes in love and that a knotted string will follow them through generations. 

Narrated in different voices among the female Leongs members, Diamond Head is a poignant story about family, tragic love, loss and heroic acts of patriotism mingled with Chinese cultures, traditions and fables. Each narrator has an instinctive voice and it is hard not to be swept away by their stories or not have your emotions evoked under the skilful handwriting of the author. Through their voices, we have a further understanding of their thoughts and actions, their differences under different generations. Still, they share the same vulnerability being a woman, in terms of love, emotions and the circumstances they are thrown into. At most times, the choices they made are beyond their control. Is this what fate is when we feel things are out of our control? Perhaps. 

Diamond Head is a story not to be missed, if you enjoy reading about family saga and Chinese culture. 
12 Responses
  1. Kay Says:

    This books sounds interesting and I'll keep it in mind. I like the use of the red ribbon on the cover.

  2. jenclair Says:

    I love reading about different cultures, especially those that have a connection to myths. Great review, Melody!

  3. Melody Says:

    Kay - I like the cover. It definitely says a lot about this story; 'tied' with the fables and all.

  4. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Me too, Jenclair! It's great getting to know different cultures without travelling, isn't it? ;)'

  5. Iliana Says:

    Isn't that a pretty cover! I enjoy a good family saga so this one is definitely one for my TBR list. Hope you are having a great weekend, Melody!

  6. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I hope you'll enjoy it if you do read it, Iliana. Hope you've a great weekend too! :)

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Beautiful cover and sounds like a lovely multi-generational family saga. I like to read those and find out more about other cultures as is featured here.

    I actually hiked up part of Diamond Head, when on my honeymoon and in better shape--lol! It was a touristy thing to see and do, but fun.

  8. The Bookworm Says:

    This does sound good and I enjoy reading about Chinese culture. Great review!

  9. Melody Says:

    Rita - I love reading books Bout other cultures. Not only for the story but for the 'eye-opening' reading experience.

    Oh, I'd love to visit Hawaii! Hopefully one day...

  10. Melody Says:

    Naida - Thanks, Naida! I hope you'll enjoy it when you get to read it. :)

  11. Great review, Melody! I am glad you enjoyed this book too. I thought maybe the red string story was based in actual belief, but it wasn't until I looked it up that I knew for sure.

    I can't help but think of Theresa now and wonder what she ended up doing. I know which direction I hope she went. :-)

  12. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Thanks, Wendy! I heard of that red string story many times, and overall I think it's fascinating no matter if it's true or not.

    I do wonder about Theresa and think how her life might be if she has went on the other direction.

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