Dragon Springs Road

A remarkable read, brimming with magic and the grit of realism...Chang asserts herself as an exciting, relatable voice that requires us to re-examine our relationships to place, identity, and ancestry. A story for our times.”

-- Quill & Quire, starred review

A Globe and Mail national bestseller

That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return

I n 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she finds herself abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate near Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in.

Jialing's allies are Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the haunted courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes.

Always hopeful of reuniting with her long-lost mother, Jialing grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, guided by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past. But then she is drawn into a murder at the periphery of political intrigue, a relationship that jeopardizes her friendship with Anjuin and a forbidden affair that brings danger to the man she loves.


“Janie Chang has a keen eye for detail and infuses them throughout this magical story, with its masterfully rendered setting of the early Chinese republic, characters who bring to life the constrictions of those girls, and a mystical benevolent spirit. The result is enchanting.” -- Shilpi Somaya Gowda, bestselling author of Secret Daughter

"A fierce, elegant coming-of-age story starring an orphaned Eurasian girl struggling to find her place in the world among the tumultuous shifting tides of the early Chinese republic. Jialing is a desperately appealing heroine, struggling for an education, a job, a husband, anything that will give her a future, and continually having doors slammed in her face. A touch of magic realism makes this one special, as the isolated Jialing’s only constant friend is a mischievous fox spirit who makes her home at Dragon Springs Road." -- Kate Quinn, bestselling author of The Alice Network

“Dragon Springs Road is simply one of the best novels I have read in a long time. With her lyrical, heartfelt portrait of a vanished world, and her creation of a heroine whose struggles and victories tore at my heart, Janie Chang has created an enchanting and unforgettable book. I recommend it unreservedly.” -- Jennifer Robson bestselling author of Goodnight from London

"Who can resist a child in jeopardy novel especially one set against the rich background of Shanghai at the turn of the century? A young Eurasian outcast, Jialing must survive by her wits and the uncertain kindness of strangers. But will this be enough? Dragon Springs Road with its illuminating and vivid details about an engrossing period of history- the Chinese Republic in its infancy, is an involving, sympathetic novel, which exemplifies the best of historical fiction." -- Roberta Rich, bestselling author of The Midwife of Venice