This gripping narrative of separation and longing, loss and reunion, is played out between the years 1946 and 1949, in the political and societal upheaval of Mao Tse-Tung's Communist Revolution. The author's father and mother, Anglican missionaries from New England, having seized the opportunity to teach at Huachung University in Wuchang, China, had entered a community of Chinese and Western people bound warmly together by common purpose and fulfilling work, and there they were raising their three daughters. When Mao's brutal Red Army pushed into their province, Reverend Starratt hurried his family to safety in Hong Kong but remained behind, unrelentingly committed to the Chinese people. Revolutionary forces overran Wuchang and placed him under house arrest. Starratt dared to escape and began a 1,000-mile odyssey to freedom and family - on foot, by wooden raft, by train, and by ship - only to return home in Massachusetts on Christmas 1949.
PENELOPE S. DUFFY holds a degree in speech pathology and writes and lectures widely on neurological disorders of communication and cognition in adults. She and her husband live in Rochester, Minnesota.