I post book reviews as often as possible but at least once a week every Wednesday! I hope they help you to find some new books that you'll love as much as I did!
Today is my stop on the blog tour for Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops!
It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother - and then vanishes.
Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn't rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love.
But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it's Amy's turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister's movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy's complicated family - and herself - than she ever could have imagined.
I was extremely intrigued by the synopsis for Searching for Sylvie Lee and although unsure of what exactly to expect, I was looking forward to this different approach to my usual genre. I immediately fell in love with the way Kwok writes, the whole book is so beautifully written. It strikes the perfect balance of page-turning suspense and heartbreakingly moving moments which makes it utterly compelling.
The portrayal of this immigrant family was thoughtful and sensitive, while the themes that arose from this were deftly explored. I found the ideas around family to be particularly thought-provoking and the book left me reflecting on what it means to truly know someone.
The central mystery was clever and gripping and although I worked out some elements, it didn’t take away from the overall experience of reading this book and I was hooked until the end.
Overall, I’m giving Searching for Sylvie Lee 4.5 out of 5. It’s poignant, suspenseful and so very powerful. An absolute must-read.
This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review
About the Author
Jean Kwok is a New York Times and international bestselling, award-winning author. She has been selected for numerous honours, including the Sunday Times Short Story Award shortlist. She immigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn when she was five, and worked in a Chinatown clothing factory for much of her childhood.
In November 2009, her older brother Kwan, a highly successful MIT graduate who had encouraged Jean to write since childhood, disappeared, failing to come home for Thanksgiving. Inspired by Jean’s own story and those of thousands of immigrants like her, Searching for Sylvie Lee was born out of her love for her brilliant brother.
Jean is trilingual, fluent in Dutch, Chinese, and English, and studied Latin for seven years. She lives in the Netherlands with her husband, two sons and four cats.
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