A Hundred Suns
An evocative historical novel set in 1930's Indochine, about the American wife of a Michelin heir who journeys to the French colony in the name of family fortune, and the glamorous, tumultuous world she finds herself in—and the truth she may be running from.On a humid afternoon in 1933, American Jessie Lesage steps off a boat from Paris and onto the shores of Vietnam. Accompanying her French husband Victor, an heir to the Michelin rubber fortune, she’s certain that their new life is full of promise, for while the rest of the world is sinking into economic depression, Indochine is gold for the Michelins. Jessie knows that their vast plantations near Saigon are the key to the family’s prosperity, and while they have been marred in scandal, she needs them to succeed for her husband’s sake—and to ensure that her trail of secrets stays hidden in the past.Jessie dives into the glamorous colonial world, where money is king and morals are brushed aside, and meets Marcelle de Fabry, a spellbinding French woman with a moneyed Indochinese lover, the silk tycoon Khoi Nguyen. Descending on Jessie’s world like a hurricane, Marcelle proves to be an exuberant guide to ex-pat life. But hidden beneath her vivacious exterior is a fierce desire to put the colony back in the hands of its people, starting with the Michelin plantations, fueled by a terrible wrong committed against her and Khoi’s loved ones in Paris.Yet it doesn’t take long for the sun-drenched days and champagne-soaked nights to catch up with Jessie. With an increasingly fractured mind, her affection for Indochine falters. And as a fiery political struggle builds around her, Jessie begins to wonder what’s real in a friendship that she suspects may be nothing but a house of cards.Motivated by love, driven by ambition, and seeking self-preservation at all costs, Jessie and Marcelle each toe the line between friend and foe, ethics and excess. Cast against the stylish backdrop of 1930s Indochine, in a time and place defined by contrasts and convictions, A Hundred Suns is historical fiction at its lush, suspenseful best.

A Hundred Suns Details

TitleA Hundred Suns
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 7th, 2020
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN-139781250231475
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

A Hundred Suns Review

  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    Frenemies, Jessie and Marcelle, narrate this tale of 1930’s Indochina. Both have made the similar journey from humble beginnings to lavish living by marrying well. Moving from Parisian student days to ex-pat living as pampered wealthy wives, one married into the Michelin family and the other married the president of the chamber of commerce. Mixed relationships, opium dens, and opulence are juxtaposed with the atrocious treatment of the “coolie” employees on the Michelin rubber plantations. The Frenemies, Jessie and Marcelle, narrate this tale of 1930’s Indochina. Both have made the similar journey from humble beginnings to lavish living by marrying well. Moving from Parisian student days to ex-pat living as pampered wealthy wives, one married into the Michelin family and the other married the president of the chamber of commerce. Mixed relationships, opium dens, and opulence are juxtaposed with the atrocious treatment of the “coolie” employees on the Michelin rubber plantations. The revenge aspect of the novel seemed to be a bit flimsy in that it was of the “kill the messenger” variety but nonetheless the tale is tense, chic and possesses more than a little mystique.
