Reviewer for Zhuqing Li’s "Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden: Two Sisters Separated by China's Civil War"

Lucien Ellington's picture

Education About Asia (EAA), in our 28th year of consecutive publication, is the blind peer-reviewed teaching journal of The Association for Asian Studies (AAS). We publish three print issues annually and our online archives receive high amounts of online traffic—over 300,000 visitors used our archives alone in 2022. Our readership primarily consists of AAS members in colleges and universities who have a particular interest in teaching, and secondary school teachers with an interest in Asia. Currently, approximately fifty percent of our readers teach at the undergraduate level, with high school and even some middle school teachers comprising the other fifty percent of subscribers. Our mission is to assist professors and teachers to integrate the study of Asia into their courses.

We are seeking a reviewer for Zhuqing Li’s Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden:
Two Sisters Separated by China's Civil War for our upcoming spring 2023 issue. A brief description of the book, which has already received favorable reviews from publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, from the publisher’s (W. W. & Norton) website is below:

Sisters separated by war forge new identities as they are forced to choose between family, nation, and their own independence.

Jun and Hong were scions of a once great southern Chinese family. Each other’s best friend, they grew up in the 1930s during the final days of Old China before the tumult of the twentieth century brought political revolution, violence, and a fractured national identity. By a quirk of timing, at the end of the Chinese Civil War, Jun ended up on an island under Nationalist control, and then settled in Taiwan, married a Nationalist general, and lived among fellow exiles at odds with everything the new Communist regime stood for on the mainland. Hong found herself an ocean away on the mainland, forced to publicly disavow both her own family background and her sister’s decision to abandon the party. A doctor by training, to overcome the suspicion created by her family circumstances, Hong endured two waves of “re-education” and internal exile, forced to work in some of the most desperately poor, remote areas of the country.

Ambitious, determined, and resourceful, both women faced morally fraught decisions as they forged careers and families in the midst of political and social upheaval. Jun established one of U.S.-allied Taiwan’s most important trading companies. Hong became one of the most celebrated doctors in China, appearing on national media and honored for her dedication to medicine. Niece to both sisters, linguist and East Asian scholar Zhuqing Li tells her aunts’ story for the first time, honoring her family’s history with sympathy and grace. Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden is a window into the lives of women in twentieth-century China, a time of traumatic change and unparalleled resilience. In this riveting and deeply personal account, Li confronts the bitter political rivals of mainland China and Taiwan with elegance and unique insight, while celebrating her aunts’ remarkable legacies.

The author also published a version of her aunts’ stories in the spring 2022 issue of Education About Asia:

Prospective authors interested in writing a 1,500-word review of Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden for EAA should please contact editor Lucien Ellington at and please copy the managing editor Jeffrey Melnik at with a brief bio. Educators with experience working in high schools and beginning-level undergraduate Asian studies and humanities courses are preferred. We will provide a copy of the book for review for the individual selected.