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23 September 2021

Book Review: The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt *AD gifted

I was provided with a free copy of The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt ahead of the blog tour.

It has been a while since I read a Rachael Stewart book that wasn't a Dare title, and Surprise Reunion with His Cinderella was a reminder that this author can do it all. And there's a giveaway that I wish I could enter, because the goodies look incredible.

The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt book cover

Forbidden friendship, political conspiracy and incendiary passion draw Australian woman Annie Brand deep into the glamour and turmoil of 1920s Shanghai.

Leaving behind the loneliness and trauma of her past in country Australia, Annie Brand arrives to the political upheaval and glittering international society of Shanghai in the 1920s. Journeying up the Yangtze with her new husband, the ship's captain, Annie revels in the sense of adventure but when her husband sends her back to Shanghai, her freedom is quickly curtailed.

Against her will, Annie finds herself living alone in the International Settlement, increasingly suffocated by the judgemental Club ladies and their exclusive social scene: one even more restrictive than that she came from. Sick of salacious gossip and foreign condescension, and desperate to shake off the restrictions of her position in the world, Annie is slowly drawn into the bustling life and otherness of the real Shanghai, and begins to see the world from the perspective of the local people, including the servants who work at her husband's Club.

But this world is far more complex and dangerous than the curious Annie understands and, unknowingly, she becomes caught in a web of intrigue and conspiracy as well as a passionate forbidden love affair she could not have predicted: one with far–reaching consequences...

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Belonging, love, change, Shanghai, travel.


The Shanghai Wife is a excellent book to read as the seasons shift.

At the start I loved the quiet budding relationship between Annie and Alec, even though I knew from the blurb that it wouldn't last. I loved the respect and care, and I feel like the river setting was perfect for them.

Annie is very much a product of her time and her upbringing - I loved her open-mindedness and how willing she was to change and try to effect change around her, even if she didn't put in much effort. She was open and kind and I loved her for it, even if her naivety had me wanting to hold her by the shoulders and give her a good shake. I liked her small acts of kindness to those around her, but they didn't always have the consequences she expected and at times it was heart-breaking.

I feel like this is a bit of a book of two parts, and they felt very different. The beginning, on he Yangtze river, had me enthralled. I loved the descriptions, the landscape, how it shaped the characters. Moving back to Shanghai I was less enamoured by the setting but definitely still gripped by the story.

The story is pretty fast paced, but at the same time felt slow. It was weird but enchanting, and I loved the writing style.

By the end, Annie is a completely different person, and I loved the journey she took as a character and the way she developed.

I'll definitely be reading more by Emma Harcourt.



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