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  • Martie Nees Record
    January 1, 1970
    Genre: Historical Fiction/Women’s FictionPublisher: St. Martin’s PressPub. Date: April 7, 2020This historical fiction has moments of greatness. The story is set in Indochina during the late 1920s and the early 1930s. If you are a history buff, you will be delighted to know that this reviewer learned much about Indochina, the French Colony in Vietnam. Unlike any schoolbook, Tanabe makes you feel as if you are there with the ‘coolies’ during their long, impossibly hard workday. The Genre: Historical Fiction/Women’s FictionPublisher: St. Martin’s PressPub. Date: April 7, 2020This historical fiction has moments of greatness. The story is set in Indochina during the late 1920s and the early 1930s. If you are a history buff, you will be delighted to know that this reviewer learned much about Indochina, the French Colony in Vietnam. Unlike any schoolbook, Tanabe makes you feel as if you are there with the ‘coolies’ during their long, impossibly hard workday. The anti-colonialist roots of communism are captured in the abject poverty of the Vietnamese and the abundance of wealth and luxurious living conditions of the French who ruled and lived in Indochina. The author gave me the gift of detailed knowledge. Thanks to “Suns,” I finally have a better understanding of how the Martin Sheen character in “Apocalypse Now” could go from fighting in the jungles of Vietnam to having an elaborate dinner there, while being waited on by servants, with a wealthy French family who insist that Vietnam is their home. The tale revolves around an American wife who marries a Frenchman who is a member of the Michelin dynasty. The famous family is a major part of the story. In real life, the Michelin brothers organized two Indochinese rubber plantations in 1925, where they operated until the end of the Vietnam War. The author does a thorough job regarding less known information about the Michelins. Surprisingly, at least for me, the family is painted as part of the wealthy imperialists who cannot understand the pain of the underprivileged. The quality of life for their workers read as horrendous. Since I have always smiled at the image of “The Michelin Man,” I looked for proof of Tanabe’s descriptions. I found them to be true. On just one Michelin-owned plantation, 17,000 deaths were recorded in the 20 years between the two World Wars. “Suns” is written so the reader will sympathize with the communist Vietnamese. The author has the ability to make one question what you learned in school. I will never again read a “Michelin-Star Rated Restaurant Guide” without thinking of how their rubber and money was made.Turns out, the novel is also written as a psychological thriller regarding the American wife. She has a history of mental illness. The author presents this as an “Or does she?” type of situation. I didn’t mind this component of the novel at all. It did not interfere with the history. I actually found it intriguing. My issue is that romance finds its way into the plot. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice that this genre is historical fiction as well as women’s fiction, something I do not usually care for. So my disappointment is on me for not carefully looking over the genre before choosing the novel. My only strong criticism is that Tanabe did not have endnotes. True facts make historical fiction feel authentic and give the author credibility. However, this may be due to the fact that I read an Advanced Review Copy and the citations may come once the book is published. Still overall, I enjoyed this novel very much and recommend it. The entire plot revolving around the history of Vietnam during those years is powerfully written. And the thriller part is clever. Plus, if you enjoy women’s fiction this will be a win-win book for you. I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.Find all my book reviews at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list...https://books6259.wordpress.com/https://www.barnesandnoble.com/review...https://www.facebook.com/martie.neesr...https://www.instagram.com/martie6947/https://www.pinterest.com/martienreco...\https://www.amazon.com/https://twitter.com/NeesRecord
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    In the 1930's Indochine becomes the new home for a young family, part of the Michelin empire, as we follow their experiences and adjustments whilst slowly becoming aware of a uniquely original plan to destroy them. The story unfolds slowly between two POVs and at the beginning things seem ideal for the loving couple and their beautiful daughter Lucie. This is a story that embraces the complexity of human emotions, life experiences and moral dilemmas. Through some close encounters with disaster In the 1930's Indochine becomes the new home for a young family, part of the Michelin empire, as we follow their experiences and adjustments whilst slowly becoming aware of a uniquely original plan to destroy them. The story unfolds slowly between two POVs and at the beginning things seem ideal for the loving couple and their beautiful daughter Lucie. This is a story that embraces the complexity of human emotions, life experiences and moral dilemmas. Through some close encounters with disaster as the tension builds and the evil plotting becomes evident a happy ending seems impossible. I cannot spoil it for others, but I was relieved at conclusion.Net Galley Advanced Reader Copy
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  • Lilisa
    January 1, 1970
    A Hundred Suns has all the trimmings of a historical fiction - history, culture, a bit of suspense, and an array of interesting characters all come together in this enjoyable novel. Set in Vietnam during the 1930s, Jessie Lesage arrives in the French colony to begin the next stage of her life as the wife of Victor Michelin Lesage of the famous Michelin family, who has recently moved there to manage the family’s rubber plantations. Set to enjoy her new life with her husband and daughter in a A Hundred Suns has all the trimmings of a historical fiction - history, culture, a bit of suspense, and an array of interesting characters all come together in this enjoyable novel. Set in Vietnam during the 1930s, Jessie Lesage arrives in the French colony to begin the next stage of her life as the wife of Victor Michelin Lesage of the famous Michelin family, who has recently moved there to manage the family’s rubber plantations. Set to enjoy her new life with her husband and daughter in a place where no one knows her so her past can be a closed chapter, she eagerly dives into French colonial high-flying society. But someone knows her secret and before long, she is drawn into a web she doesn’t foresee - a tangled web of ambition, political struggle, love, and intrigue that threaten to shatter the careful cocoon that Jessie has created for herself and her family. Steeped in the history and culture of the times, the author does a fine job of portraying the parallel lives of the colonists and local people, the uneasy relationship that existed between both, and the inevitable collision that will engulf them all. This was an enjoyable read - fast-paced, intriguing, and informative - a great combination for a historical fiction! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Jenny Buchta
    January 1, 1970
    This book was another win by Karin Tanabe. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy her previous works, but this story was a real page turner. Set in Vietnam (Indochina) during the early 1930s, we follow Jessie and Marcella as they navigate the Michelin rubber plantations and Communist uprisings of the French colonial time period. I thought this story was fast-paced and the plot was fantastic. I highly recommend!
