It’s 1936 and Chinese-Hawaiian detective Edison Hark is enduring his tenth day at Angel Island, awaiting his release. He’s traveling to San Francisco to help the police there figure out the disappearance of a maid named Ivy Chen and it takes more than a week for the Angel Island jailors to figure out Hark’s importance.
Meddy Chan works for her family’s event company, which specializes in wedding services like hair styling, make-up, cakes, flowers, musical entertainment, and photography. For the upcoming Tom Cruise Sutopo / Jacqueline Wijaya wedding, Meddy also provides a dead body. Jesse Q Sutanto’s entertaining new novel, Dial A For Aunties, brings to mind the movies Weekend at Bernie’s and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but with Chinese-Indonesian characters on a private island off the coast of Los Angeles.
In 1929, a young woman sailed from Manila to New York to reunite with an older man who begged her to join him in the United States. Twenty years old at the most—her actual birth year was never clear—she was born from a Filipina mother and a former American soldier previously stationed in the Philippines. The man for whom she was about to stay cooped up in a Washington, DC hotel room for several years was none other than General Douglas MacArthur, three decades her senior and soon to be the Chief of Staff of the US Army.
When Shek Yang was a little girl at the end of the 1700s along what came to be known as the “China Coast”, she lost her mother and newborn brother within hours. To make up for the loss of his son, her father trained Shek Yang in sailing, fishing and other seafaring skills. But he couldn’t prepare her for what was to come. His gambling debts accumulated and after selling his boat, he sold Shek Yang to a floating brothel, euphemistically called a flower boat. And so begins Larry Feign’s new book—and his first historical novel—The Flower Boat Girl, which tells of the real-life Shek Yang’s rise to become one of the fiercest pirates in the South China Sea in the early 19th century.
Hilary Byrd is a depressed and disgruntled English librarian from Petts Wood in southeast London. Frustrated with the changes in his library over the past twenty years—digitalization and moms’ groups that take the focus away from print books and exacerbate his depression—he plans a trip overseas to clear his mind and to show himself and his sister, Wyn, who has become his de facto caregiver, that he can forge out on his own. India is relatively inexpensive, so Hilary chooses it on the basis of affordability. India also exudes a certain romanticism for travelers of a nostalgic disposition.
William Gross (or Grose) was a 19th-century African-American pioneer and hotelier in Seattle that caught the attention of author Amy Sommers. She bases her novel Rumors from Shanghai on a fictional grandson, Tolt Gross, a young lawyer who moves to Shanghai and soon after learns of Japan’s plans to bomb Pearl Harbor.
Crystal Z Lee’s debut novel, Love and Other Moods, begins—as one does—with a lavish wedding à la Crazy Rich Asians. Chinese-American Joss Kong is marrying ultra-wealthy Tay Kai Tang at a swanky Shanghai hotel with an audience of friends and family that speak a variety of Chinese dialects and English with a variety of accents. There’s a Who’s Who of designer and luxury goods on everyone in the wedding party and on every guest.