Title: City of Tranquil Light
Authors: Caldwell, Bo
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 287
Year: 2010
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Language: English
Description: Kuang P'ing Ch'ing, City of Tranquil Light, becomes the adopted home of Mennonite missionaries Will and Katherine Kieh. Set in the early 20th Century, this is the story of their mission to Northern China; their love and commitment to one another and the people they serve, and the faith that sustains them.

Told in alternating voices, this is a captivating read where hardships and challenges abound, played out against the backdrop of a country at war with itself. Based on the lives of the author's grandparents.

Comments from Groups:

The book was loved by the whole group - not often do we all like the book. A book of love - love for each other and their faith. Interesting look at the history of China at that time. An easy read, good writing, very believable characters. Auckland 116

Most members enjoyed the book. All commented on the devotion to the work and people shown by Katherine and Will. Christchurch 091

This book was a popular choice. We all thought the alternative voice structure was compelling. The picture of China was painted exceedingly well. The characterisation was great. Tauranga 016

All who read this book, without exception, enjoyed it enormously. We thought it beautifully and carefully written without sentimentality. A great read. Wellington 041

Worthwhile read and generally enjoyed. Considerable realism but disappointment that it was not a true account. Thought provoking. Lower Hutt 008

Everyone thought it was a good read. However some thought that the sacrifices and hardships the couples endured were more than intolerable and pointless, after China forbade all Christianity in the northern parts of China, in 1926. Havelock North 008

This book was enjoyed by all members. Most enjoyed the historical aspect and details of the differece in culture. The religious aspect of the story was not sufficient to deter our group from the enjoyment of the book overall. A strangely compelling read. Hikurangi 001

An interesting read for a group which includes a vicar and an atheist! A deeply expressive love story between two exceptionally brave people. Fernside 001

Although several of us approached this book with misgivings (not sure about religious theme), we all enjoyed the story, structure and empathy the author showed. One of the best books this year. Invercargill 002

Our group members enjoyed this book very much, particularly its style and the two voices giving us additional information. There was good insight into China's political history, and changing attitudes towards missionary and European intervention. We also liked reading the notes in the final section which gave us a lot of information about the writer and her grandparents' lives, which provided the source of her story. Doubtless Bay 002

We had a heated discussion about the zeal of the missionaries, and how they took incredible risks with their lives (and that of their families) in order to spread the word of Christianity. Christchurch 145

Categories: Fiction, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Grief/loss, Historical, Inspirational, Love story, Relationships, Religion, Social commentary/perspectives, China, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups


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By: WELL 168 2018-11-19 13:48:56
A Christian group - we all enjoyed this book and found the way Will and Katherine coped with their life in China said a lot for their faith. What was happening in China at the time added interest to the story.

By: WAIKA 010 2018-11-19 13:47:05
This book was enjoyed by everyone - we thought that the characters were excellent, believable and somewhat inspiring. Well-written in a very readable style.

By: WAIAU 002 2018-11-19 13:41:40
We all enjoyed this book very much - it was an amazing story and so well-written. It is a book we would highly recommend to other readers.

By: AUCK 020 2018-11-19 13:38:54
A very interesting book - all enjoyed it. The robber baron Hsiao Lao may have been an amalgam of several people - but we found all events in the narrative completely convincing.

By: AUCK 277 2018-11-19 13:36:20
The whole group thought this book was a very good read. The book read to us as "non fiction" rather than fiction, which shows the author's writing was extremely good. One member of the group felt the book was the best of the year.

By: TAUR 049 2018-11-19 13:32:25
A mixed reaction to this book especially with regard to how much might have been biographical and how much fiction. The author left a lot to the reader's imagination by not being too descriptive about many of the much harder aspects of their life.

By: WHAKA 017 2018-11-19 13:28:32
Our group really enjoyed this book. We admired the young missionary couple and all they achieved in China. The alternating voices of Will and Katherine worked well, and it was a rich and interesting story.

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