Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DAC Tour: Review of The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman

 The Fire Horse GirlTitle: The Fire Horse Girl
Author: Kay Honeyman
Published by: Arthur A. Levine Books
Pages: 336
Source: Debut Author Challenge ARC Tours
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:  Jade Moon is a Fire Horse -- the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls, said to make them stubborn, willful, and far too imaginative. But while her family despairs of marrying her off, she has a passionate heart and powerful dreams, and wants only to find a way to make them come true.

Then a young man named Sterling Promise comes to their village to offer Jade Moon and her father a chance to go to America. While Sterling Promise's smooth manners couldn't be more different from her own impulsive nature, Jade Moon falls in love with him on the long voyage. But America in 1923 doesn't want to admit many Chinese, and when they are detained at Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West," she discovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. To get into America, much less survive there, Jade Moon will have to use all her stubbornness and will to break a new path . . . one as brave and dangerous as only a Fire Horse girl can imagine.

Immigration is not a dirty word.  And yet, that is how Americans used to imagine Chinese immigrants.  They didn't want them in their country and made it extremely difficult at times to enter.  So why did people from China still choose to try their hand at becoming an American...opportunities and freedom.

Freedom...that is all Jade Moon could think about.  She's lead a cursed life, being a Fire Horse, and has brought her family nothing but shame.  When the opportunity to come to America arises, she knows she must seize it or be caught in this cycle of despair forever. 

Jade Moon is a great character.  She feisty and will do anything to survive, even when it gets her in trouble.  She is determined and uses her knowledge and skills to not only help herself, but others.  Even when she is betrayed and forced into hopeless situations, she uses her knowledge and skills to find a way out.  This novel is really about her coming of age and finding her place in this new world. 

I have not read much about Chinese immigration, especially in the 1920s.  Kay Honeyman reveals the struggles lead by many Chinese to keep their traditions while blending into a new environment.  The novel is rich with Chinese culture and the blending of tradition with a more modern character is intriguing and exciting.  There is a little bit of mystery and some romance to hook all types of readers, while still producing an engaging plot and mostly well developed characters.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel by Kay Honeyman and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future. 


  1. Oh this sounds like an incredible read. I love historical fiction, especially early 20th century social history so I think this would be a great read for me! I'd so glad you reviewed it so I could find it! :)

  2. This book sounds fabulous! Thanks for the introduction and great review.

  3. This one does sound good. The whole Chinese immigration thing Ia's really rather heart breaking. In the book and movie Snow Falling On Cedars it kills me.

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