LITERARY REVIEWS

Advance Praise for THE PERFECT TEA THIEF


"When haughty Scottish gardener Robert Fortune, who hated everything about China, set out for the Middle Kingdom during the Opium Wars as an employee of the British Horticultural Society and under the pretext of collecting flowers, he didn't anticipate that a formidable slip of a girl-warrior, Jadelin of the powerful House of Poe, would capture his closed heart.

Presuming himself immune to the power of love, Fortune pursues a secret mission that will, if successful, enable Britain to steal the secrets of China's coveted teas that had enabled its economy to prosper and dominate the tea industry. The deeper Fortune ventures into the forbidden inland mountains, the more he is seduced by the country he scorns until he, too, dresses and acts like the Chinese and speaks their language. He pursues Jadelin, oblivious of her deadly skills to protect her 5,000 year-old culture, and befriends her brother, unaware that he will prove to be both his savior and enemy.

The Chinese have a saying, "You don't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been." The Perfect Tea Thief takes the reader back to the source of the tensions today between China and the West in a fast-paced and captivating read based on the real life and letters of Robert Fortune."

—Barbara Bundy, PhD
Founding Executive Director Emerita, University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies

Praise for WHEN STRANGE GODS CALL
2005 Ka Palapala Po`okela Award - Winner


"Chun vividly evokes the lush, sensual land and effectively dramatizes
the conflict between old traditions and fast-paced modernity."
--Booklist Reviews

“Good family epic enlivened with a nice locale and a stiff dose of history”
--Kirkus Reviews

“Enjoy a curl-up-in-bed-with-a-good-book-read.”
--Francesca de Grandis, best-selling author of Be of Goddess and The Modern Goddess’ Guide to Life

“Pam Chun writes lovingly of Hawai`i—a land of beauty and tradition, where the scent of plumeria fills each page and a love once lost can be found again.”
--Gail Tsukiyama, best-selling author of 5 novels including Samurai’s Garden, Women of the Silk, Night of Many Dreams, and Dreaming Water

“A haunted Hawaii lush with passions of the past, culture clash, stormy spirits…The writing is lyrical, like a Hawaiian melody, the sense of place makes me ache for the islands, and the mystical love story is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, blessed by the gods.”
--Penny Warner, author of Dead Body Language, and the Mystery of the Haunted Caves.

“Chun makes the reader experience every exotic aspect of Hawi`i in this beautifully told love story.”
--Louise Snead, Editor & Publisher of Affaire de Coeur

“One is deluged with the fragrance of Hawaiian flowers and the tantalizing smells from the lu`au in this riveting love story, a timeless classic of opposing families, between East and West.”
--Terese Tse Bartholomew, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

“Set in Hawaii, this is a stirring romance that involves lovers from two feuding families with all the intrigue and friction of Romeo and Juliet. Yet, this conflict is heightened by a clash of cultures. Ageless Chinese family expectations battle with the lure of American individualism. The resulting struggle between generations and traditions, complicated by strong personal feelings and desires, draws the reader into this story wondering just how it will be resolved, and if it ever will.
--John Stucky, Librarian for the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

"Conflicting cultures and generations of two powerful families converge in this
irresistible East-West love story, when 'strange gods' call Miki Ai'Lee back to her native Hawai'i to confront decades of conflict and pain in a sensuous landscape rich with haunting stories.”
--Barbara Bundy, Ph.D., Executive Director, University of San Francisco Center for the Pacific Rim

"Chun vividly evokes the lush, sensual land and effectively dramatizes the conflict between old traditions and fast-pasted modernity."
Add one more title to the relatively small group of novels focusing on the exotic land and varied people of Hawaii. Fans of Kiana Davenport's Shark Dialogues (1994) and Kathleen Tyau's A Little Too Much is Enough (1995) will enjoy narrator Miki Ai'Lee's story of her Chinese Hawaiian family and its struggle to keep tradition alive while caught between their own tragic history and an uncertain future. Years ago, Miki fled Hawaii and her boyfriend to build a new life as a college professor in San Francisco. Her feelings for Alex Demmings never truly died, and when powerful spirits call her back to Hawaii, the love between them is rekindled. At the same time, Miki encounters opposition from her tightly knit family and finds herself forced to penetrate a wall of secrets to forge peace between the generations. Chun vividly evokes the
lush, sensual land and effectively dramatizes the conflict between old traditions and fast-paced modernity." (Jennifer Baker)
--Booklist Reviews

