THE PORCELAIN PAGODA by F. N. Monjo

THE PORCELAIN PAGODA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Although Kitty McAllister frets about being left on shipboard while father and the men go ashore, she's generally a gracious and entertaining guide to the world of 1823 which she is lucky enough to see when her whole family goes along on a trading voyage to Canton. Unfortunately the readership that's disposed to appreciate her breathless descriptions of the Sandwich Islands under King Liholiho, her mother's stand against the opium trade, or the inside view of the hongs at Canton (this last based on actual reports by the first English-speaking women to penetrate the Chinese mainland) is unlikely to be swept along with Kitty when she exchanges her worshipful crush on Lord Byron for a headlong romance with smuggler Captain Derek Van Deventer. The background is Monjo at his best, serving an effervescent mix of historical detail and wide-eyed naivete, but when Kitty breaks out of the observer's role to pursue her Derek her flightiness is trying. Not everyone will appreciate Monjo's playful condescension to his heroine; however a minority of readers who can take it all in the spirit of gamesmanship will be amused.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1976
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Viking