Land of Hope (Journey to the West #3)
Book Blurb: Every year, millions of illegal immigrants cross borders in search of wealth, happiness and a life of ease in the Land of Hope. Some succeed. Others suffer unimaginable hardships. When Jack Gordon, Inspector in the SCS (Serious Crime Squad) hires Pearl Zhang, a professional Chinese interpreter, they join forces to fight injustice in the corrupt underworld of international crime, human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Pearl is the voice of broken dreams, translating raw, deranged, and colorful tales of those who cannot speak for themselves. As Pearl gets more and more tangled in the lives of strangers, Jack becomes a welcome diversion, complicated by the fact that both are married. Their trans-continental roller-coaster ride derails when Pearl tumbles into the sinister world of her clients, a world full of secrets, lies, and unspeakable violence – only this time, it’s directed at her. Can she depend on Jack? Find out in this third and final book of Junying Kirk’s “Journey to the West” trilogy。
Superb Book!! It draws you in and makes you part of it 5 Stars By Anouar I have just finished reading this book.The pace of Junying’s novel is so fast and captivating.Being an interpreter and an immigrant myself,I was amazed by the author’s insight into the human spirit.
Absorbing, Informative and Heart Wrenching, 5 Stars By Mrs. J. Lobb “Janella” (UK)
Although I started with the third book in the series, I didn’t feel as though I was missing something in the background detail. The main character of the book is Pearl Zhang, a Chinese (Mandarin) interpreter who works with the police and social services agencies throughout the UK. Pearl is a well rounded character who immigrated to the UK many years earlier and is currently separated and dealing with relationship issues with her husband, Andrew, whom she is still very much attached to.
Kirk uses Pearl’s job as a catalyst to explore the lives of different individuals who have moved from China to the UK for a plethora of different reasons. As each of these cross Pearl’s professional path we are given a preview into their own world in China where we find what prompted them to move to the UK, the conditions they moved in, their hopes and dreams, and the lives they now share here. The descriptive imagery is very vivid in this book. At times we are plunged into the restrictions of Chinese society, prostitution, and the harsh realities of human trafficking. Some of the stories are heartbreakingly painful, others cruel and sinister as we get to know the individual characters and follow their journey, however Pearl’s background and social conscience leads her to empathise and attempt to help them throughout. This coupled with her own professional and personal struggles, not mention love interests, makes for a very interesting read. I find it hard to box this book into a particular genre. It does run alongside police investigations but, although it is a fairly fast moving tale with a nice suspenseful twist at the end, it doesn’t feel like your archetypal thriller. It is more a tale of Chinese culture and society and the differences individuals faced between their thoughts of the west and their actual experiences living here. I’d certainly recommend this character driven novel. Kirk has a very easy writing style that manages to paint the picture in the reader’s mind without being overly descriptive. It’s absorbing, informative and heart wrenching in places. I have the first in the series on my reading list and look forward to see how Pearl’s character begins her story.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the `Journey to the West’ trilogy and this finale has been a fantastic conclusion. My only sadness is that I have come to the end! With expert character development and intricate interweaving plot lines, Kirk’s description of a rollercoaster ride from humble beginnings in a closed China to the west, excitement and adventure has kept me enthralled at every turn. Although I have tried to ration myself, I have devoured this final instalment far too quickly and sincerely hope that Kirk delivers us another treat shortly.
Dynamic 5 Stars By Sandra Lynne Padgett
This is the story of a Chinese woman pursuing her continuing education by emigrating to England and working for a PhD there. She eventually gets her degree and takes a job as a police interpreter. This job takes her to all kinds of places and situations, many of them quite stressful and heartbreaking at the same time. She is married and the stress of her job comes between her and her husband. Various other story lines involve body trafficking, sexual exploitation, money laundering. Many people emigrate from China hoping for a better life. China has been a poor country for so long, people go elsewhere such as England to make money to send back to help support their families still in China. The characters are well drawn with good dynamics between the main characters. The story is tightly plotted and keeps your attention throughout. Every piece of the story is there for a reason. I have thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it to any and all.