Affaire de Coeur
12/​2004 issue
“Miki Ai'Lee is the descendant of a long line of Chinese who settled
Hawaii. She grew up on Hawaii but left after college to live in San
Francisco. The illness of her grandmother, Popo, brought her back to her home
and family. It also brought her back to her first love, Alex Demming. Alex Demming is the descendant of missionaries who came to Hawaii convert the natives. After college he returned from the mainland and began to take over his family's business. It is believed that the Demming family is cursed, and their history is intertwined with the Ai'Lee family. From the
time the 'original' Ai'Lee and Demming vied for the affections of the same
woman, they have been enemies. Generation after generation have kept the
antagonism between the families going. However, Miki and Alex, despite their
families' disapproval, never saw the need to maintain a feud that was not of
their making.

Steeped in culture, Night Whispers features a writing style that is different--it quickly flashes from one scene to another. However, in those flashes were the all important foundations of the historical basis of the story. The love story between Mike and Alex takes a back seat to the lush descriptions and ambiance established by this talented writer. A sprinkle of the paranormal
adds to the rich legend magic. Chun makes the reader experience every exotic
aspect of Hawaii in this beautifully told love story.”

“Lovers of a good romance—especially a good romance set right here in Hawai’i—will snap up this book just as lovers of historical fiction did Pam Chun’s first book, ‘The Money Dragon’…This is one for a quiet weekend, a box of chocolates and the couch.”
--Honolulu Advertiser

THE MONEY DRAGON
2003 Ka Palapala Po`okela Award Honorable Mention


“Fast-paced and utterly addictive”
--Kirkus Review

“carefully researched and atmospherically evocative…
--Publisher’s Weekly

“A TV producer should buy the rights, NOW.”
--Honolulu Star-Bulletin

“—a good and engrossing story…a window to Honolulu’s little-known past.”
--Honolulu Advertiser

"...the American version of Raise the Red Lantern, a family saga on the triumph and fall of L.Ah Leong, the Money Dragon, and his family caught between his deeply rooted Chinese values and those of the New World. Pam Chun explores the delicate human relationship in this fascinating and powerful story. It is a jewel in American Chinese literature."
--Peter Xinping Zhou, University of California, Berkeley, Director of the East Asian Library

"THE MONEY DRAGON is a meticulously rendered chronicle of the rise and fall of a legendary Chinese-Hawaiian family. A cautionary tale about one man’s boundless ambition and appetite-for wealth, sex, and power."
-Aimee Liu, author of Solitaire, Face, and Cloud Mountain

"Pam Chun's family reminds me of my own in its eccentricities, ambitions, back-stabbing, and romance. THE MONEY DRAGON is a wonderful and entertaining contribution to the world of Asian-American stories."
-Lisa See, author of On Gold Mountain

“In this felicitous and imaginative re-telling of the story of her great grandfather and his family, Pam Chun offers a wonderful aloha --- a memory of Chinese American roots in Hawaii.”
--Ronald Takaki, author of Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans

"Carefully researched and lovingly crafted, THE MONEY DRAGON offers the reader a rare and fascinating opportunity to experience the transformation of Chinese and American cultures as the two are brought together in early twentieth century Hawai’i….So insightful and detailed are Pam Chun's portrayals of her family members that I found myself becoming part of that family and understanding the life and times from their eyes. THE MONEY DRAGON is a beautiful and inspiring novel that will serve as a landmark to Pam Chun’s authorship of many more that will hopefully follow."
--Tom McCullough, Senior Lecturer, Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley

"A great read of the clash of cultures, ambitions, and morals of a Chinese immigrant to Hawaii before Statehood."
--George E. Ong, Past President, Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce

"A truly inspiring novel of old Hawaii at the turn of the century, where the indomitable immigrant spirit, coupled with Chinese ingenuity, adapted to the Hawaiian society that was taken over by American culture."
--Terese Tse Bartholomew, Curator of Himalayan and Chinese Decorative Arts, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

"THE MONEY DRAGON is a captivating depiction of the struggle of Chinese emigrants in a new and not always sympathetic land…This is the story of the misunderstood immigrant striving for that which he hopes will rectify him. Nevertheless, he finds his wealth does not always allow him the respect he longs for. THE MONEY DRAGON, however, provides a new and fascinating twist on this tale of frustration and struggle. It’s a story that is hard to put down."
---John Stucky, Librarian, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco