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The Secret Language of Women (Wayfarer Trilogy) Paperback – September 29, 2015
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"Rich with history, The Secret Language of Women offers a beautiful and harrowing landscape of love found, lost, and hunted for – at all costs and with dire consequences. Like the bound feet, so idealized in her novel, Romano’s characters are broken and reformed into both the beautiful and the grotesque. Haunting." ―Barbara Wood, New York Times bestselling author
"A stunning look at China at the turn of the twentieth century, this is a love story that crosses boundaries both cultural and geographic. In Nina Romano’s The Secret Language of Women, two lovers torn apart by war and culture struggle to reunite against all odds. Despite their determination, fate continues to thwart their efforts, driving home how ephemeral and bittersweet finding true love can be [...] From lush summer palaces to modest countryside farms, The Secret Language of Women demonstrates how love can cross cultural and geographical borders. It proves how love at first sight need not be an impossibility and can form a foundation to carry its recipients through times both good and ill." - Foreword Reviews
"This is a beautiful story of hope and love stronger than any adversity. Very special historical fiction that is highly recommended!" - Historical Novel Society
“Here is a gripping tale of swift passion and interrupted courtship set against the background of the Boxer Rebellion, an epic tale of love and romance that is at once lyrical, unflinching, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting. If you’re a fan of novels with scope and ambition, novels you get lost in and can’t put down, novels whose characters will haunt your dreams, then you’ll want to read The Secret Language of Women.” ―John Dufresne, No Regrets, Coyote
This first book in the Wayfarer series from award-winning writer Nina Romano is a love story set against the backdrop of war and upheaval, an era infused with superstition, history, and exotic customs. The story explores the universal themes of love and the atrocities of war, affirming that even in the face of tragedy, enduring love brings hope.
A love story―set against the backdrop of war and upheaval, an era infused with superstition, history, and exotic customs―that explores the universal themes of love and the atrocities of war, affirming that even in the face of tragedy, enduring love brings hope.
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I was not looking forward to reading yet another Asian-based novel for my book group. Reluctantly I picked it up, dove right in, and could NOT put it down! It takes place in the very late 1800's, during the Boxer Rebellion in China. The story is told from two perspectives.
LIAN introduces the reader to her life in China as medical assistant to her distinguished father. She aspires to one day be a medical doctor herself.
At a young age, Lian is schooled in the Secret Language of Woman by her mother and grandmother. She keeps a journal in this art, expressing her feelings, wishes, disappointments, desires.
GIACOMO, pronounced Jackamo, lives an idyllic life on the farm of his wealthy family on the Isle of Sicily. A single act of vengeance and loyalty at an early age propels Giacomo to join the Italian Navy, and eventually he is sent to China during the start of the Boxer Rebellion. Giacomo's perspective is told in third person narrative throughout.
Nino Roman has such a lovely way with words. At once, she is educating the readers about life and the culture in China at that time, the history, regal lifestyle of the ruling Dynasty, the beautiful countryside, the squalor in the cities. While at the same time, unraveling a yarn about impossible love at a time of cultural clashes and ravaging upheaval within a beautiful country.
I was so taken with Ms. Romano's style of writing, that I will surely continue reading this trilogy; and also her poetry, where I can find it.
This must-read beautifully written and intricately woven tale brings to life Ms. Romano’s richly developed characters who inhabit an exotic and mysterious world as they deal with love and loss and loyalty and honor while struggling to survive during a dangerous time.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was sorry to see it end, but am looking forward to reading the next one in Ms. Romano’s trilogy.
A young woman who is both an insider and outsider in the world around her, and the young soldier who at first only sees the surface of the foreign world around him, but finds himself looking deeper in order to be closer in spirit to the woman with whom he has fallen in love. The heroine experiences heartbreak after heartbreak. Yet, instead of being cloying or excessively sentimental, these tragedies set a thoughtful story of resilience, love and hope.
An added bonus, the short stories, told by the characters by way of intimate conversations, was a wonderful glimpse into the characters worlds. Zhugong and Baba's stories, told in greater detail, would make for amazing novels.
A definite recommend.