The Silver Lotus
During the last decades of the 19th century, the ruggedly handsome and dashing sea trader Captain Jeremiah Macy Hammond, descended from stern New Englanders, ran a profitable trading schooner that ventured out from California and traversed throughout the whole of the Pacific Ocean. On one of his trips to China, he meets the beautiful and talented Lady Yee (“Silver Lotus”) and is immediately enthralled by her intelligence and grace; she is drawn to this “barbarian,” with his great determination and strength.
After Hammond saves Lady Yee’s family from approaching violence, he asks for her hand in marriage. Her father, a wealthy Cantonese merchant, gives his blessing to their union, and together they forge a life of adventure, drama, and service. They build a trading empire, and by 1900 settle in Monterey, California, creating rich and meaningful lives in their community with expressions of compassion and service.
Although the brilliant and ambitious Lady Yee maintains a low profile, her character is the driving force behind their lives and community. The couple’s abiding love shines through the book in their devotedness to each other, all the while weathering horrific storms, illness, social issues, and tragedy. And if at times Lady Yee seems to be too perfect a paragon, the lush descriptions, vibrantly drawn characters, and interesting locales (the Far East and California) make it easy to lose oneself in the romance and vitality of the story.