All the Flowers in Shanghai Author:Duncan Jepson In 1930s Shanghai, following the path of duty takes precedence over personal desires for every young Chinese woman. For Feng, that means becoming the bride of a wealthy businessman in a marriage arranged by her parents. In the enclosed world of the Sang household -- a place of public ceremony and private cruelty -- she learns that fulfilling her... more » duty means bearing a male heir. Ruthless and embittered by a life that has been forced on her, Feng plots a terrible revenge. But as the years pass, she must come to a reckoning with the sacrifices and the terrible choices she has made to assure her place in family and society, before the entire country is engulfed in the fast-flowing tide of revolution.« less
Duncan Jepson shows promise as a writer in this debut novel; unfortunately, most of the material in this book has been done too often to make All The Flowers in Shanghai memorable. It is the story of Feng, who steps in as the reluctant bride in an arranged marriage when her older sister dies. Feng spends a lot of time pining for a young man she knew briefly before her marriage and life within a wealthy home dominated by her father-in-law. There are glimpses of Chinese history that make the story line more interesting, but ultimately the characters are stereotypical and without much substance.