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The Library of Legends

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

A memorable and mesmerizing love story amid a backdrop of war, politics, and folklore



The students at Minghua University are ordered to evacuate as Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking in 1937. Nineteen-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates, a convoy of more than a hundred students, faculty, and staff must walk a thousand miles to the safety of China’s western provinces. It’s a journey marked by hunger, cold, and the constant threat of aerial attack.

The student are asked to carry a priceless treasure on the journey, a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends. This story is based on true events and rich in Chinese history and lore,

Lian finds friendship and a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is murdered and another arrested, Lian realizes she must escape from the convoy before a family secret puts her in danger. Accompanied by Shao and his maidservant Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai, hoping to reunite with her mother. On the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends, The Willow Star and the Prince.


The LIBRARY OF LEGENDS is a delighful and dramatic tale of a heroic effort to preserve China’s intellectual and cultural history. Can you imagine walking a thousand miles? Not only has author Janie Chang enlightened us with a piece of China’s history but she has also creatively woven in a part of China’s folklore into the story.

The writing is captivating, tender and entertaining. My favorite part was reading about the magically spirits and immortals that the caravan unknowingly passed on their journey. The three main characters, Lian, Shao, and Sparrow were each delightfully developed and draw you into the story. The story has something for, legends, murder, politics and history. A true gem of a novel.


Author Janie Chang has written two previous novels, Three Souls and Dragons Spring Road have been nominated for the 2019 international Dublin Literary Award. She was born in Taiwan, but has lived in the Philippines, Iran, Thailand, and New Zealand. She now lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband.

Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher William Morrow

Published May 12, 2020

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