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    Victor Lesage, his wife Jessie, and their daughter Lucie, seek to navigate French Indochine [Viet Nam] as the Communists are making inroads. Victor is part of the Michelin family [yes, Michelin rubber] which has vast plantations which "employ" thousands of workers [coolies]. While Victor and his family live in luxurious conditions, the workers' lives are filled with poverty, not enough to eat or drink, and generally abysmal living conditions. Against this backdrop, we see Jessie has found a Victor Lesage, his wife Jessie, and their daughter Lucie, seek to navigate French Indochine [Viet Nam] as the Communists are making inroads. Victor is part of the Michelin family [yes, Michelin rubber] which has vast plantations which "employ" thousands of workers [coolies]. While Victor and his family live in luxurious conditions, the workers' lives are filled with poverty, not enough to eat or drink, and generally abysmal living conditions. Against this backdrop, we see Jessie has found a friend, Marcelle, and they swim, drink, eat, drink and party. The longer she is in country, the less confident Jessie becomes - convinced that her tumultuous past will not leave her alone. You will sympathize with the workers, you will begin to understand how Communism might be appealing, and you will see just how treacherous and selfish some people can be. A great storyline with a remarkable ending which shows that true friends can be right under your nose.I read this EARC courtesy of St. Martin's Press and Net Galley. pub date 04/07/20
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.Fascinating historical novel set in colonial era Viet Nam. A member of the Michelin family, his American wife and their daughter travel move from Paris to the French colony. Interesting look into background of Communism and what it was plotting against. Haves vs have nots is the central theme. Along the way there is romance, intrigue, mystery and revenge. The characters are well developed and the country is portrayed lushly. It help me captive I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.Fascinating historical novel set in colonial era Viet Nam. A member of the Michelin family, his American wife and their daughter travel move from Paris to the French colony. Interesting look into background of Communism and what it was plotting against. Haves vs have nots is the central theme. Along the way there is romance, intrigue, mystery and revenge. The characters are well developed and the country is portrayed lushly. It help me captive until the end.4.25
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  • gwendalyn _books_
    January 1, 1970
    This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own Thanks 47North for providing me with an advanced reading copy.My Bookish Links:Twitter: http://twitter.com/gwendalyn_booksBook Blog :http://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.comInstagram :http://Instagram.com/gwendalyn_books_Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/user/edit/p...Jeff wheeler, The Killing Fog” is the first installment in, The Grave This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own Thanks 47North for providing me with an advanced reading copy.My Bookish Links:Twitter: http://twitter.com/gwendalyn_booksBook Blog :http://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.comInstagram :http://Instagram.com/gwendalyn_books_Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/user/edit/p...Jeff wheeler, The Killing Fog” is the first installment in, The Grave Kingdom trilogy. An incredible read from Wheeler, It was fast-paced, action packed, the world building and characters were absolutely amazing. The story was fascinating, engaging, and a definite page-turner with perfect pacing and creative story development. The author keeps you totally invested in this intense epic fantasy. An engaging storyline that had me glued to the pages. Wheeler creates an exceptional atmospheric world that catapult reader into this phenomenal fantasy. A world that is rich in magical elements, and with a stellar cast of characters. The main protagonist Bingmei, is by far one of my favorite female leader characters this year. With non stop adventure and intrigue and just the right amount of romance made this riveting book exceptional.I will definitely recommend this book to my family and friends, and I am anxiously waiting on the next book in series Atmospheric, riveting and intensely entertaining! Another great success for the fantasy author#gwendalyn_books_#TheKillingFog #JeffWheeler #47NorthPublishing #AmazonPublishing #NetGalley #arc #YAFantasy #fantasy #YA #Fiction #GraveKingdomSeries #bookreviews #bookReview #bookish #booknerd Bookworm #bookstagram #bookstagramer #instagram #instagramer
