“Detailed and evocative, a beautiful multi-layered story of friendship and love, family and loyalty. The smells, sounds and tastes of wartime Shanghai are richly re-imagined but it’s the courage of the young women - past and present — which makes the book unforgettable.”

Sally Hepworth, international bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives and The Mother-in-Law.

1939: Two young girls meet in Shanghai, also known as the “Paris of the East”. Beautiful local Li and Jewish refugee Romy form a fierce friendship, but the deepening shadows of World War II fall over the women as they slip between the city's glamorous French Concession district and the teeming streets of the Shanghai Ghetto. Yet soon the realities of war prove to be too much for these close friends as they are torn apart. 

2016: Fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm. Her grandfather is dying, and over the coming weeks Romy and Wilhelm begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century. As fragments of her mother's history finally become clear, Alexandra struggles with what she learns while more is also revealed about her grandmother's own past in Shanghai.

After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents' past. Peeling back the layers of their hidden lives, she is forced to question what she knows about her family—and herself. 

The Song of the Jade Lily is a lush, provocative, and beautiful story of friendship, motherhood, the price of love, and the power of hardship and courage that can shape us all.

The research behind the novel.

“The narrative of this book employs the best attributes of fiction and authenticity to seamlessly span two unique worlds, past and present. As a result, it is a compelling read as well as richly informative.

“Like Horst, I was very pleased to be asked to share our individual, and unusual, stories of our Shanghai experiences. All of us from that milieu believe that we grew up in a unique city at a most unique time in history, never to be repeated!”

Sam Moshinsky, author of Goodbye Shanghai: A Memoir


“I was impressed that Kirsty has been able to become so well-informed on the situation faced by many who had to find refuge in the only city where anyone could arrive without a visa or permit. Kirsty has done very well in bringing this experience to the wider public in a most readable and certainly interesting novel.”

Horst Eisfelder, author of Chinese Exile: My Years in Shanghai and Nanking


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Australia/NZ edition out now

'...compelling, passionate and admirable.'
Australian Women's Weekly

Online-Order (Australia and NZ) 

Paperback editions will be available from all good bookshops from 24 April 2018. 

In the meantime, you can pre-order copies to be uploaded/sent on the release date.