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In this book, Anchee Min admirably achieves her goal: to convey “the full sweep” of Pearl S. Buck’s life and to “tell her story from a Chinese perspective.” Willow, a fictional lifelong friend, relates the domestic strains of Pearl’s missionary family, as well as the political hardships they faced before and during Chairman Mao’s destructive reign. The hymn “Amazing Grace” runs as a theme throughout the historical novel as the sorrows and triumphs of the Nobel Prize-winning author unfold, along with the story of the persecuted church in China. (Bloomsbury)

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