The Fire Horse Girl
The Fire Horse Girl
By Kay Honeyman
Arthur A. Levine Books, Hardcover, 9780545403108, 336pp.
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Then a young man named Sterling Promise offers Jade Moon and her father a chance to go to America. While Sterling Promise's smooth manners couldn't be more different from her impulsive nature, Jade Moon falls in love with him on the long voyage. But America in 1923 doesn't want many Chinese immigrants, and when they are detained at Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West," she discovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. To get into America, much less survive there, Jade Moon will have to use all her stubbornness and will to break a new path... one so brave and dangerous, only a Fire Horse girl could imagine it.
"Seventeen-year-old Jade Moon was born in 1906, the year of the Fire Horse, an ominous sign for Chinese girls. It signals willfulness, stubbornness, and impetuousness, all characteristics that embarrass her father and grandfather and cause derision and cruelty by her too small village. So when Sterling Promise, a long- lost adopted cousin, appears and proposes a plan to immigrate to America using false “paper son” papers, Jade Moon and her father agree. Jade Moon views this offer as escape and freedom; her father as the only opportunity to marry off his undesirable daughter. The interminable boat ride—and even more onerous imprisonment off California’s Angel Island—finally transition to her treacherous entry into America. Jade Moon’s disguise as a young man and her homelessness pave the way for her involvement with the tong, a Chinese organized crime syndicate, and breath-taking danger at every turn. First-time author Honeyman has researched the history of Angel Island and early twentieth century San Francisco carefully, yet the ultimate strength of this story is in her character Jade Moon. Her voice, authentic and consistent, transcends this historical fiction/adventure/love story to embrace every young woman who has ever searched for the real person hidden under the veneer of society’s expectations." - Frances Bradburn, Booklist starred review