We’re excited to share that we’ve selected Jamie Ford’s magnificent novel The Many Daughters of Afong Moy as our August title for our #BooksMakeLifeBetter book club with Simon & Schuster Canada.

In this mesmerizing and thought-provoking story about mothers and daughters, and the powerful exploration of the love that binds one family across the generations, Ford drops readers into different locations and eras in time (from 1836-2045), revealing the eerie and breathtaking similarities between five generations of Chinese American women.  

While the novel is fictional, it’s based on the real life story of Afong Moy, the first known Chinese woman to set foot in the United States, and seamlessly weaves in a compelling narrative of magic, mystery, love, heartache and trauma. Ford explores whether the “contour and texture of our lives are shaped-in part-by some form of genetic predetermination”. It’s a completely fascinating idea that will have readers looking back at their own ancestry, questioning the common threads that are identifiable, even if life experiences are vastly different.

Without further ado, the synopsis:

Dorothy Moy breaks her own heart for a living.

As Washington’s former poet laureate, that’s how she describes channeling her dissociative episodes and mental health struggles into her art. But when her five-year-old daughter exhibits similar behaviour and begins remembering things from the lives of their ancestors, Dorothy believes the past has truly come to haunt her. Fearing that her child is predestined to endure the same debilitating depression that has marked her own life, Dorothy seeks radical help.

Through an experimental treatment designed to mitigate inherited trauma, Dorothy intimately connects with past generations of women in her family: Faye Moy, a nurse in China serving with the Flying Tigers; Zoe Moy, a student in England at a famous school with no rules; Lai King Moy, a girl quarantined in San Francisco during a plague epidemic; Greta Moy, a tech executive with a unique dating app; and Afong Moy, the first known Chinese woman to set foot in America.

As painful recollections affect her present life, Dorothy discovers that trauma isn’t the only thing she’s inherited. A stranger is searching for her in each time period. A stranger who’s loved her through all of her genetic memories. Dorothy endeavours to break the cycle of pain and abandonment, to finally find peace for her daughter, and gain the love that has long been waiting, knowing she may pay the ultimate price.

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is an absolutely gripping and exhilarating novel that will instantly pull you into different worlds, and have you looking at everything a little differently. Buy your copy and read along with us, or enter to win a copy, when we launch our contest later this week. We’re very excited about the prize, which obviously includes the book, but also something else, to take this month’s book club to a deeper level.