If I had a heritage like Millie Samuelson's, I'd entrust its novelization to her. What a legacy, and how equally great its preservation in Dragon Wall: A Great Wall Novel.
Those of you who had the pleasure of reading Ms. Samuelson's Hungry River will not want to miss its sequel. A poignant, personal, and illuminating account of a slice of history so underrepresented in America, Dragon Wall takes us to early 20th-century China, through World War II and into the communist era under Chairman Mao. All this through the eyes of Christian missionaries who labored tirelessly through persecution and personal loss to bring hope to the masses bombed by the Japanese and exploited by the communists.
What qualifies her to write such a tale? She was there; indeed, she has written herself into the story as one of the fictional characters. What a neat approach! As in Hungry River, she punctuates her historical narrative with modern diary entries that provide a touching modern perspective in hindsight of the events she witnessed herself, the era she lived through, and the lives of those close to her who lived through it with her. Juxtaposed with the thoughts and words of her alter-ego character, whose outlook is fresh and unvarnished by life experience, Millie's thoughtful retrospection through the journal enhances the reader's journey through a turbulent period of the last century in a country now just coming into its own.
For the historical enthusiast who enjoys the personal touch an author who lived and loved the story she writes brings, you have a winner in Dragon Wall.