Please join Catherine Aerie as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Dance of the Spirits from August 11-22, and enter to win your very own copy!
Genre: Historical Fiction
Spring 1951: it is the fiery zenith of the Korean War, a war that the youthful US Army lieutenant Wesley Palm and his men thought that they had won… until the Chinese swept across the Yalu River.
Traveling with the million-man army bent on driving back the march of “American imperialism” is Jasmine Young, a Chinese surgeon who has volunteered herself into the war for unspoken, grave reasons. Through a chronicle of merciless battles, freezing winters, and the brutality and hypocrisy of human nature, the two will find themselves weaving through the twists and turns of fate and destiny. Though their love is forbidden, their passion and pursuit of liberty cannot be quenched.
Praise for The Dance of the Spirits
“…On the surface, The Dance of the Spirits is a story of love and of war, but on a deeper level, it is a story of the misery that the communist ideology brought to millions of souls in the twentieth century. Whether that philosophy is related to nationalism, internationalism or faith, Catherine Aerie reminds readers that when a system that will entertain no contradiction in thought or deed comes to power, no one is safe — and no one is free. Aerie draws a vivid picture of war and its price, and a tender image of love…” – Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)
“…a love that is stronger than all the horrors that war can throw at them… compelling…poignant… sensitive and beautiful…” – San Francisco Book Reviews (4.5/ Stars)
“Adversaries in the Korean War find love in Aerie’s debut novel. The story starts in the middle of a firefight… Out of the rubble, two characters emerge: an American officer… and a Chinese military doctor… Their paths cross again and again… In the intimacy of the war, these coincidences don’t feel forced, nor even particularly fated–it’s just the way things went… Readers will likely find Palm a decent, very human person, but Young has more complexity and vibrancy… As the war rages around them, Palm and Young fall in love… but their romance is ill-starred and open to tragedy. Aerie keeps readers on their toes with the twists…fleeting but intense…
An often engaging tale of a flickering moment of love during a forgotten war.” – Kirkus Reviews
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About the Author
Catherine Aerie, a graduate from the University of California, Irvine with a master degree in finance, grew up in China as the daughter of a Shanghai architect. She was inspired to write The Dance of the Spirits while researching a family member’s role in the Korean War, deciding to revive an often neglected and overlooked setting in fiction and heighten the universality of resilient pursuit of love and liberty. Her debut novel was finished after about two years of research. She currently resides in southern California.
The Dance of the Spirits Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, August 12
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, August 13
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, August 14
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Monday, August 18
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes
Tuesday, August 19
Review at Book Babe
Thursday, August 21
Review & Interview Back Porchervations
Friday, August 22
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
To win a copy of The Dance of the Spirits please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 23rd and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
My Review of The Dance of the Spirits
As a writer of Asian fiction and Historical novels with a sweep-this one sounded close to my heart.
I’ve read some reviews which warned of heavy combat action and gruesome details of a little-known, not much discussed war. As war epics go, certainly this one-set against the sweep of the Korean War-stands out. Yes, it has combat scenes and all the vivid details one would expect in a novel set against the battlefield. But this is not an “Asian Band of Brothers”, and if that’s the take-away, it misses the mark.
One could make comparisons to Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago, with a bit of Joy Luck Club thrown in. As the main character, Jasmine Young holds up the whole book. The novel opens with a window on the hero and the heroine as we are thrown into their lives mid-combat. Then, we are whisked away to Jasmine’s past, her idyllic and pampered childhood in Shanghai on the eve of Revolution. Aerie pulls us closer, to see the inner workings of a family in torment, Jasmine’s loving, though recalcitrant father who refuses to stay faithful, and brings a series of children he fathered by concubines into the house. This has disastrous effects on Jasmine’s mother’s self-esteem and will spin the family into far greater disaster and poignancy. I really felt for the mother here. She was not easy to love, or like for that matter. She’s tough. She’s not soft but there is a tragic sense of pity I felt with each one of the father’s infidelities. Aerie makes me care about the mother, and without giving too much away, really feel for Jasmine’s plight as she tries to cope with dark changes within the family. This is my favorite part of the book.
When Jasmine goes off to war to save her family from further disgrace in the post-Communist takeover of South China, we start getting the Zhivago feel again. From the homes taken over and sectioned off, to the hopelessness and dazed way Jasmine’s father sleepwalks through his ruined world to the romance that blossoms mid-war between Jasmine and Wesley, an American officer at the Korean front. They grab hold of what they have, brief and shining, yet intensely real, perhaps felt all the more because of circumstances. Wesley offers Jasmine his whole soul, but “can make her no promises”. And while there is a passionate, brief and heart-breaking love story, overall, the book ultimately makes the case for the life of the inner self versus the greater good sacrifice of Communism. The joys of having dreams, hopes and fears kept alive when the rest of the crazy world outside-the war and the Communist rigmarole is telling you not to; to get rid of your thinking problem as Jasmine is reprimanded again and again. This only serves to steel her heart and her spirit, to grab what is hers and hold true in a difficult, shifting landscape.
We need more books like this. We need to get back to the meaning in fiction. Luckily, this book has a great love story, and interesting time period and a beloved heroine. I loved it.