There’s one big reason I wanted to check out Cecily Wong’s Diamond Head – my mother’s family’s last name is Wong, and hey, I might somehow be related somehow? 🙂Diamond Head by Cecily Wong
Published by HarperCollins on April 14th 2015
Genres: Multicultural Fiction
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Frank Leong, a prominent shipping industrialist and head of the celebrated Leong family, brings his loved ones from China to Hawaii at the turn of the twentieth century, abandoning his interests at the port of Tsingtao when the Japanese invade. But something ancient follows the Leongs to the islands, haunting them — the parable of the red string of fate. According to Chinese legend, the red string binds one to her intended beloved, but also punishes for mistakes in love, twisting any misstep into a destructive knot that passes down through generations.
When Frank Leong is murdered on Oahu, his family is thrown into a perilous downward spiral. Left to rebuild in their patriarch’s shadow, the surviving Leongs attempt a new, ordinary life, vowing to bury their gilded past. Still, the island continues to whisper — fragmented pieces of truth and chatter — until a letter arrives two decades later, carrying a confession that shatters the family even further.
Now the Leongs’ survival rests with young Theresa, Frank’s only grandchild. Eighteen and pregnant, Theresa holds the answers to her family’s mysteries and is left to carry the burden of their mistakes. On the day of her father’s funeral, as the Leongs gather to mourn the loss of their firstborn son, Theresa must decide what stories to tell, with whom to side, and which knots will endure for another generation.
Told through the eyes of the Leongs’ secret-keeping daughters and wives — and spanning the Boxer Rebellion, Pearl Harbor, and 1960s Hawaii — Diamond Head is an exploration of whether there’s such a thing as a legacy of the heart. Passionate and devastating, it is a story filled with love, lies, loss, and — most astounding of all — hope.
Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Diamond Head is the story of a family’s loves, lives, and losses, across multiple generations. It’s told from the viewpoints of the women in the family – Frank’s wife Lin, her sister/servant Hong, his daughter-in-law Amy, and his granddaughter Theresa; and in alternating timelines, which sometimes confused me because this is all set in the past – it’s not like we’re switching between then and now, and I sometimes had to work at remembering which then we’re in.
Cecily Wong weaves the historical events into a backdrop rich in cultural traditions and stories, and layers the characters over it to create a confection to inhale with a cup of tea. Diamond Head is a lovely story with elements that I appreciated, especially the cultural and heritage references. The only point it missed on, for me, was while I wanted to learn all of the whats and whys, I didn’t really care for any of the characters. They were all human enough, they all had to make decisions that took them down a path that they might not have wanted or realized, but I didn’t find any of them likable. And I’ll be the first to admit it’s my own worldview that’s doing the judging here, but I want to like the people I’m reading about, especially if they share the same cultural history.
As different people have different worldviews, you may think I’m off my rocker – and that’s ok.
drey’s rating: Pick it up!
Have you read Diamond Head? What did you think? And if you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!
Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours, I have one copy of Diamond Head for you. This one’s open to US residents only; no PO Boxes please. To enter, fill out the form below before May 28th. Good luck!