Working as a servant to help her family becomes unbearable when Li Jun’s lecherous master makes it clear he plans to take advantage of her. As a Chinese woman in the 1880s, Li Jun has few other options. She makes a daring escape by disguising herself as a boy and living as a street urchin. When she hears of an opportunity to travel to British Columbia to work on the railroad, she realizes this could be the chance she has longed for: to follow in her father’s footsteps and discover what has kept him from returning home.
As Little Tiger, Li Jun befriends James, the son of a railway tycoon, and promises to help him secure enough workers for the job. She proves to be an invaluable team member and a good friend to James, but the draw between them extends beyond the boundaries of work and friendship. Still, Li Jun can’t allow anything to prevent her from finding out where her father is, and what has happened to him, even if she has to confront his killer to do so.
Last fall my husband and I took a trip to Vancouver and Alaska for the first time. I’ve since fallen in love with the history of the area—places and people I had never known about before. Though this is a work of fiction, I enjoyed being able to glimpse the landscape of the 1880s and in particular, the development of the railroad in Canada. Li Jun is clever and brave, an easy heroine to admire, and the mystery of what has happened to her father pulls the story forward through the historical setting and kept me guessing all the way to the end.
At a little over two hundred pages, this novel was a quick read. I think I read it in one evening.
Brief strong profanity.
Li Jun’s master gropes her in a dark garden. It’s clear he means to do more, and she’s afraid. Li Jun and James share a moment together in his room. She removes her top, and they fall into his bed, but she stops him from removing her pants.
Some references to Chinese culture and beliefs concerning the souls of family members who’ve died. The bones or ashes of the dead must be returned home to China or else the person’s soul will wander forever.
Dangerous men try to hurt James and Li Jun. Short description of mining accidents. There’s not a lot of gore or graphic explanation.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.