Blog Tour and Review The Dance of The Spirits

Posted on

The Dance of the Spirits_Blog Tour Banner_FINALv2

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!

02_The Dance of the SpiritsPublication Date: November 16, 2013
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button

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

Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble

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.

For more information please visit Catherine Aerie’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

The Dance of the Spirits Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 11
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Spotlight at Mina’s Bookshelf
Interview at Library Educated

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

Friday, August 15
Review at JM Ledwell
Review at Based on a True Story
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, August 18
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Tuesday, August 19
Review at Book Babe

Wednesday, August 20
Review at Unshelfish
Spotlight at Princess of Eboli

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 photo 2e0fd9be-4567-4f9e-ad85-04c8b4d9a535.png

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.

The Dance of the Spirits

Nothing says Japan Like Noh

Posted on


The Greeks had their tragedies. The Romans a love for gore. The Japanese have Noh.


Well not quite as old as the ancient world, Noh’s classical drama has been performed continuously since the 13th Century. Like kabuki in it’s earliest inceptions, men play both male and female roles. Masks are a big part of the performance that can last all day.


If you went to a traditional Noh in the past, you would see five plays mingled with short, humorous courses to cleanse the palate. Today, Noh is performed in two plays and a humor set, a kyogen, set in between.

Noh Young Jap

The plays are traditional and codified by the family foundation, new plays occasionally celebrate history and welcome innovation. There have also been fusion Noh blending with other art forms like Banruku, puppet theatre.


One cool tradition is that Noh players rehearse only once as an ensemble, which embodies the saying, Sen no Rikyu, “one chance, one meeting.”


Boleyn Family-A Story of Pride and Extreme Predjudice

Posted on Updated on

I’m a sucker for the Tudors. I love that period of history. I’m half English myself so it cuts deep. I love costumes and the velvets and rich damasks and the tales of courtly love when Ladies were Ladies and Gentleman got down on bended knee for a whiff of their heart’s desire. Today, the men I see on trains would push me away for a seat. Sigh. But I wonder if I could really hack it at the Tudor court. All is not what it seems. Soft velvets won’t break your fall if you happen to be born on the wrong side of the blanket.


Whether you prefer the old English Bullen or the fancified Boleyn spelling, they were a family to be reckoned with. They came, according to the genealogy from Norfolk County, England. We’re concerned with the Fifth generation. Sometime between 1500-1504 Mary was born. She was the eldest of the family trio who landed at court and became embroiled in a scandal that destroyed the Boleyn name and the family reputation. Next to nothing is known about her-except she was schooled in France like Anne and became Henry’s mistress. She bore him a son. She seems to have quietly faded into the background, rather than stepped aside for Anne as Philippa Gregory suggests in, The Other Boleyn Girl.


Whether the two were close or rivals is unknown and pure speculation. But that’s fiction, right? Brilliant. Gregory came under fire for her historical inaccuracies, and her portrayal of Mary as innocent bystander. What Gregory was doing was putting a fresh spin on a story that has been told over and over (and keeps us coming back!). The story is written first POV through Mary’s eyes, the perfect showcase for a new telling of the Anne and Henry saga. Nothing particularly new to add. Nothing that doesn’t fall lock-step with what we’ve already heard. Great story though. If you understand story, you understand why Gregory had to make Mary the perfect-root-till your drop protagonist and Anne the selfish, if a bit unbalanced antagonist. Story. Not history. I love the book. It’s well written and one of my favorites, but if you’re a history-lover you’ll take umbrage with the main premise. There is no evidence Anne Boleyn was guilty of any of the crimes she was convicted of, much less incest with her brother George. Not one man would dare to go against the king. Not even Anne’s uncle.


Now that we’ve moved away from story, I’ve always hated that particular incest charge, because it’s so unbelievable, it’s overkill and once again we see George’s name dragged through the mud. Unimaginative. Give me a George who is heroic. He was born around 1503, not much is known about him either but he has gone down in history as the most hated Boleyn because of what he may have felt for his sister. I don’t buy it. It’s too bizarre.

AB mini

Now we come to Anne. All too often, history has portrayed Henry’s second wife as a termagant and a shrew. Well, she did persuade a king to divide his church and cast off his wife. She was born sometime around 1501. Sent to the French court as a young girl, she came back a woman of intrigue. She was not an English beauty with thick blonde hair and rosy cheeks or a well-formed bosom, but possessed a sallow complexion, with sleek dark hair that matched her keen, black eyes. She was confident and dressed well. No gable hoods for her. She wore French. Witty, and quick-minded, she was bound to attract attention.


Eric Ives, preeminent historian accuses Thomas Cromwell as the architect in Anne’s downfall. We know that she didn’t get a fair trial-her own uncle, the Duke of Norfolk sat in judgment of her. The charges against her. Adultery. Treason. And, Witchcraft. The confessions extracted by torture from the men accused of committing adultery. Remember, this is an era where one’s religious life was of the utmost importance, and Henry wanted to get rid of Anne. He saw he could do it before with Katherine, and he wanted out. What better way to absolve himself of a woman he despised by claiming he was bewitched?

Eliz and AB