Jeffrey Kightlinger has been general manager and CEO of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for the past 12 years. Metropolitan, a regional wholesaler, delivers water to 26 member…
When Aiyi Shao crosses paths with Ernest Reismann in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, she sees more than just a talented jazz musician for her nightclub. Little did she know that their encounter would ignite a love that defied societal norms and flourished amidst the backdrop of war and cultural differences. Together, Aiyi and Ernest are faced with crucial choices that will shape their destiny, forcing them to confront whether their paths should intertwine or lead them on separate journeys.
This poignant tale takes a unique approach to World War II, shedding light on the Jewish refugees in Shanghai and the complexities of the Japanese occupation, themes rarely explored in literature. Woven into a captivating narrative, it has the power to captivate audiences, making it a strong contender for an enchanting book-to-movie adaptation.
So, what is “The Last Rose of Shanghai” about?
Set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, this novel unites two individuals from different cultural backgrounds through their shared love for music. Aiyi Shao, a young heiress and owner of a once-glamorous nightclub, and Ernest Reismann, a destitute Jewish refugee fleeing Germany, find their paths intertwined by fate and the liberating power of music.
In the year 1940, Aiyi hires Ernest to play the piano at her club, defying social norms and sparking a sensation within the city. With Ernest’s instant fame, Aiyi’s nightclub becomes the hottest spot in Shanghai once again. However, their bond goes beyond a shared passion for jazz, transcending societal boundaries. Complications arise as they navigate their contrasting backgrounds and Aiyi’s engagement to another man.
As the war escalates, Aiyi and Ernest are torn apart, and their choices between love and survival become increasingly desperate. Against overwhelming odds, a series of events is set in motion, forever altering their lives.
From the vibrant jazz clubs to the impoverished streets of a city under siege, “The Last Rose of Shanghai” is an enduring, sweeping tale of love and redemption that transcends time.
While I expected to be enamored by this beautiful story, I found myself somewhat underwhelmed. Though I appreciated delving into the struggles of Aiyi and Ernest and anticipated being swept away by their romance, something was missing. The emotional connection didn’t resonate with me, and the ending felt slightly off. I believe it ultimately came down to the writing style, which failed to strike a chord with my personal preferences. While certain moments, such as the heart-wrenching fate of Ernest’s sister, Miriam, brought tears to my eyes, and the unexpected turn of events left me pleasantly surprised, I often found myself pushing through chapters. Nonetheless, I would still give this book a rating of 3.5/5 stars due to the inherent beauty in its narrative and its portrayal of a lesser-known aspect of World War II history. Perhaps a different writing approach could have allowed me to fall in love with the story, much like Ernest and Aiyi did.
Of course, this is purely a matter of personal taste.
Overall, I believe it is a lovely tale that would greatly lend itself to a screen adaptation. The visual medium could potentially convey the emotional depth that I felt was missing in the writing style.
Despite my reservations, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to enthusiasts of historical fiction and romance. My reading experience, though not entirely what I expected, is one I don’t regret.
Feel free to share your thoughts and reviews in the comments.
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