Thursday, May 9, 2024

The Phoenix Crown by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang

From bestselling authors Janie Chang and Kate Quinn, a thrilling and unforgettable narrative 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.

Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 13, 2024
 by William Morrow Paperbacks
3.5/5 stars

I am a huge fan of Kate Quinn, she’s an auto read for me. Janie Chang is relatively new to me.

The Phoenix Crown takes place before, during and after the great San Francisco earthquake. It is the story of 4 women connected through a man named Henry Thorton. He is in possession of the legendary Phoenix Crown. While this Crown plays a minor role it is the link that binds them together.

Not only does The Phoenix Crown give an authentic telling of what happened not just involving the earthquake but of the life style (i.e. the opera society, botany just to name a few things).  It is a story with many layers. There is the bond that connects these women towards a mutual goal, they have a unique friendship and have each other’s backs.

An entertaining and enlightening read.

This book was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge.

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