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The Phoenix Crown (2024)

Tekijä: Kate Quinn, Janie Chang

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
653399,802 (3.89)-
An unforgettable story about the intertwined lives of two wronged women, spanning from the chaos of the San Francisco earthquake to the glittering palaces of Versailles... San Francisco, 1906. In a city bustling with newly minted millionaires and scheming upstarts, two very different women hope to change their fortunes: Gemma, a golden-haired, silver-voiced soprano whose career desperately needs rekindling, and Suling, a petite and resolute Chinatown embroideress who is determined to escape an arranged marriage. Their paths cross when they are drawn into the orbit of Henry Thornton, a charming railroad magnate whose extraordinary collection of Chinese antiques includes the fabled Phoenix Crown, a legendary relic of Beijing's fallen Summer Palace. His patronage offers Gemma and Suling the chance of a lifetime, but their lives are thrown into turmoil when a devastating earthquake rips San Francisco apart and Thornton disappears, leaving behind a mystery reaching further than anyone could have imagined . . . Until the Phoenix Crown reappears five years later at a sumptuous Paris costume ball, drawing Gemma and Suling together in one last desperate quest for justice . . .… (lisätietoja)
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näyttää 3/3
Book Review: The Phoenix Crown
Stars: 4 x 5
Authors: Kate Quine @katequinn5975 Janie Chang @janiechang33
Publisher: William Morrow Books. @williammorrowbooks

This is a historical fiction that starts in San Francisco just before the earthquake of 1908. That earthquake devastated the San Francisco Bay Area and many people went missing.

Just before the earthquake, Gemma garland a travels to S.F. to meet up with her best friend Nellie Doyal. Gemma is an Opera Singer and Nellie is a painter.
Alice works at the California Academy of Science. She is botanist . Suling lives in Chinatown her uncle arrange for her to marry a much old man who happens to be a doctor. These ladies all live in the same boarding house and the all end up knowing Henry Thornton. Henry Thornton is just pure evil and what he puts these ladies through is horrible as he brings all of them into his web of deceit. Henry is rich and charming and these ladies have no way to escape him. Henry has a collection of significant amount of artifacts and relilcs. One of these is called “the Phoenix Crown”. This particular relic is from Beijing’s Summer Palace. After a bit the girls start to realize that the way Henry does things and the motives he has are not good.
Henry deals with bad people and sometimes things do not go as planned. The police have suspicions about what Henry has been doing. The earthquake occurs and San Francisco is sent in chaos. This is the perfect time for Henry to escape and take the “Phoenix Crown” with him. After thing settle down a bit and recovery is slowly occurring, the ladies are determined to find a way to expose all that Henry had done. As time passes by about 5 years later the ladies find out the ”Phoenix Crown” is to worn at a costume ball in Versailles. They know the if the crown will be there then so will Henry. The ladies plot and plan and head to Versailles. Will they get their revenge or will Henry win out again?

What wonderful story of these women. It shows strength and diversity and how they will do what ever it takes to take down an evil man.

#bookstagram #thephoenixcrown #sanfrancisco #versailles ( )
  Kimberly103164 | Feb 22, 2024 |
This was a fun and interesting historical novel set mainly during the days immediately before, during, and after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. An unlikely foursome of women are brought together by a complicated series of events in the days leading up to the earthquake. After the quake and the traumatic events surrounding it, the women separate to try to continue their lives—only to be called back together to find revenge and closure.

I enjoyed the story. The individual experiences of the women were all interesting and enlightening, and the plot was fast-moving. The writing was excellent. My only criticism is that perhaps it tried to do a bit too much—an historical, action, feminist, caper novel? It was a bit overwhelming—but in a good way. I loved it and highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. ( )
  sue222 | Feb 8, 2024 |
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in a giveaway.

One of my favorite things about Quinn's books is the eccentric cast of characters with a variety of backgrounds who come together to eventually achieve a common goal. The Phoenix Crown, co-written by Quinn and Janie Chang, features an older opera singer with migraines but the voice of an angel, an American-born Chinese seamstress dying to get out of San Francisco, a zealous botanist, and a missing painter. The story is told primarily from the perspective of two women: the opera singer Gemma and the seamstress Suling, but their stories illuminate a world long gone. Their writing is evocative in a way that you can't help but keep reading in order to capture the magic of the past.

