In her debut, Wong's winning romance is set in Shanghai in the 1930s. Escaping Hitler's Germany, Jewish doctor Henri Neumann finds that an accidental encounter and Chinese medicine lead to shared interests with young herbalist Peilin. But Peilin's previous marriage provides both a symbolic and practical cultural barrier to the evolution of their relationship. A political clash emerges as Peilin's brother, Ping, rejects Henri's decision to flee his country, opting instead to fight the Japanese army. The insights into Chinese culture and medicine that Wong provides are well rendered, and the somewhat formulaic roles of many characters do not detract from an engrossing narrative. While philosophic questions outweigh human interest in this fascinating tale, Wong proves a gifted writer.