Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Take Me Home-Brian Leung

Take Me Home
Brian Leung
Harper, Oct 5 2010, $24.99
ISBN: 9780061769078

In 1927, Buckley Orner was the unfortunate chosen one to escort elderly heroine Adele “Addie” Maine home from Los Angeles to Dire, Wyoming as the guest of honor at a gala hosted by Chinese Ah Cheong before he returns to his home country. He insists she saved lives during the Rock Spring riot four decades ago. She only agreed to come back for her brother Tommy, her friend Wing Lee and to give something to Ah Cheong that she kept with her in the orange groves to take with him to bury in China. Addie hoped not to see her spouse the ex miner Muuk, but knows that is impossible to avoid.

Instead of believing she was a hero, Addie believes she caused the riot. She arrived by train as a teen to stay with her sibling, but his farm failed so both took work at the mines. There she met Chinese forced to work at backbreaking labor for “coolie” wages and learned they were not half demons as the schools taught. Her close tie to Wing Lee was the final match to an already volatile situation. Now, ironically instead of the person who ran from rather than confront her spouse, she returns to Wyoming a hero.

This is a terrific historical saga that focuses on intolerance as seen through the eyes of a reluctant heroine looking back to the pivotal moment in her life. With an ingenious twist that anchors the two periods and a strong cast in both eras, fans will relish this engaging tale; as Addie, whose story keeps the two subplots moving, learns you can never really come home.

Harriet Klausner

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