Falling Leaves was the first book of the two-book series. The second book, Chinese Cinderella, was a book I studied at school when I was 13. I am writing a review of Falling Leaves. (SPOILERS BELOW.)
Falling Leaves gives a more detailed insight into Adeline’s story. It starts with the death of her father, Joseph Yen, and the shock that he had no money left.
It goes into more detail about the marriage of Adeline’s father and mother (who died in childbirth with her.) as well as the relationship that Adeline enjoys with her Aunt Baba. Something that I haven’t appreciated until now is the background that the books are set in, which makes it easier to understand because the period she is covering is complicated historically and socially. There are also moments of the book which are very emotional, such as when Adeline has to say goodbye to her Aunt Baba when the latter dies.
This book shows us how manipulative Adeline’s stepmother, Jeanne, was right up until she died. I think that Chinese Cinderella was more suited for children, and this is not so much so because some of the issues raised may be difficult for children to comprehend. It shows that family matters can be ugly, and can get ugly, especially in regards to money and inheritance.
The downsides of this book? I can’t think of any, but I did feel a bit of deja-vu until I realized that Falling Leaves was written before Chinese Cinderella.