Please note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for my participation in the tour. All opinions I’ve expressed here are completely honest and completely my own.
Diamond Head is the beautiful, sprawling history of the Leong family and their journey with fate. Told through the eyes of the Leong women, Diamond Head is an intricately weaved and incredibly rich tale of fate, love, and consequences.
There is a tale in Chinese culture—the red string of fate. Each person has a red string tied to their ankles, and attached to the other end is their fated soulmate. However, every mistake you make in love causes the string to knot, making it harder to to find the person at the end of it. These knots may even be passed to your children.
The year is 1964, and today is the day of Bohai Leong’s funeral. His wife Amy and his pregnant teenage daughter Theresa make their way to the Leong family home on Diamond Head. This day, this man, is what binds the story together.
As the day goes on, more of the past is revealed. Through the perspectives of Theresa, Amy, Lin and Hong, we go back and forth in time learning about the story of the Leongs and the life of Bohai. We learn who these women are and how they came to be a part of Bohai’s life.
The story of the Leongs begins in southern China in the early 20th century. Theresa tells us of her Ye Ye (her grandfather, Frank) and her Nai Nai (her grandmother, Lin). We learn of the birth of her father, Bohai, and the death of the concubine Hailee who bore him.
Hong, Bohai’s aunt, joins the Leong the family during the Boxer Uprising in China when her husband, Frank’s brother, is killed. Soon, Lin and Hong become inseparable. When Bohai comes along, they raise him together.
In 1914, the impending war causes Frank to move his family to Oahu. He, Lin, Hong, and Bohai, quickly gather their things and make their way across the Pacific to the Hawaiian Islands. There they hope to make a fresh start. Lin hopes this especially for Bohai. He is a very quiet and subdued child—too much so. Lin is frightened that something is wrong with him.
Hawaii does not enliven Bohai. He grows into a quiet man, more inclined to read a book indoors then spend any time in the sun. This is especially obvious in comparison to his brother Kaipo who was born a few years after the Leongs arrived on Oahu.
As the secretive Leong women tell their tales, we see a family that is not what it seems. We see a family shrouded in lies and half-truths, all intertwined with the red string of fate.
Each of the Leong women is remarkable in her own way. They are strong, compelled by what they believe to be fate. Theresa is fiercely loyal to her father. Amy is stoic and enigmatic. Hong is the rock that holds the family together. Lin is the matriarch who began it all.
This book is very hard to summarize—as are most family sagas. I have more sympathy now for the person who wrote the jacket, but I still think you should not read the synopsis! It has so many spoilers!
I gotta tell ya, I loved this book. Family sagas are my jam, and this one is done impeccably. The writing is top notch, the characters are very well developed, and the story is super compelling. All families have secrets and resentments, but the Leongs… Well, you just have to read it to find the skeletons in their closets. I think Amy’s story is my favourite. Again, you just have to read it.
This story is propelled by the characters as you listen to them and watch them develop. I love how in the story, the character development is mainly in the past. Therefore, each part you read gives you more understanding of the women and how they came to be the way they are.
There is mystery involved here, too, both the traditional sense (but I won’t spoil you like the jacket copy!!) and in the way the characters are developed. You only get bits and pieces of them along the way.
Honestly, I can’t say enough about this book. I’ve been thinking about it ever since I put it down. I wish I was still reading it. Also, that ending—it was so beautiful and bittersweet. I cried. Books don’t often make me actually cry.
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