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.I was initially drawn to this book after taking a trip to Vietnam and was excited to read about many of the locations I had visited. The story based in 1933 is told in two voices, one by Jessie, the other by Marcelle. It was a difficult and divided time for Indochina, being colonized by the French, there were many communist uprisings and split differences of opinion and loyalties in the Many thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.I was initially drawn to this book after taking a trip to Vietnam and was excited to read about many of the locations I had visited. The story based in 1933 is told in two voices, one by Jessie, the other by Marcelle. It was a difficult and divided time for Indochina, being colonized by the French, there were many communist uprisings and split differences of opinion and loyalties in the country.The story's basis is around the Michelin family and their rubber plantations located in the region. Jessie and her husband Victor (part of the Michelin family) leave France, relocate to Hanoi and begin to run the plantations in Indochina to stop some of the communist uprisings and killings. There are many secrets Jessie is running from and has hidden from her husband. Marcelle is deceitful with an agenda of her own and not the friend Jessie believes her to be. Communists uprising, French occupied Vietnam, murders, opium dens, lawlessness, abuse, living in a time where anything and anyone can be bought, the story holds much history and intrigue.I enjoyed the story and gave it 4 stars. I took off one star for the less than stellar depiction of an amazing country. It is a stunning country that is larger than life with wonderful cities and immense jungles. Hanoi, Hue, Saigon, Halong Bay, none were done justice, I didn't experience the vivid feeling of being there especially after having experienced it first hand. I can only imagine in 1933 it was even more spectacular than today.
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  • Alison
    January 1, 1970
    In this story, which follows Victor Lesage, his wife Jessie, and their daughter Lucie as they embark on their journey from France to one of the French Colonial territories of Indochine, now Vietnam in the 1930's. Victor has been sent to oversee the the Michelin families rubber plantations as his mother is a Michelin, and he hopes to further his career.Also living there is Marcelle de Fabry, her husband and her lover Khoi Nguyen. Marcelle, show Jessie the ins and outs of ex-pat life, which is In this story, which follows Victor Lesage, his wife Jessie, and their daughter Lucie as they embark on their journey from France to one of the French Colonial territories of Indochine, now Vietnam in the 1930's. Victor has been sent to oversee the the Michelin families rubber plantations as his mother is a Michelin, and he hopes to further his career.Also living there is Marcelle de Fabry, her husband and her lover Khoi Nguyen. Marcelle, show Jessie the ins and outs of ex-pat life, which is very different from what she was used to in France. The story mainly goes between Jessie and Marcelle's observations as we follow the reasons that they both ended up there, and the relationship they each have formed, and the things they are running from.From Communist threats, to Opium dens, to a lavish life style, Both Jessie and Marcelle, need to see what woks for them, in a place full of threats and dangers as they navigate things, they think they know.Suspenseful, full of mystery and misunderstandings. Well written story. I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC of this book.
