Book Reviews

Review: Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

Peach Blossom Spring is a multi-generational story about identity and survival. It’s a book that I kept going back to. Fu’s debut explores the different forms of resistance and survival. Peach Blossom Spring is a nuanced adult historical fiction debut that is also perfect for readers who want to explore diasporic identity. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


It is 1938 in China and, as a young wife, Meilin’s future is bright. But with the Japanese army approaching, Meilin and her four year old son, Renshu, are forced to flee their home. Relying on little but their wits and a beautifully illustrated hand scroll, filled with ancient fables that offer solace and wisdom, they must travel through a ravaged country, seeking refuge.

Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. Though his daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down? Yet how can Lily learn who she is if she can never know her family’s story?

Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It’s about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the haunting question: What would it mean to finally be home?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: rape

Peach Blossom Spring is one of those novels which feels multi-layered. This stems from the fact that it’s multi-generational and so we get the story of Meilin, Renshu and Lily. These three characters, connected by family, are also all navigating identity, survival, and connection to our home, in different ways. I loved Meilin’s story – which feels the most historical fiction – as she flees the Japanese soldiers. Her story is one of resistance through existence and the adapting needs of survival.

Her story is one of hardship in various forms. How it can steal innocence and childhood away. There were parts of it that were chilling and it was emotional from start to finish. As it transitions towards Renshu, it becomes about how this piece of home and trauma becomes a piece of us. For Meilin and Renshu, they deal with the loss of home differently. When we lose everything, what ends up haunting us? For Renshu, living in the US becomes a balancing act of opportunity and safety.

Renshu, all while missing home, navigates his connection and memories of home with the necessity of staying in line politically. Of trying to remain under the radar, but also to not have his opinions endanger his mother. Because of that, there’s so much of Renshu’s relationship to his home and culture that he ends up distancing himself from. Lily’s story ends up being the most contemporary specifically as she navigates her diasporic identity.

Being biracial, so much of Lily’s narrative became emotional for me all over again. The ways she is seen as not being “Asian enough” or her sense of rejection and complex relationship to Taiwan and Chinese? That resonated with me painfully and it brought back memories of my own. Listening to Lily’s epxeriences on audio-book brought the memories and emotions even closer. For me, it merely cemented my enjoyment. This generational divide between Renshu and Lily becomes tender.


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Overall, Peach Blossom Spring is a complex debut about identity, family, and home. Even if you aren’t a historical fiction fan, this is a must read for those interested in the passing down of history and diaspora identities. Find Peach Blossom Spring on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite multi-generational story?

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