This story starts off with a storm at sea, always a perfect way of capturing the attention if done well. The author presents us with an intrepid female sea captain and an equally bold daughter whose help manages to untangle a line during the tumultuous weather.
Thus, we are given a world where women can learn to wield power and be caring mothers at once. Perhaps the two go hand in hand, if the mother wishes to have something to leave her children.
Shi Xiang is another young girl, one who longs for adventure outside of her sleepy town of vegetable and sellers, fishmongers and teahouse managers, et al. In a few pages, the author shows her to be a dreamer, rebel and hard worker. At the same time, she is a good student who gives in to daydreaming and waiting for her peripatetic mother to return from travel. She’s also not understood by the villagers, some of whom thank their lucky stars that their boys didn’t marry her. Yep, she’s like a Chinese version of Belle and, since Belle remains one of my favorite heroines, I quite like Xiang.
The first few pages give us just a taste of this young women who is on the cusp of a fabulous adventure but it’s enough to whet the appetites of YA readers who delight in strong, curious female protagonists who crave quests.