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  • Fred
    January 1, 1970
    This was a very enjoyable book, and very difficult to categorize. Perhaps all the more enjoyable for that. It's a story of family secrets bubbling up from the past, an historical drama dealing with the difficulties of French colonial Indochina in the 1930s, a cat-and-mouse intrigue tale about two women who are at odds and yet pretending to be best friends; a story about a woman whose sanity is possibly coming apart; a love story that teeters on the edge of disaster with the threat of mental This was a very enjoyable book, and very difficult to categorize. Perhaps all the more enjoyable for that. It's a story of family secrets bubbling up from the past, an historical drama dealing with the difficulties of French colonial Indochina in the 1930s, a cat-and-mouse intrigue tale about two women who are at odds and yet pretending to be best friends; a story about a woman whose sanity is possibly coming apart; a love story that teeters on the edge of disaster with the threat of mental illness, etc. The reader becomes absorbed in the life and travails of the protagonist, Jessie, who is living in Vietnam with her adoring husband and lovely child, and trying to make her way as a colonialist's wife, but her tale is not completely innocent. She is wrapped up in a family whose business dealings in Colonial Indochina leave a lot to be desired, ethically. Jessie's qualms about the family's actions, her husband's stewardship of their rubber plantations, her own complicity in evil, the moral ambiguity surrounding her own marriage, and many other issues, were deliciously complicated and morally murky. I loved that about this book -- that nearly all the characters are complicated creatures with ambiguous motives, neither villain nor hero. The issues that the author deals with -- the ability or impossibility to escape one's past, the complications arising from financial necessity, the actions one takes for monetary salvation, among many others -- are engrossing and complex. Then on top of that there's just a rollicking good suspense story, and a mystery which opens the book, unsolved until the end. Kudos to the author for not painting the issues of colonialization of Indochina with a 21st-century moralizing brush, too often a fault in historical fiction. The author does justice to the complex nature of the time period and the events therein.An overall really good read.
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  • Donna Thompson
    January 1, 1970
    **I received an ARC copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway**I've always been fascinated by Vietnam and Thailand. I've heard they are breathtakingly beautiful, yet my vision has always been clouded by the war and other atrocities I've heard about them. This juxtaposition has always intrigued me. With "A Hundred Suns," Karin Tanabe has set forth more horrifying things that have happened in that area that I had absolutely no knowledge of. And she's done it against a backdrop of opulence and **I received an ARC copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway**I've always been fascinated by Vietnam and Thailand. I've heard they are breathtakingly beautiful, yet my vision has always been clouded by the war and other atrocities I've heard about them. This juxtaposition has always intrigued me. With "A Hundred Suns," Karin Tanabe has set forth more horrifying things that have happened in that area that I had absolutely no knowledge of. And she's done it against a backdrop of opulence and luxury. Again, two co-existing, but completely different realities. Nothing in this book is black and white. Who are the villains, who are the oppressed, who, ultimately, is the winner or loser? These questions and more floated across my mind with each page, as I became more deeply involved in each of the characters. To know a person's present, you have to understand their past, and in "A Hundred Suns," it's all one fascinating and enthralling mixture.
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  • Ethel
    January 1, 1970
    It's 1933 and we're in Indochine, the French colony that is now Vietnam. Victor and Jessie Michelin Lesage along with daughter Lucie have come to Hanoi to become caretakers of the family's rubber plantations. It is a world of glamour, luxurious homes set in sumptuous surroundings Quite different from that of the natives, who are there to serve the wealthy. But there is an undercurrent beneath the affluent society, not just a restlessness, but something more devious, more dangerous. As Jessie It's 1933 and we're in Indochine, the French colony that is now Vietnam. Victor and Jessie Michelin Lesage along with daughter Lucie have come to Hanoi to become caretakers of the family's rubber plantations. It is a world of glamour, luxurious homes set in sumptuous surroundings Quite different from that of the natives, who are there to serve the wealthy. But there is an undercurrent beneath the affluent society, not just a restlessness, but something more devious, more dangerous. As Jessie befriends Marcelle de Fabry it is soon apparent to her not all is quite right. Yet Jessie has her own demons, secrets she guards and secrets she is running away from while Marcelle is steeped in her own ambitions, her own devious selfishness.Ms. Tanabe has painted a picture in words, words that take you back to another place in time. This book and the picture it paints is stunning, there is no other way to describe it. She is a gifted writer, her research is impeccable her story telling draws you in from page one. As you read this novel you feel as if you are right there, you can easily visualize the scenes, the descriptions, you too are aware of the scents that wrap themselves around the characters. As you read along, it is easy to see how the history of Indochina became the catalyst for the war in Vietnam.My thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Barbara Waloven
    January 1, 1970
    This main character had me wondering about her, liking her, questioning her, hating her, rooting for her, sad for her, loving her, saying no no no to her, and happy for her. How can you love and then hate someone within the covers of a book? You’ll have to read this wonderful historical fiction to find out.
