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A Certain Smile Hardcover – Large Print
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Though Miranda Graham is a savvy, successful fashion designer, she's never set foot outside the U.S. As a widow and a mom, she has cleaved to the familiarity of her Boulder, Colorado, home. So when business sends her to China, Miranda reels from profound culture shock. Luckily, kind Yuan Li takes the frightened visitor under his wing and offers to be her tour guide.
As Miranda adapts to chopsticks and crowded streets, she finds Li has appealing qualities beyond his perfect English and natural hospitality. A Renaissance man as well as a businessman, Li opens Miranda's heart to the countless treasures of China. With newfound courage, Miranda finds herself falling into deep, passionate love with this man whom she hardly knows. The looming deadline for her return and the threatening disapproval of a fading communist state force these lovers to make the most of their glorious time together.
Bestselling author Judith Michael has situated this familiar midlife coming of age tale in a truly unique location. Colorful descriptions of Chinese culture and atmosphere will certainly infect some readers with the travel bug. But while Miranda's character is well-developed and likable, Li's borders on stereotypical, and at times the threats to their relationship seem artificial. However, in the context of a "perfect love, imperfect world" story, these faults are entirely forgivable, and the overall story line is very entertaining.--Nancy R.E. O'Brien --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
An exotic locale, a hint of danger, a dollop of fashion, a soup?on of Confucian philosophy and a big dose of clashing cultures add up to tasty if unoriginal chop suey in the latest novel from the bestselling husband and wife writing team. Miranda Grant, a 40-year-old widow with two adolescent children, travels from her home in Boulder, Colo., to Beijing. Petite (size four) Miranda is, on the one hand, shy, fearful and mousy, and, on the other, artistic, creative and hungry for change. Her visit to China is a business trip, arranging knitting contracts for the cashmere sweaters she designs for a New York firm, but it becomes a two-week sojourn that will change her life. Although scenes detailing the textile negotiations add interest, the story focuses on Miranda's relationship with Yuan Li, a successful builder/construction engineer. The son of a Chinese mother and an American soldier, he becomes her soulful guide to China, romance and personal growth. Danger intrudes after Miranda innocently acts as courier for a letter from a former dissident, now in America; the authorities put Miranda and Yuan Li under round-the-clock surveillance. The supporting charactersALi's aloof daughter, scheming son, old friend's wifeAcontribute to the feel of an earnest and colorful travelogue and history lesson. The sense of being an American in a foreign culture is nicely conveyed as Miranda views such phenomena as the thick crowds of bicycle riders in Beijing, the dense army of terra cotta soldiers in Xi'an and the stunning architecture of the Forbidden City. This 10th offering from the practiced Michael (Deceptions; Acts of Love) will undoubtedly join its nine predecessors on the bestseller lists. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It should be noted that the back cover mentions realities of China which test their love. None of these were developed in the plot on audio, in fact, Li's son was never introduced, so I suspect this abrigded version did cut a lot out and isn't as involved as the book. However, the cultural differences and family bonds that tested their love, and the inability to give up their homes and what was familiar to them to permenantly live in the other's world, was certainly satisfying enough for me. I honestly didn't miss what wasn't included.
I found the cultural immersion to be fascinating! I admired Miranda's character immensely and I especially appreciated how her confidence in herself, and the manner in which she projected herself, blossomed under Li's influence in her life. It's amazing how being in love has a trickle down effect into other areas of daily life! Although it was a bit odd the way Li initially approached Miranda in the airport, I also found him to be very likable (I might have fallen for him myself! lol) Their love seemed so strong, like soulmates who were meant to be together, and their relationship had such potential. As a sucker for happy endings, I would have liked to see them work out a way to stay together forever, so the end was quite disappointing and sad to me even though it was presented in a tragically beautiful way.