As mentioned, the two protagonists Gemma and Suling, although initially from separate worlds, are very alike. They're both trying escape their orphaned pasts and make themselves anew in a big city. The difference is Gemma sees her flight to San Francisco as her last shot, being a 32 year old opera singer still stuck in the chorus while Suling is barely 20 and looking to escape her neglectful uncle and an unsatisfying arranged marriage so she can make her mark. Both women are equal parts jaded and hopeful. They both go through a transformation where they feel like they have to sacrifice a part of themselves to get to who and where they want to be, only to realize that was the best, most meaningful part of them all along. At its core, The Phoenix Crown is a story about friendship, how it ebbs and flows but ultimately endures. Personally, I would argue Gemma goes through a bigger change here, from a downtrodden singer determined to only look out for herself from now on to realizing fame isn't worth having when she realizes what it's cost her. Suling, while a strong, capable, admirable woman, grows through opportunities being presented to her through the advocacy of her friends. She becomes more daring in her approach to life throughout the book, but that's more a product of her gaining confidence in her abilities as she receives external validation. Doesn't make me like her any less, just saying her transformation is more external while Gemma's is more internal.

As much fun as I had, there were a few drawbacks. The villain, while present, is as much a part of the backdrop as San Francisco is. It's the women's own desires and fears that threaten their relationships and futures. While Thornton is certainly devious, he doesn't cause a lot of bad things to happen to the girls (there are 2 very bad things, but those almost happen by accident to the heroines). If anything, the earthquake is more of a villain in that it forces the heroines to confront their inner selves and to decide what kind of person they are. It literally makes or breaks them while Thornton, who is definitely bad, is like the icing on a villain cake. That said, he is definitely villainous. Throughout the story, it is clear that Thornton is ruthless and will do anything to achieve his goals, which is why the ending scene when the women confront him is honestly a bit underwhelming. All of his resources and strategizing evaporate in the presence of girl power. The ending climax felt cliche and pandering: look at women getting stuff done! Who needs men? Men could never! Now, I'm sure a lot of people will love the ending simply for those reasons. To me, it seemed off tonally and too neatly wrapped up, where I'm used to more complex endings in Quinn's books in the past.

For a book with two authors, the writing was very consistent and flowed well. You cannot tell who wrote what, though there were times I spotted Quinn's distinctive style, as she tends to lean more into scene-setting prose, such as how things smell and taste, which I love and missed a bit in this book. Overall, I very much enjoyed this story about a time and place that I know very little about while examining the different types of people in this world who all ultimately want the same thing: a place where they belong. ( )
  readerbug2 | Nov 16, 2023 |
näyttää 3/3
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

» Lisää muita tekijöitä

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Kate Quinnensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetlaskettu
Chang, Janiepäätekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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An unforgettable story about the intertwined lives of two wronged women, spanning from the chaos of the San Francisco earthquake to the glittering palaces of Versailles... San Francisco, 1906. In a city bustling with newly minted millionaires and scheming upstarts, two very different women hope to change their fortunes: Gemma, a golden-haired, silver-voiced soprano whose career desperately needs rekindling, and Suling, a petite and resolute Chinatown embroideress who is determined to escape an arranged marriage. Their paths cross when they are drawn into the orbit of Henry Thornton, a charming railroad magnate whose extraordinary collection of Chinese antiques includes the fabled Phoenix Crown, a legendary relic of Beijing's fallen Summer Palace. His patronage offers Gemma and Suling the chance of a lifetime, but their lives are thrown into turmoil when a devastating earthquake rips San Francisco apart and Thornton disappears, leaving behind a mystery reaching further than anyone could have imagined . . . Until the Phoenix Crown reappears five years later at a sumptuous Paris costume ball, drawing Gemma and Suling together in one last desperate quest for justice . . .

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