I carried this book around for awhile before actually starting it, but once I finally got past the first few pages I ended up reading the book in one day. I feared and worried about Adeline and felt pain for the cruel treatment she received.

The unnecessary death of a loved pet was absolutely shocking and heartbreaking, it was in this moment that I felt the worst for poor Adeline. Towards the end of the novel, however, I began to lose sympathy for her. Her obsession over the will and constant protest that the money wasn’t important but then happily accepting money from her siblings felt false. Although, I understand that she just wanted to be included it was difficult to believe her motives when she obsessed over the money.

Even with an ending that felt insincere, overall this book evoked feelings of sadness, shock, and heartbreak. I can’t imagine the pain of living your life knowing you were unwanted in your family. Unfortunately for Adeline, her family was dysfunctional at best and overall seemingly incapable of true love or affection.

I enjoyed green tea that my father-in-law brought back from China. The green tea sweetened with honey was a warm and comforting treat to a book about a very cold family. Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah gives great insights into life in China during the 1900s, shows how painful it can be to be unwanted, and proves that you can endure even bleak circumstances.

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