Having not read the first two books, I went into this with a fresh head and without any idea about the recurring characters featured, such as Pearl and Andrew. Needless to say I was a virgin to this trilogy! Land of Hope delves into a cruel, sinister and very much darkened world of human trafficking and prostitution. Dr Pearl Church meets a variety of characters from her native China along the way, in her interpreting role, and finds out things about their lives that would make anybody’s skin crawl… it certainly did with me!Junying’s masterful use of the English language sucks you into the lives of these unfortunate people, giving you a raw insight into the world of international crime as well as the hardships that they face. To them their only hope is to do whatever they can to escape the cruel and tough life they have left behind and seek out new lives in the `Land of Hope’ that is the United Kingdom.I went into this book with knowledge that there was a dark and gritty back drop but I was still shocked at what I discovered as I went from one page to another. Regardless of such gloom, I never had an issue with reading about such things or neither did I feel that it was too much. A genre such as this is something I have never read before and to find myself immersed in this world with such ease is, in my opinion, the sign of a top quality writer – Junying can pull anyone into this world and guarantee a worthwhile experience.
The book mixes all these harsh reality checks with a passionate love affair that is more than enough to please any reader. Pearl and Inspector Jack Gordon venture into realms of forbidden pleasure when their paths cross when her talents of interpretation are required. The speed at which these two characters become entwined conjured up three apt words in my mind – `Spontaneous Sexual Combustion’. The instantaneous heat between them was such a hook for me to be caught up on. The entire book took me on one journey to the next with deep and insightful views into the pasts and backgrounds of every character, all of whom interlace to make a dark, yet satisfying tapestry that is no doubt the crowning achievement of the trilogy. It all spirals towards an ending that is undeniably bittersweet, but to find out why you will have to venture forth and read the book for yourselves. *Hint hint*
A totally, captivating, and powerfully potent suspense thriller.
The book is cleverly written with the emotions, lives and outcomes of all the main characters, interpreted and told through the eyes of the books’ main character, Pearl Zhang, the story sucks you in immediately.
We are introduced to the main character Pearl Zhang, a Mandarin Language Interpreter working with law enforcement and social service agencies in the United Kingdom. Pearl’s life is at a crossroads on professional and personal levels. Forced out of her previous successful career, Pearl has launched a new career for herself working closely with these agencies, all the while she is dealing with the pain of being recently separated from the love of her life, Husband Andrew.Pearl’s separation, loneliness and self-doubts lead her into the arms of Detective Inspector Jack Gordon, a former military hero, but a similarly work obsessed character. Their steamy and seductive chemistry is only outdone by their own self doubts and loneliness, sharply brought into contrast, with the dramatic and sometimes graphic stories of the other characters in the book.
Kirk, uses Pearl’s character to narrate the story, and introduces the reader to the dark and painful world of human trafficking, where individual stories are sometimes heartbreaking and often frustrating in their outcomes, as public and private agencies fight, often valiantly, but often with little or no useful result, to help men, women, and children who have been kidnapped, tricked, or forced by violence; into a world they never wanted or can handle. Passionate and committed to her work, Pearl finds her involvement with these human stories intensely personal and leads her to question the motivations and morality of the Snakeheads(Traffickers), and how they can subject innocent helpless people, to such brutal and horrific treatment on every level.
Kirk, does a wonderful job of developing the book’s characters, showing the reader increasingly significant cracks in Pearl’s thoughts and feelings, the more she delves into the fascinating cast of characters created by the author. Pearl’s interaction and sense of personal responsibility and commitment for the truth, and assisting these helpless people sometimes; creates situations of powerful over-dependence by each character on Pearl, beyond her professional instincts.It is often this mental and emotional battle between her professional role, and her personal moral and emotional uncertainty that provides; the most unexpected and shocking of consequences for the book’s characters and indeed, Pearl herself.
The author has taken a very complex and challenging modern issue, and expertly treated it with a clear compassion and detailed understanding, enabling the reader to discover harsh realities of the brutal and often little addressed issue of human trafficking.It is a book of extremes with characters of ultra confidence and manipulative brilliance, through to the petrified characters often deeply emotionally troubled, due to the nature of their experiences and life’s reflections. The book contains many frightening, unfortunate, and true messages, told with imaginative twists and turns.
