In 2016, fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm, when her grandfather is dying. With only weeks left together, her grandparents begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century.
In 1939, two young girls meet in Shanghai, the 'Paris of the East': beautiful local Li and Viennese refugee Romy form a fierce friendship. But the deepening shadows of World War Two fall over the women as Li and Romy slip between the city's glamorous French Concession and the desperate Shanghai Ghetto. Eventually, they are forced separate ways as Romy doubts Li's loyalties.
After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents' past. As she peels back the layers of their hidden lives, she begins to question everything she knows about her family - and herself.
A gorgeously told tale of female friendship, the price of love, and the power of hardship and courage to shape us all.
'Kirsty Manning has woven, blended, sewn the threads of history, family secrets, the past and the present into a page-turning, beautiful novel. Her talent for researching and writing a seamless dual-narrative story with characters reflecting tragedy and trauma lived, and survived, will enthral and educate. Her approach and style to the multiple cultures and countries reinforces that humanity will rise above evil. The Jade Lily is a story rich in the elements of plot, characters, and unselfish love leading to hope: the last thing to die.' - Heather Morris, author of the bestselling The Tattooist of Auschwitz
'This is a rich, sensual, and evocative novel, fragrant with the smell of crushed herbs and flowers, and haunted by the high cost that women must sometimes pay to find both love and their vocation.' Kate Forsyth on The Midsummer Garden
'...compelling, passionate and admirable.' Australian Women's Weekly on The Midsummer Garden