Knowledge Base Glossary    Contact Us
Browse by Category
Knowledge Base .: Archives Fiction and Non-Fiction Reviews .: Historical Fiction .: Reviewer: N. Goldman .: Shanghai Legacy

Shanghai Legacy

Author: Marion Cuba

ISBN: 1591138094



The following review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN:  Editor of Bookpleasures. CLICK TO VIEW  Norm Goldman's Reviews

“Your mother,” she repeats, dipping her nurse’s cap toward Hannah’s room again, “she is like a melon that will never ripen, Miss Silver,” is what the nurse tells the dying woman’s daughter, Maya.

That unripened melon, Maya soon discovers is her mother’s diary dating back to 1938, when approximately twenty thousand European Jews escaped Nazi Germany to Shanghai and created a unique ghetto. Why Shanghai? It was the only city in the world that accepted foreigners without any entry requirements.

Marion Cuba’s debut novel, Shanghai Legacy, draws her central character, Maya, into the private thoughts and secrets of her mother Hanna, whom she never fully knew, and whose childhood had been lost amidst the life-changing hardships she had endured while a refugee in Shanghai.  

Maya is hungry to explore an era that was never spoken about in their household and of which she was ignorant. Moreover, Maya realizes, objects such as diaries, hold meaning, as they reveal an individual’s aspirations and dreams, as well as their eventual relationships with family members.

 All of this becomes vividly possible by the discovery of Hannah’s German diary recounting her teen-age experiences in Shanghai.  The diary is translated to Maya by an antique dealer Sam Ascher, whom she hires to appraise her later mother’s furniture. Sam is a former attorney, who has taken over his father’s business, and as Maya subsequently learns, is a child of Holocaust survivors.

Interwoven into the narrative is Maya’s discovery of herself and her cold and difficult relationship with her husband, Harold, who is a prominent ophthalmologist, and very much wrapped up in himself and his profession. Maya challenges Harold’s repressive hold over her when she decides to keep her mother’s home that she has inherited. This leads to her frequent stays in the house, while it is being renovated. However, it also causes some guilt feelings, as she questions herself playing house alone and not even thinking of Harold, as well as her life in Chappaqua.

 There is a good story here; unfortunately, it is jumbled up in the roots of a much longer tale that needs to be told. How much richer would it have been if there was more detailed exploration of just how much Hanna’s life affected that of her daughter’s.  Nonetheless, the author shows a great deal of promise and the novel certainly deserves a read.





Related Articles

article The painter from Shanghai
 Click Here To Purchase The Painter From ShanghaiAuthor: Jennifer Cody EpsteinISBN:  978-0-393-06528-2The painter from Shanghai is a compelling read and a witness to political changes in China in the y

(No rating)  5-23-2008    Views: 4203   
article Deception’s Legacy
Author: Jacqueline G. RandolphISBN: 1596821027Two principle historical settings, the Spanish Inquisition and a nuclear accident that occurred in Spain in 1966 provide the impetus for a compelling novel in Jacqueline G. Randolph’s third book in her Deception Series.  Deception’s Legacy begins when we learn about an actual incident in 1966 concerning an American B-52 bomber carrying four bombs that packed more than a megaton of power or one hundred times more powerful than Hiroshima and that...

(No rating)  8-8-2007    Views: 6104   
article The Fool’s Path: A Tale From The Lothemian Legacy
Author: Nancy J. Attwell ISBN: 193314212XThe following review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN:  Editor of Bookpleasures. CLICK TO VIEW  Norm Goldman's ReviewsTo read Norm's Interview With Nancy Attwell CLICK HEREThe Fool’s Path: A Tale From The Lothemian Legacy is an ambitious debut novel in the first of a trilogy from Canadian born Nancy J. Attwell, who shows a wonderful amount of promise as an up-and-coming novelist of historical fiction.When I interviewed Attwell she stated that some of...

(No rating)  11-18-2005    Views: 7749   
article The Rapture of Maturity: A Legacy of Lifelong Learning
Author: Charles D. HayesISBN: 0962197947The following review was contributed by:    Paul Lappen: CLICK TO VIEW Paul Lappen's Reviews"What will people say about me after I'm gone?" "After the funeral, and afterthe will, how will everyone think of me?" For the average young person, suchthoughts are not important. However, once a person reaches their 50th birthday,such thoughts become much more important. That's what this book is all about.The author looks at properties of...

(No rating)  5-2-2006    Views: 4676   
article Jacqueline Randolph Shares Her Thoughts About Her Recent Novel, Deception's Legacy
Today, Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of once again has the pleasure of interviewing Jacqueline G. Randolph author of her most recent novel Deception’s Legacy.Good day Jacqueline and thanks once again for participating in our interview.Norm:With Deception’s Legacy what did you set out to do with this book? Do you believe you achieved that goal?Jacqueline: I set out to write a fictional novel based on real history—filling in those blanks of which we aren’t privy while...

(No rating)  8-8-2007    Views: 7963   
article Nancy J. Attwell, Author of The Fools' Path: A Tale From The Lothemian Legacy Is Interviewed.
Author: Nancy J. Attwell  ISBN: 193314212XThe following interview was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN:  Editor of Bookpleasures. CLICK TO VIEW  Norm Goldman's ReviewsTo read Norm's Review CLICK HEREToday Norm Goldman, Editor of is pleased to have as our guest, Nancy J. Attwell, author of The Fools’ Path: A Tale From The Lothemian Legacy.Good day Nancy and thank you for agreeing to participate in our interview.Norm:Nancy, how did your book come about? What was your main reason...

(No rating)  11-18-2005    Views: 10374   
article Ditchburn A Muskoka Boats Legacy by Harold Shield: Bev McMullen-Photographer
The name Ditchburn probably does not mean much to most Canadians or Americans. Perhaps, if you were a pleasure boat enthusiast, you would have associated the name with varnished mahogany - runabout boats built during the first three decades of the twentieth century by the legendary Ditchburn Boat Co. of Muskoka, Ontario. Where is Muskoka? Located 90 minutes from Toronto, it is bounded to the west by the beautiful shores of Georgian Bay and to the east by Algonquin Park. Known as a land...

(No rating)  1-1-1970    Views: 4204   

User Comments

No comments have been posted.

.: Powered by Lore 1.5.2