the good book corner

Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

Amy Tan- a name synonymous with novels about the beautiful, yet tender relationship between a mother and a daughter. The Valley of Amazement is another book set in China in the early 1900s.

Violet Minturn knows that she is American and according to her, “I had Yankee ingenuity and an independent mind”. Violet’s world is the first class courtesan house run by her mother and anything beyond the walls of The Hidden Jade Path is non-existent.

When treachery and upheaval uproot Violet from her privileged and protected life into the world of Shanghainese courtesans, her American half struggles to come to terms with her part Chinese origin.

The story’s narrative goes back and forth from Lulu Minturn to her daughter Violet. Tan, being a veteran at such narratives knows how to bring out the emotion in the readers. However, the descriptions that are supposed to amaze, fail to do so. I am guilty of the cardinal sin that most readers hope never to commit. I happy skipped the sections that went on to describe the carnal tactics used by the supposedly coy and supposedly subservient courtesans.
If you are an Amy Tan fan, do read the book. If you are a first timer and want to read about China then or China now, I can recommend some other books.

Rating- 3/4( i wish I could rate in decimals, so consider 3 a bit generous)

The Valley of Amazement
Amy Tan
Published by Harper Collins Publishers
Pages 589



About artikaaurorabakshi

Artika Aurora Bakshi Artika Aurora Bakshi is the author of three well-acclaimed children’s books,My Little Sikh Handbook, My Little Sikh Handbook 2: Ardas, My Little Sikh Handbook: Travel Journal, and an anthology of stories, Hold On To Me. Her first story, set in Amritsar, during the pre-Partition period, All She Had Left, was published on Story Mirror. She co-manages, a manuscript help and book review site. Her passion for reading has led her to helping other writers with their manuscripts. She comes from a family of lawyers and has a master’s degree in International Banking & Finance. Currently based in Sri Lanka, she teaches Commerce and History on a part-time basis at an international school and enjoys being part of the literary scene in Sri Lanka. A regular at the Galle Literary Festival and other literary events in Sri Lanka, Artika’s articles and book reviews have featured in the Daily Mirror, Daily News, The Ceylon Chronicle, and various blogs, such as,,, She was actively involved with SAARC Women’s Association of Sri Lanka and was President of the Association in 2016. An avid reader, Artika runs an online book club with a membership base of over 600 members. Her quotes are featured under soul.nightingale on Instagram and on Soul Nightingale by Artika Aurora Bakshi on Facebook. Artika is also working on her fourth children’s book in the My Little Sikh Handbook series and a second anthology of stories for adults. You can reach Artika at .

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This entry was posted on September 7, 2014 by in Book Reviews, Fiction and tagged , , .
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