24 June 2010

Little Paradise

by Gabrielle Wang

Penguin. Australian, Young Adult. Paperback rrp $19.95

This is a story of wonderful scope and scale. It will take you deep into the streets of early 1940s wartime Melbourne then sweep you all the way to China and back.

When Lei An decides to change her name to Mirabel, her mother reluctantly takes her to consult the soothsayer because ‘changing your name will change your whole destiny’. Something Mirabel’s mother knows all too well.

The words of the oracle bones provide no clues as to whether Mirabel’s future will be a happy one but as they follow her through life, there is an eerie certainty to their telling.

Mirabel is ready to embrace change. Not only in her name, but to grow up, fall in love and travel. It is not easy when your life spans two cultures and the world is at war. Mirabel falls in love with a Chinese soldier stationed in Melbourne. Their relationship is a secret and after JJ leaves, Mirabel finds she is pregnant. Her family are horrified and ashamed but Mirabel refuses to give up her baby or her love. She fought for her name and she fights for the destiny it promised. Is love and courage enough to help her find her way across China in the midst of Civil War?

Lei An is a good daughter but Mirabel is much more - a true heroine – a friend, a sister, a daughter, a mother and wife. Her story is a journey that sometimes made me cry and other times had me turning the pages as fast as I could. Highly recommended as a book for readers from teenage to adult.



  1. Sounds like an emotional story - maybe the kind to save for a rainy weekend (paired with an endless source of tim tams :)

  2. Definitely a Tim Tam kind of book although I suspect it (the book) won't last all weekend. Too good to put down.