Our book club thoroughly enjoyed White Gardenia by Belinda Alexandra. When we first meet the heroine of the novel, Anya, she is a 13 year old living with her mother Alina Kozlova in Harbin, a haven for White Russian families since the Russian communist revolution. Their life together is shattered during the final days of World War 2, when Alina is forced to separate from her child to ensure Anya’s safety. The novel then weaves it’s way through the nightclubs of Shanghai where Anya reaches womanhood, to the Phillipines where Anya learns survival and then Australia, where she settles but is still driven by a desperate need to find her mother.
This tale unfolds through history as Anya grows and discovers her independence in a young country that is also changing.