Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Diamond Head,'A Novel of Change and Tradition by Cecily Wong.
In Diamond Head by Cecily Wong, we follow the life of Frank Leong and family. In the nineteenth century he is part of the wealthy shipping industry in China. Worried about war on the continent, he moves his family to the island of Oahu. When his brother dies, his wife becomes a part of the extended family, a rock in the presence of much pain.
A parable of an old fable, in China the red string of fate is the cord that binds one to their perfect match. That same cord also punishes the mistakes, passing that punishment down the family line. Believers in such a match the family is careful of the possible repercussions of making bad choices.
When Frank is murdered, the family is devastated by the deceit of the past and the untruths hidden below the surface of this genial patriarch. The family begins the process of unraveling, and it seems as though everything rests on Franks only granddaughter. The string appears to have many knots, passing the curse down their family tree, can she find the answers to the danger before her family drifts away into obscurity.
This is a wonderful work that spans the time from the Boxer Rebellion to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. It is a tale of tragedy, lies, loss and sacrifice. The threads or red lines of fate however know the truth, and hope peaks from the darkness in a mystifying tangle of certainty.
Wong has given us a story of the ages with war and romance, love and beliefs, all set in beautiful surroundings. The characters are well developed and you feel as though you are reading actual history along with the cost of how mistakes shape families. You become enthralled with the life and intricacy of the detail, and fall in love with the family. There is a truth of enlightenment, one that takes you from the past into the future of this fractured family.
If you enjoy contemporary work with romance, history and strength, you will find this work a perfect fit for your library. Wong has given us a strange mystery couched in hidden agendas, beauty and deceit. It is a work that stays with you way after the reading.
This would also be a great work for a book club or a reading group. The nuances and ideas will make for vigorous comment.