Once upon a time at Wake Robin Farm in Oregon, I was miraculously pregnant with our first child.
That same summer, on the Li River in Southern China, a pretty woman exactly my age was also expecting. She and her husband were both artists.
Our child, born in August, was a son. Theirs, born in October, a daughter.
Twenty-two years later these children, now grown, would meet in Beijing.
The girl from Yangshuo had been studying English.
Our son, traveling with a university program, was rapidly become proficient in both Mandarin and Cantonese.
These two could talk to each other. They could fall in love. And did.
This is their story.
Everything in this book actually happened, even the lovely, fateful coincidences.
Advanced praise for WEDDING IN YANGSHUO
In this warm and charming memoir, Linda Crew, the accomplished author of the award-winning Children of the River, sweeps the reader along on a winding East-West love story past high, humbling barriers of custom, culture, and continent, while vividly recreating the daunting enterprise of cross-cultural wedding planning in China’s most scenic city. Wedding in Yangshuo is a fascinating account, charted along the course of the surprising, serendipitous river of life, and Linda Crew proves a more than gifted guide….
Walter Smith, ESL, Language Arts Providence, RI.
Wedding in Yangshuo is lovely and large-hearted and funny and happy and full of real life being lived by real people….
Theresa Nelson, The Year We Sailed the Sun.
Told with a compelling balance of love, humor, wonder, and even fear, Wedding in Yangshuo pulled me in from page one. This story of a couple traveling to attend their son's wedding in China—quintessential strangers in a strange land—had me tearing up one minute and laughing out loud the next at the cultural differences and oddly, the cultural similarities. A heartfelt memoir to remind us of the power of motherly love, for which there is no cultural divide….
Randall Platt, The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die.
Judge's Commentary from the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Competition:
Beautiful entry into the story, with the settings for the son's and daughter's births. We are placed in a momentous moment of time, and we feel the connection between the families as a 'lovely, fateful coincidence.' Gorgeous realism and reflection. Well done. Ziwei's letter at the start conveys a sense of respect and wishing, and we find her grasp of the English language endearing while we also get an immersion into the mother's fine sense of equality as she says she couldn't do better with Chinese characters. Well done. We feel an openness here and are happy to delve into this story. Author excels at illustrating settings, and breathing sensory details into them. We get a sense of the rain, the air, scents, the visual, all working together to place us in the scene. Dialogue is fresh and natural, creating layers for the characters, and we leap across any sense of fear or worry for the couple as we're immersed into fascinating elements of Chinese culture and the bride's family's values. Very well done. Pace is lovely, as author's instinct for structuring the story shines, and we spend just the right amount of time in each scene. There are no lulls in the middle, as can sometimes affect narrative. Well done. Author does a fine job of explaining words and phrases such as the qipao, and we're treated to the author's inner dialogue as a refreshing realism for each. Lovely! Some gorgeous phrasing in here, such as the 'full comprehension of the state of the floor,' which gives us movement and character POV. Such a lovely exploration into another culture, tied together with unforgettable interactions, questions about cultural norms and history, a lovely touch of humor in dialogue ('cougar') and kindness and parental hope and optimism. Well done. Author's writing voice has great energy and positivity, multiply faceted, and author has devoted great time and care to enlivening and layering all other characters as well. Beautiful crafting.