Sunday, 27 January 2013

{Review} Sarah Quanli by Jackson Keene

Sarah Quanli by Jackson Keene
Published 26 October 2012
Genre: Historical Romance (Mature)
Source: eARC (from author in exchange for honest review)
Buy: Amazon

The beautiful yet deceitful Rossalyn McDonald had twisted the knife deep in David Adam MacDougall’s big heart. He was extraordinarily handsome: chiseled muscles, kindly soul, thoughtful personality, and totally faithful. Any other lass in his Scottish Highlands village would have cheated her own sister to become his bride.

Now David’s entire being felt broken into a thousand pieces. Now he only wanted to reach the faraway city of Beiping China where he was called to be a missionary. But before arriving in that mysterious mistress of the orient, he would face uncertain dangers.

The year is 1904. The bloody Boxer Rebellion is only four years past. Much of northern China still seethes with undercurrents of resentment and hatred of all things Western. If David can just make it to the ancient city with body and soul intact, if he can just survive, there he’ll find his new purpose, his new home, and his new people.

There, he’ll meet the woman he comes to believe is the love of his life. The lithe, athletic, saucy, highly intelligent and equally independent Xiu Li! (From Goodreads)
MY RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

Sarah Quanli follows David's hastened journey to China as a missionary after a painful betrayal from his loved one. There were some dangerous situations which David were in. I'm happy to read that he overcame all of those situations and there's even something about basketball!

The story was enjoyable, even though I find it difficult to follow for the first part of the book due to the slang used by the characters. It got better after David left for China and things started picking up from there, which made me glad that I continued reading. Also, the book emphasizes heavily on religion so it will definitely appeal to readers who prefer a more religious read, combined with romance and some action.

Today, I have Jackson Keene, author of Sarah Quanli, with me on the blog.

Hi Jackson! Thank you for taking time to stop by for a little author interview!

How would you describe Sarah Quanli in a few sentences?
Sarah Quanli is a historical fiction that includes heavy doses of action and adventure, with light romance at the beginning and at the end.  Several subplots weave in and out of the story.  While the characters, dialogue and action are fiction, the major threads of the dangers of travel, the hardships of missionary work, and the spread of "Basket Ball" to China are based upon true-life facts.  In some ways, the story reads more like an autobiography than first person fiction.

What inspired you to write Sarah Quanli?
I’ve loved the sport of basketball since childhood. I greatly like Chinese people and China as a country. In fact, I have several Chinese friends with whom I play pick-up basketball games most every week. In addition, I’m an evangelical Christian. I love action and adventure, both in movies and in reading. I’m a very passionate (romantic) person. So it almost seems natural I would write an historical novel with romance and danger that combines all these things into a unified story.

What is your favorite part of writing Sarah Quanli?
The voyage and travel to China, with all its dangers and adventures.

How did you come up with the title for your book?
Since one parent is Chinese and the other Scottish, and the continuing book series will be about their daughter, I wanted a typical Scottish name for the daughter's first name (Sarah), and a very meaningful Chinese name for the middle name (Quanli).

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
In some ways, the continuing saga of Sarah Quanli has elements of both The Good Earth and East of Eden. It’s all about the lives and loves of several generations of a Chinese family, begun when a handsome Scottish missionary marries a beautiful Chinese girl. The newly published Book One covers the time period from the birth of David Adam MacDougall in 1882 to the birth of his first child, a daughter, named Sarah Quanli MacDougall in 1916. Books Two, Three, and Four—still to come—will take the reader through the brutality and turmoil of strife-torn twentieth century China, and later, concurrently, through the social upheaval of the 1960's and beyond in golden California.

Do you ever experience writer's block? How did you overcome it?
Yes, several times.  I had to sit back and think about the "big picture", where I ultimately wanted the story to go and to end up.  Doing that helped me get the juices flowing again and hopefully knit the various sections of the story together in a compelling way for the reader.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Having earned undergrad and grad degrees in history, plus having spent a year toward a doctorate in same, I’ve always had a healthy fascination with long ago events and individuals (whether common folk or famous personages), with major trends and traditions, and how such evolved through time. It’s interesting to dig deep into how people carried on—how they managed—during the great epochs of past; how they lived, loved, survived, overcome, left legacies and lineages to carry on their name and bloodline. How each generation is beholden to the last, but still tasked with creating its personal stamp for the next generation to come.

Thanks again for being with us today!


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