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  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    I found this book good at times and bad at times.The main character seemed weak and annoying. I didn’t really care too much for the other characters either. The last few chapters were the best. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy
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  • Michael Morales
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! A compelling plot filled with intrigue and mystery nested masterfully within a fascinating historical time and place.
  • Monica
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of A Hundred Suns in exchange for an honest review.I choose this book because I simply love the genre of historical fiction. It is a tale which takes place in the early 1930’s in Vietnam. Jessie marries into the rich Michelin family and because of certain circumstances, transports her husband and child to Vietnam and to the rubber plantations. Being part of the elite class, Jessie and her husband meet Marcelle, the beautiful wife of a powerful ex-pat. Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of A Hundred Suns in exchange for an honest review.I choose this book because I simply love the genre of historical fiction. It is a tale which takes place in the early 1930’s in Vietnam. Jessie marries into the rich Michelin family and because of certain circumstances, transports her husband and child to Vietnam and to the rubber plantations. Being part of the elite class, Jessie and her husband meet Marcelle, the beautiful wife of a powerful ex-pat.Without giving too much away, the reader is whisked abroad to a place filled with affairs, lies, death, opium, and poisonings! Add in some communism, political strife and the need to protect one’s family at all cost and you have the novel A Hundred Suns. There is certainly a lot happening in this story! It has many interesting interlaced threads that come together, but some of them not very plausible. The culture and society of the elite living in Vietnam is certainly intriguing enough but Jessie’s backstory is just too contrived. The farther I read the more unbelievable it became, to the point of me simply not caring what happens to Jessie and her family. I feel as if the author tried to incorporate as many different scenarios as possible, to the detriment of the story arc. In this case, less is more.
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  • Meg
    January 1, 1970
    I was already interested A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe after reading her wonderful previous novel, The Gilded Years. In A Hundred Suns, American Jessie Holland Lasage moves to Vietnam, or French Indochina as it was then known, along with her French husband Victor Michelin Lasage and their adorable daughter Lucie. Victor is coming over to supervise the Michelin rubber plantations, because his clever wife spotted an opportunity for a Michelin cousin to prove himself in the distant colony, and I was already interested A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe after reading her wonderful previous novel, The Gilded Years. In A Hundred Suns, American Jessie Holland Lasage moves to Vietnam, or French Indochina as it was then known, along with her French husband Victor Michelin Lasage and their adorable daughter Lucie. Victor is coming over to supervise the Michelin rubber plantations, because his clever wife spotted an opportunity for a Michelin cousin to prove himself in the distant colony, and return in a few years to a higher post in the inner circle back in France.At least, that's the idea. As the story progresses, and Jessie meets more of the expat circle, everyone seems to have complicated motives for moving abroad. At first, her new friend Marcelle seems like another bored expat wife, but she has a Vietnamese boyfriend and ties to communist rebels. Jessie's husband may be mixed up in the Michelin family's darker side, cruelly exploiting local workers.Jessie has been pretty much the master of controlling her narrative through careful omission and stretches of the truth. She's reinvented herself several times. Victor gives her a watch with an orange on it, because for him, the surname Holland means William of Orange, and not backwoods poverty like it does for Jessie. She is almost an unreliable narrator, since she's keeping so many secrets, and having such strange memory lapses.Each character here has their own complex motivations and goals. The author shows how each person is affected by their past experiences, and each person thinks they're doing what must be done.  So it's easy for readers to sympathize with more than one character, even when they're in opposition to each other.This is a compelling ensemble novel with a satisfying but realistic conclusion.
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  • Trick Wiley
    January 1, 1970
    You feel right away in this country and the mystery of disappearance of family! Don't like to tell the story but It's a very good history story and you really are in with these believable characters. You have all sorts of ingredients to make up this interesting story! Don't start this book unless you finish cause them you don't find out everything! Net Gallery thank you! This takes place in Viet Nam a place a lot of It's know nothing about which you will learn in this book!!
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  • Sandra Pipitone
    January 1, 1970
    very entertaining book! Some information about the troubles in Far East. Interesting that you where disliked because you come from money, Communists and their start, could also be today!
  • Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway and would like to thank the publisher for my copy. SPOILER WARNING Karin Tanabe's A Hundred Suns is a well-written and engrossing tale set in 1930s Indochine that explores how the need for safety, security, escape, and revenge mix with the politics of colonialism and resistance. The book features for the most part engaging and believable characters. Resourceful and cunning Jessie is married to rubber-empire heir Victor (one of the few characters in I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway and would like to thank the publisher for my copy. SPOILER WARNING Karin Tanabe's A Hundred Suns is a well-written and engrossing tale set in 1930s Indochine that explores how the need for safety, security, escape, and revenge mix with the politics of colonialism and resistance. The book features for the most part engaging and believable characters. Resourceful and cunning Jessie is married to rubber-empire heir Victor (one of the few characters in the novel that comes off flat). Upon arriving in Tonkin, she is befriended by the charming Marcelle, a women with communist-leanings motivated by revenge who - along with her silk-heir lover - plots to ruin the careers of Jessie and her husband. Full of twists and reveals, the plot continues at a quick clip and keeps the reader entertained. The ending of the novel, however, leaves much to be desired - it has a confused tone and doesn't quite fit with the rest of the story. (AGAIN SPOILERS)Without giving too much of the plot away, in the book it is revealed that Marcelle's hatred of Jessie and Victor is both deserved and undeserved - Jessie is not completely aware of the violence of plantation life but Victor is beginning abhorrent practices to stomp out communism. Yet despite the fact that Victor explicitly and Jessie tacitly accept the barbarous conditions of the plantations, they are still ultimately cast as the heroes/protagonists. Marcelle - motivated to avenge the unjust death of a friend and end the inhumane treatment in plantations - is the villain who uses deception and ultimately is thrown out of Indochine. The book's end mentions a few throwaway lines about Victor beginning more humane practices on the plantations, but this is hardly enough of to make up for the draconian practices described earlier in the book. This lack of reckoning that Victor (and a little for Jessie, as well) undergoes would then make this book seem like a tragedy. In the world of colonial Indochine, no one is not responsible for violence, whether it be Victor, Jessie, or Marcelle. Yet, there is no tragic tone at all. Jessie, Victor, and their daughter end the book a happy family - looking to the future hopeful and content. Never mind the communist sympathizers who were starved, the anticolonial student who was shot, or the plantation owners never brought to justice for their crimes. In a book that deflty weaved these different viewpoints together so well for the first 350 pages, the fact that this is completely gone in the last two chapters is a lost opportunity.
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  • Jena Henry
    January 1, 1970
    Stunning!! And devastating! And by the end of this lyrical book, life is as beautiful as the sun. I am mixing metaphors here, when I say that this book is like a kabuki performance. Kabuki is a traditional and stylized Japanese form of drama, and this book takes place in colonial Indochina, now Viet Nam. Still, the sweeping and rich blend of romance, suspense, history, as shown through the food, scenery, clothing and manners of the time is presented in the stylized manner of kabuki. Each Stunning!! And devastating! And by the end of this lyrical book, life is as beautiful as the sun. I am mixing metaphors here, when I say that this book is like a kabuki performance. Kabuki is a traditional and stylized Japanese form of drama, and this book takes place in colonial Indochina, now Viet Nam. Still, the sweeping and rich blend of romance, suspense, history, as shown through the food, scenery, clothing and manners of the time is presented in the stylized manner of kabuki. Each character is trapped in their role and must perform according to the rules of the times. (And by “kabuki” I don’t mean to imply that this book is inaccessible to a reader. A Hundred Suns is thrilling, exciting, puzzling and glorious, you must read it in one sitting.) So, who are the character in the insular world of Indochina in the 1930’s? The main character that looms overall, is Michelin et Cie. Then comes Jessie, an American, who has managed to achieve her dream of leaving her life of poverty behind by marrying a rich member of the Michelin family. She lives in Paris with her husband, Victor. Although he is not a major Michelin, he seizes the opportunity to take his wife and child to Hanoi, Indochina, France’s colony to manage Michelin’s two large rubber plantations. Another set of characters, also with a Michelin interest are the French Marcelle, her Indochine lover Khoi and their two close friends. Marcelle and Khoi met as students in Paris and reunited in Hanoi. Khoi is the scion of a major “native” silk producer. Their paths collide with Victor and Jessie in a diabolical and sinister way.Another major part of the book are the places- Paris and Hanoi. Both are well described with lush scenes that show the sophistication, culture and facades of Paris, the weather, natural beauty, food, and societal structure of Hanoi. In the midst of beauty and wealth, Capitalism battles Communism, Jessie struggles with her past, Marcelle and Khoi strive to right a wrong. The story begins on a specific day, November, 20, 1933 in Hanoi, and then flashes back to the events that lead to the catastrophic denouement on this day. Are dreams and hopes, guided by the sun enough?Highly, highly recommend. Many thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher, St. Martin’s Press for aa digital review copy. This is my honest review.
