Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Posted By amy @ 6:27 am | No Comments
by Jeffrey L. Staley
Publication Date: August 20, 2018
Paperback, eBook, & Audiobook
Genre: Historical Fiction
Based upon events in the life of the author’s wife’s grandmother, Gum Moon (Cantonese for “Gold Door” or “Golden Gate”) is the remarkable coming of age story of a Chinese-American girl, Mei Chun Lai, who is sold in 1898 at the age of three to a cruel brothel keeper. A sympathetic prostitute befriends Chun, but during a plague quarantine, Chun is thrust into a bewildering new world when she is rescued by a friend of Donaldina Cameron and placed in a Home for abused and trafficked girls. The Home is destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, but Chun (aka “Maud”) survives. In an attempt to raise funds to rebuild the Home, Maud and a group of seven other Chinese children embark on a cross-country singing tour. Performing for President Theodore Roosevelt is the highlight of the journey, but when the matron of the Home suffers a breakdown, thirteen-year-old Maud must find within herself the strength and resolve to lead the band of children home.
About the Author
I am the official historian of the real “Gum Moon” in San Francisco, whose full name is “Gum Moon Women’s Residence.” Today, “Gum Moon,” along with the “Asian Women’s Resource Center” are projects of the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. But in the time period I am writing about (1890s-1910s), the Methodist women’s work in San Francisco Chinatown focused primarily upon the rescue of trafficked girls. My wife’s grandmother was one of these girls, sold to a brothel keeper when she was about two years old. My wife’s grandmother never told her story to her three daughters, and as I uncovered more and more fragments of her story, I decided I had to dedicate my novel to all the trafficked Chinese girls 1870-1920 whose descendants likewise never heard their stories.
This is my first work of fiction. I am a biblical scholar by trade, with a deep interest in the intersection of Bible and film. My most recent academic (nonfiction) publications all have to do with Bible and film.
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