“The Porcelain Moon” will have you over the moon


“The Porcelain Moon” was released on Feb. 21 and tells the story of two women escaping from their marriages in the midst of World War I.

Inspired by the London memorial made in honor of the Chinese Labour Corps, a group of Chinese workers who were recruited by foreign countries during World War l, Janie Chang wrote her story titled “The Porcelain Moon.” The book, released Feb. 21, follows the lives of Camille and Pauline, who met each other while escaping their marriages. Camille, a French woman from an aristocratic family whose debt caught up with them, tries to leave her abusive husband Jean-Paul, whom she married after he took advantage of her. On the other hand, Pauline, who doesn’t want to leave Paris where she feels free, is being forced into an arranged marriage by her uncle’s family.

The book is well-researched and shows the perspective of the Chinese in France during World War l, who played an essential role by digging trenches, transporting supplies and burying the deceased. It is a captivating tale about Chinese and French culture and how war affects peoples’ lives. It brings to light the violence, prejudice and mockery Chinese workers were often met with.

A part of the book I found interesting was the stories from Chinese folklore and the mentioned art artifacts. I enjoyed reading the story about how Chang’e, the Chinese goddess of the moon, flew to the moon after she drank the elixir of immortality. I enjoyed seeing how art provided a way for Camille to express herself, make a small business and learn about the world around her after her family lost its previous riches. In the same way, the Chinese ceramics Pauline studied in her uncle’s La Pagode shop reminded her of her culture as she navigated difficult times. I understood why the characters grew close as the character interactions were well developed. I did find Pauline’s story more enjoyable because, instead of focusing on her love interest, her story centers more on how she resolves conflicts within her family.

The story does contain scenes that describe assault and adultery. Camille’s husband takes advantage of her and she ends up starting a family with another man.

I recommend “The Porcelain Moon” to people who like to read romance and historical fiction. It has something many would relate to or find interesting: art, family conflicts, war and personal growth.