Book Review: "Song of the Silk Road" by Mingmei Yip

Summary from As a girl growing up in Hong Kong, Lily Lin was captivated by photographs of the desert--its long, lonely vistas and shifting sand dunes. Now living in New York, Lily is struggling to finish her graduate degree when she receives an astonishing offer. An aunt she never knew existed will pay Lily a huge sum to travel across China's desolate Taklamakan Desert--and carry out a series of tasks along the way.

Intrigued, Lily accepts. Her assignments range from the dangerous to the bizarre. Lily must seduce a monk. She must scrape a piece of clay from the famous Terracotta Warriors, and climb the Mountains of Heaven to gather a rare herb. At Xian, her first stop, Lily meets Alex, a young American with whom she forms a powerful connection. And soon, she faces revelations that will redefine her past, her destiny, and the shocking truth behind her aunt's motivations. .

I have been looking for more books that deal with Asian American characters and stories. I was eager to find out about this book because not only does it deal with Asian culture but it's also a travelogue novel as well. The reader gets to experience a trip to China and learn about the customs and culture while discovering Lily's story at the same time.

It's a journey of self discovery for Lily. An aunt that she has never heard about has left her money for her to travel to China and perform certain tasks along the way before meeting her. She not only learns more about her own desires and her inner self, but she learns about her background and heritage as well. It's a lot to take in when you are totally unprepared and unsure of what the future holds but Lily takes up the challenge. While she is in the middle of her adventure, she keeps running into a young man named Alex. The two form a connection, even though Lily keeps trying to deny that it doesn't exist. She reluctantly begins to feel affection for him while he is meanwhile head over heels in love with her to the point of asking her to marry him.

There is quite a bit of sex in the book, a little more than I normally like when I'm reading. It's not as graphic as erotica but it might be a little much for some. It's rather sad to see Lily be used as the mistress of her professor and a bit infuriating that he sees her as the stereotypical Asian submissive woman. I was pleasantly pleased with where that relationship headed. Meanwhile it's different with Alex because even though she resists at first, she does begin to care and then eventually loves him.

The revelation of the story is emotional especially when you learn everything about Lily's past and the history of her family. Asian culture is so multi-layered and it's sad how things tend to happen. The story however is rich in detail and I really enjoyed traveling to China through the book. People and places come alive and there is much to learn in this book about the culture (such as food). This is the first book from Yip that I have read and I'm interested now in reading more from her.

Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip is published by Kensington (2011)

This ARC was provided by a publicist

I'm able to give away one copy of this book provided by the publicist. To enter, you must fill out the form below. This contest is open to US entrants only. Winner will be picked Friday April 29.

PLEASE use the form only to enter the contest. For any comments about the book, review, etc. please use the comments link at the bottom of the post. All information must be filled out correctly or else your entry will not count. (ie. you must use FULL name and list your mailing address). Your info will only be used for this contest and will be deleted after the contest is over.


  1. Thank you for entering me.

  2. Anonymous10:36 AM

    Thank you for a chance to win this.


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