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The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

The Valley of Amazement

Literary Fiction   Books of the Month   Family Drama   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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November 2013 Book of the Month.

Spanning fifty years and two continents, 'The Valley of Amazement' dramatises the collapse of China's imperial dynasty and the secret life of the courtesan house. Unfolding old family secrets, this novel returns readers to the compelling territory of 'The Joy Luck Club'. With her characteristic wisdom, grace and humour, she conjures a story of the inheritance of love, its mysteries and betrayals, and its illusions and truths.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Valley of Amazement a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'The Valley of Amazement is mesmerizingly beautiful, unbelievably sad and yet somehow hopeful at the same time. An evocative and absorbing read.' - Sarah Harper

Scroll down to read more reviews.

If you like Amy Tan you might also like to read books by Anita Desai, David Guterson and Barbara Kingsolver.

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The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

A new novel from the internationally bestselling author of 'The Joy Luck Club'. In fin de siecle Shanghai, Violet Minturn grows up at Hidden Jade Path, the city's most exclusive courtesan house. But when revolution comes, she is separated from her mother and forced to become a virgin courtesan. Both Chinese and American, Violet moves between these cultural worlds, becoming a shrewd businesswoman who deals in seduction and illusion. But her successes belie her private turmoil. Violet's need for answers propels her on a quest of discovery: a journey to make sense of her life, to right the wrongs of the past - to find love requited.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review The Valley of Amazement. You can read their reviews below.

Claudia Stach - 'Through the eyes of Violet I travelled to a Shanghai long gone, laughed and suffered with her in a city and society prone to grave the end I was unwilling to leave Violet and her family and would have liked to stay with them for a little longer.' Click Here to read the full review.

Helen Sidebottom - 'This story has just about everything in it, love, lust, lies, deceit, loyalty, cruelty but amongst the sorrow always hope that people would meet a just fate and that lives would be reunited across the oceans.' Click Here to read the full review.

Judy Connolly -
'I was swept up in this story and didn't want it to end....A really good book.' Click Here to read the full review.

Sarah Musk -
'A powerful, thought-provoking book set mainly in early twentieth century China. The story of a mother and daughter both forced through difficult circumstances to become courtesans.' Click Here to read the full review.

Jillian McFrederick -
'In The Valley of Amazement, Amy Tan succeeds in painting for us not just a valley but a country of amazing detail and depth...An epic read but well worth the effort! Click Here to read the full review.

Victoria Halliday -
'An epic story of the life of an American mother and her Chinese daughter in the early 20th century...this is a book that you'll struggle to put down.' Click Here to read the full review.

Nicola Foster -
'Amy Tan’s new novel is a masterfully woven historical saga encompassing love, lies, secrets and betrayal.' Click Here to read the full review.

Mary Mitchell -
'As soon as this book opens Amy Tan plunges into the secret and mysterious world of the Shanghai courtesans.' Click Here to read the full review.

Sandra Robinson -
'There are moments of joy, sorrow, pain and love and the ending is so bittersweet. I loved this book, a great and fascinating read and would highly recommend it.' Click Here to read the full review.

Phylippa Smithson -
'Do not be put off by the 589 pages to this fantastic latest story from Amy Tam. This is a wholly absorbing read and one which all mothers and daughters will particularly enjoy.' Click Here to read the full review.

Sarah Harper -
'The Valley of Amazement is mesmerizingly beautiful, unbelievably sad and yet somehow hopeful at the same time. An evocative and absorbing read.' Click Here to read the full review.

Kath Thornton -
'This is a gripping epic story of female survival which covers three generations...It is well worth reading right to the bittersweet ending.' Click Here to read the full review.

Elisabeth Thomas -
'A perfect book for those who like an insight into a previously unknown world and who want an intelligent book which explores the importance of female friendship, loyalty, love and betrayal.' Click Here to read the full review.

Lynn Curtis -
'With its audacious time structure and highly detailed background, the book takes a refreshingly different approach to a subject that could have descended into melodrama in the hands of a less skillful author – I highly recommend it.' Click Here to read the full review.

Susan Walsh -
'East meets West in a tale of China's beauties and the life of Courtesans...‘The Valley of Amazement’ will touch your very soul, as you feel the emotion run deep.' Click Here to read the full review.

Barbara Gaskell -
'Tan’s beautiful descriptive language brings historic Shanghai and the humanness of Violet and her mother, Lucia fully to life...Highly recommended.' Click Here to read the full review.

Sue Broom - 'This is a very funny book - hilarious dialogue and jaunty narration. A celebration of female friendship and mother love.' Click Here to read the full review.

Joy Bosworth - 'I found the graphic details quite astonishing. The descriptions make the reader feel as if they are actually present.' Click Here to read the full review.

Praise for Amy Tan: 'Among our great storytellers. In each of her previous novels, she has seduced readers with the intimate magic of her tale
New York Times

'Tan is a prodigal with her talent. She weaves a dazzling web of unfamiliar colours, smells, tastes and landscapes'
Sunday Telegraph

'There is something dizzyingly elemental about Tan's storytelling; it melds the rich simplicities of fairytales with a delicate lyrical style'
Sunday Times

'Could there be a better model for writers today than Amy Tan? She tells great stories with powerful themes: love, belonging, exile, death, compassion. She moves easily between pathos, comedy and joy'
Scotland on Sunday

About the Author

Amy Tan

Born in the US to immigrant Chinese parents, Amy Tan is an internationally celebrated writer. Her novels are The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The
Bonesetter's Daughter, and Saving Fish from Drowning, all New York Times bestsellers. She is also the author of a memoir, The Opposite of Fate, and two children's books. Her work has been translated into 35 languages.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th November 2013


Amy Tan

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


608 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Family Drama
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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