The year is 1175. Twelve-year-old Reyna Li and her father Jehuda are members of the Jewish community in Kaifeng, China.Reyna is special in that she has a gift; she can read people’s body language and can sense if they are honest or not. With her gift, she helps her father in his business relationships. But when the mysterious Mr. Virat makes Jehuda an offer he can’t refuse, Jehuda will not listen to Reyna’s concerns and sets off on a dangerous journey. Reyna follows him and makes a daring attempt to rescue him in the desert. On her journey, Reyna is befriended by a family with a 14- year-old boy named Jin. As Reyna’s friendship with Jin deepens, she tells him about her Jewish heritage, the situation her father is in and her plans to rescue her father. Jin chooses to go with Reyna on her adventure.
With a nod to Pearl Buck’s “Peony,” this is an exciting story, which both boys and girls will enjoy. Through this story, the readers will also discover how the Jewish people came to China, the traditions they maintained and the life style they lived. This book fills a need for stories about this historical time and place. For ages 8 – 12.