ABOUT THE BOOK
World War Two. Japanese occupied China. One cousin’s courage, another’s determination to help a wounded American pilot.
In the summer of 1942, Danny Hardy bails out of his fighter plane into a remote region of western China. With multiple injuries, malaria, and Japanese troops searching for him, the American pilot’s odds of survival are slim.
Jasmine Bai, an art student who has been saved by Americans during the notorious Nanking Massacre, seems an unlikely heroine to rescue the wounded Flying Tiger. Daisy Bai, Jasmine’s younger cousin, also falls in love with the courageous American.
With the help of Daisy’s brother, an entire village opens its arms to heal a Flying Tiger with injured wings, but as a result of their charity the serenity of their community is forever shattered.
Love, sacrifice, kindness, and bravery all play a part in this heroic tale that takes place during one of the darkest hours of Chinese history.
I chose this book due to my interest in the historical fiction war theme in China and wanting to learn more about the Flying Tigers.
The Fei Hu, or Flying Tigers, were the First American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942 recruited under presidential authority. The character of Danny is one of those pilots who gets shot down near the small village of Tao Hua Cun—Village of Peach Blossoms where Jasmine and her cousin, Daisy, rescue the hero who risks his life to help China.
The character of Jasmine in Wings of a Flying Tiger is Ms. Yang’s homage to the strong women in her life who overcame cultural barriers and escaped the horrific Nanking Massacre which she depicts in the novel.
Courage is doing something when you’re scared half to death.
This book is full of heroes. Not only Danny and Jasmine who overcome inconceivable hardships, but the wonderful, supportive characters such as sweet Daisy, Jasmine’s cousin, who would do anything to help Jasmine and Danny, Doctor Wang, the herbalist who provides shelter for Jasmine and provides Danny with the treatments to heal faster, and Daisy’s brother, Birch, who gives Danny the strength he needs to continue.
The story is fast-paced and the historical elements reveal the brutality of war including rape and murder, but most importantly, it reveals the courage and resilience of the Chinese people.
In all, it is an unforgettable, emotionally draining and tragic love story of a young, fearless, Chinese woman and a young, valiant, American pilot who both unselfishly risk their lives many times over to help others.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough!
Iris Yang (Qing Yang) was born and raised in China. After graduating from Wuhan University, she was accepted by the prestigious CUSBEA (China-United States Biochemistry Examination and Application program). At age 23, with poor English, little knowledge of the country, and 500 borrowed dollars, she came to the United States as a graduate student at the University of Rochester.
Later, she received a Ph.D. in molecular biology, trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and worked at the University of North Carolina. Although she has published a number of scientific papers, she has a passion for creative writing, and her short stories have won contests and have been published in anthologies.
Iris lives between Sedona, Arizona and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Besides writing, she loves hiking, dancing, photography, and travel.