Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: The Many Daughters of Afong May
Author: Jamie Ford
Book Series: Standalone
Diversity: Chinese characters and MC, Queer characters mentioned
Recommended For…: fantasy, historical fiction, magical realism, mental health
Publication Date: August 2, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction Fantasy
Age Relevance: 17+ (gore, violence, death, war, misogyny, sexual assault, cursing, PTSD, anxiety, depression, illness, derogatory words, sex trafficking, racism, suicide, drugs, rape, romance, religion)
Explanation of Above: There is some gore, in the form of blood and vomit, and physical and weapon violence shown in the book. There is also death shown and mentioned, as well as war. The book shows and mentions a lot of mental health disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and suicide. There is some misogyny shown in the book, as well as derogatory words said in the book in a historical context but not directly at any particular people or in a rude manner. There is some racism shown and mentioned as well in the book. Sexual assault is mentioned, sex trafficking is vaguely mentioned in the book, and there is a non-graphic rape scene in the book. There is cursing throughout the book. Illness is mentioned in the book. There is some romance in the book. The Christian religion is sparsely mentioned in the book.
Publisher: Atria Books
Synopsis: Dorothy Moy breaks her own heart for a living.
As Washington’s former poet laureate, that’s how she describes channeling her dissociative episodes and mental health struggles into her art. But when her five-year-old daughter exhibits similar behavior and begins remembering things from the lives of their ancestors, Dorothy believes the past has truly come to haunt her. Fearing that her child is predestined to endure the same debilitating depression that has marked her own life, Dorothy seeks radical help.
Through an experimental treatment designed to mitigate inherited trauma, Dorothy intimately connects with past generations of women in her family: Faye Moy, a nurse in China serving with the Flying Tigers; Zoe Moy, a student in England at a famous school with no rules; Lai King Moy, a girl quarantined in San Francisco during a plague epidemic; Greta Moy, a tech executive with a unique dating app; and Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America.
As painful recollections affect her present life, Dorothy discovers that trauma isn’t the only thing she’s inherited. A stranger is searching for her in each time period. A stranger who’s loved her through all of her genetic memories. Dorothy endeavors to break the cycle of pain and abandonment, to finally find peace for her daughter, and gain the love that has long been waiting, knowing she may pay the ultimate price.
Review: For the most part, this was a fun read. The book reads a lot like everything everywhere all at once. The highlight of the book was all the different daughters and how they lived their lives and what they experienced. The world building was great for every story and the character development was well done.
However, all of the different plot points are a bit discombobulating. It was really confusing in the beginning and it took a lot to get into. The book was also kinda slower paced in a couple of places, which slowed down the story. The ending was also really confusing and not well explained.
Verdict: It was good!