Family ties and connections are not always what they appear from the outside. The visual clues often hide heartache and pain, and pride is the constant. The mistakes and hurt are only for internal visitation, not for outsiders looking in. In Diamond Head by Cecily Wong, we follow the life of Frank Leong and family. He is part of the wealthy shipping industry in China in the 19th century. 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.
In China, according to an old fable, the red string of fate is the cord that binds one to one’s perfect match. That same cord also punishes 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 that took place in the past and the untruths hidden below the surface of this genial patriarch. The family begins unraveling, and it seems as though everything rests on Frank’s only granddaughter. The string appears to have many knots as it passes the curse down the 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. It is a tale of tragedy, lies, loss and sacrifice. The threads or red lines of fate know the truth, and hope peeks from the darkness through a mystifying tangle of uncertainty.
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 story of how mistakes shape families. You become enthralled with the intricacy of the detail, and fall in love with the family, with a sense of truth 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 well 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.