We often read fictional thrillers in the pursuit and desire for escapism for ourselves however; by the time the reader is introduced to each character and personal story, you will find yourself egging on the vulnerable to succeed in their desire to escape and seek a better life.
Money being the root of all evils, the irony is that the evil incarcerators and those incarcerated is their need to fulfil one common desire – earn money. The author captures this forcefully when using Deng Xiao Ping’s quote, `Getting Rich is Glorious’. Glorious for those who have it, and glorious for those who may get it, due to the dreadful life they would escape.Each personal story in the book is absorbing and testimony to the author’s knowledge of the subject matter and intelligent writing. Each person, like all immigrants believe “The Land of Hope” in Europe, Japan or the USA will be the answer to their problems. Too often immigrants only realise that the life they left behind, was in many ways, better then the life they now find themselves exposed to. They can only think pleasant things in their dreams and hold onto the happiness of home in their hearts, not their day to day reality.The book is absorbing, cleverly written, and fast-paced style throughout with an informative and educational element driven by great characters. The book is powerful in its culmination with an action packed yet, heart tugging ending. It leaves the reader considering this very real world issue and yet, the characters are so credible, you are left wondering if there is an Ah Fang, Madam Lin or even a Dragon in your locality.
One final note, at the outset of the book, the author provides a very useful guide to Chinese names, to assist the reader with a better understanding of how Chinese names compared to Western names. This proves very useful especially for those persons not familiar with the subtle differences.A highly recommended read.
Although The Land of Hope is the third book in the author’s trilogy, Journey to the West, this book has no trouble standing alone. I will be going back to read Same Moon and Trials of Life.
Pearl, the main character and narrator has moved on after leaving, forcefully her successful career and has landed as an interpreter for law enforcement as well as other agencies while struggling with the heartache of being separated from the love of her life Andrew. Page after page Junying reveals each of her characters layers, one at a time artfully drawing us in until we are emotionally, intertwined and invested in this story and its characters. Right before our eyes Pearl becomes a real, breathing human being with flaws, passion and the age- old, soul born struggle of good verses evil. You may find yourself disagreeing with some of her choices, yet you will cheer her on and wonder what is coming next. You will swear you can hear Pearls as well as the other characters hearts beating louder with each turning of the page.
This story is one of fiction yet it is deeply rooted in truth. The struggles of illegal immigrants is real, gritty and beyond shocking. Human beings that leave everything they own and loved ones to cross borders into other lands, not just America but all over the world and can easily find themselves victims of the world’s most dark, notorious criminals. They can be sexually exploited, financially devastated and/or sold into slavery.
Junying does not just `touch on’ the politically charged topic she dives right into what I personally believe is our worlds most current, egregious and under reported crimes against humanity of all time, the epidemic of human trafficking. Parts of this book were painful and quite difficult for me to read through because of my own past but I applaud and congratulate Junying for finding the words that will shine a very bright light on a very dark reality. This book will emotionally affect you, it will bring every ounce of compassion and empathy you hold in your soul to the surface and leave you deep in thought.
This is a story that needs to be told and it reveals to us the torment suffered by vulnerable illegal immigrants who are ensnared into slavery by human traffickers; the author gives us a powerful insight into this dark trade. Although this book tells some poignant tales it is also an emotional love story; an interesting vibrant read.
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Land of Hope is the third of a trilogy of thrilling books. I say “thrilling” even though I didn’t read the first two yet, but if they are of any resembling caliber as this; thrilling is the appropriate word. If traveling the world via literary works interests you, this will not disappoint you as it exposes you to east (China) meets west backdrops. There’s even a romance woven into the fast paced thriller. The most appealing facet of this book is how its fictional storyline depicts the dark reality of a very serious global problem today: human trafficking. The number of people, mostly young girls, being abducted and sexually exploited and/or forced into labor is unbelievable. Junying Kirk not only provides a well written and entertaining story, but she helps to increase the awareness of one of today’s darkest realities. When fiction can impact reality in positive ways, it needs to be shared with as many people possible. I hope this will be the case with this book.
Katy Sozaeva rated it 4 Stars
Mariam Kobras rated it 5 Stars
Eri Nelson rated it 5 Stars
JJ Collins rated it 5 Stars
Andy Wood rated it 5 Stars
Madeline Sloane rated it 4 Stars