10 February 2017

Rich in History, Culture & Coming-of-Age | Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang


From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother.

That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return...

In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate near Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in.

Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the haunted courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes.

Always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother, Jialing grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, guided by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past. But she finds herself drawn into a murder at the periphery of political intrigue, a relationship that jeopardizes her friendship with Anjuin and a forbidden affair that brings danger to the man she loves.

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Janie Chang’s Dragon Springs Road is nothing short of a marvelous read. Transporting readers into a story as beautiful as its cover, Chang delivers a blend of rich historical context, culturally significant folklore, and a poignant coming-of-age narrative, and it’s perfect for readers of historical fiction to enjoy.

Abandoned by her mother at a young age, Jialing lives with plenty of questions and uncertainty and without a defined sense of purpose or belonging. She strives to become independent and self-reliant, yet faces seemingly insurmountable challenges due to the prejudice regarding her Eurasian heritage. And as she matures, Jialing feels authentic in her plight, amidst the tension and turmoil of her time, and proves her depth with intelligence, resourcefulness, and strength.

“If you believed only what the stories say, you’d think we do nothing but wreak mischief.”

Within Jialing’s experience, the spirit of the Fox adds an imaginative fantastical element. Sly yet selfless, the Fox is one of Jialing’s few friends after her mother’s departure. And when needed the most, she offers protection and guidance and points to truth, success, and hope.

A wholly engrossing historical novel, Dragon Springs Road is a definite recommendation. I loved it and know other readers will, too.


Thanks to TLC Book Tours, I received a complimentary copy of Dragon Springs Road and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.


Born in Taiwan, Janie Chang spent part of her childhood in the Philippines, Iran, and Thailand. She has a degree in computer science and is a graduate of the Writer’s Studio Program at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Three Souls.


Now, I have the pleasure of giving away a paperback copy of Janie Chang's Dragon Springs Road to one lucky winner. Be sure to enter for the chance to win before you go! (The giveaway ends on February 19th, and it's open to U.S. addresses only.) Good luck!


  1. That fantastical element in this book is intriguing to me - I love that kind of thing!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. Me too! It definitely adds something special to a plot. Thanks for stopping by, Heather!