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  • Kathy Ding
    January 1, 1970
    I won this as part of a Goodreads giveaway. This merits more of a 4.5, almost 5 star review. I'll go over my two quick criticisms quickly and then jump to why you should definitely read this book:-for an ARC, there are very few typos. I still did notice 2-3 but overall, this is pretty well edited-the author could have used more specific terms for the country she was in and the language spoken/talked about/read. She could have mentioned Vietnam or Vietnamese ONCE in the book because Indochinois I won this as part of a Goodreads giveaway. This merits more of a 4.5, almost 5 star review. I'll go over my two quick criticisms quickly and then jump to why you should definitely read this book:-for an ARC, there are very few typos. I still did notice 2-3 but overall, this is pretty well edited-the author could have used more specific terms for the country she was in and the language spoken/talked about/read. She could have mentioned Vietnam or Vietnamese ONCE in the book because Indochinois is not a language. The Indochina region had 3 predominant languages at the time and it was clear Jessie and her family members were learning Vietnamese. This was a hard-to-believe plot point in that Jessie, her daughter and Victor learned Vietnamese so quickly before moving there and could understand the natives with no problem (as far as infiltrating a Communist meeting and basing a life and death decision based on what he heard). I took Spanish for many years and while I excelled in class, I would totally be lost at a meeting trying to decipher what natives (speaking at much faster speeds than my Spanish teacher) are debating about. This was a convenient tool Tanabe used to push the story along instead of being more realistic. Okay, the story is nuanced, suspenseful, thrilling and much deeper than I thought it would be. She brought up ethical dilemmas, emotional problems, philosophical issues, intricate back stories, political differences and important social topics. Tanabe certainly covered a lot of ground but she did so in a nicely-ordered narrative with opposing characters. I finished this faster than I anticipated and enjoyed it more than I anticipated. What interesting characters!
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  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Off to the house of a hundred suns?’Set in the French Indochinese (South-East Asia) colonial world of the 1930s, this novel combines romance, intrigue and some of the worst colonial excesses of the era. But the colonists won’t continue to have everything their own way.One humid afternoon in 1933, the American-born Jessie Lesage arrives in Hanoi with her husband and daughter. Her husband, Victor, is an heir to the Michelin rubber fortune. Their daughter, Lucie, is young enough to quickly adapt ‘Off to the house of a hundred suns?’Set in the French Indochinese (South-East Asia) colonial world of the 1930s, this novel combines romance, intrigue and some of the worst colonial excesses of the era. But the colonists won’t continue to have everything their own way.One humid afternoon in 1933, the American-born Jessie Lesage arrives in Hanoi with her husband and daughter. Her husband, Victor, is an heir to the Michelin rubber fortune. Their daughter, Lucie, is young enough to quickly adapt to life in Indochine. Jessie sees the move to Indochine as a new beginning: a world away from some secrets she’d rather keep in the past and an opportunity to increase family prosperity while the rest of the world sinks into depression. The Michelin family have large rubber plantations near Saigon: wealth should be guaranteed, provided the family can weather a recent scandal.Jessie makes friends with the fascinating Marcelle de Fabry, a French woman with a wealthy Indochinese lover. Marcelle quickly introduces Jessie to the frenetic, privileged life of the French ex-patriates. But Marcelle has a secret motivation, and Jessie is vulnerable.While I know some of the colonial history of what is now Vietnam, this is the first novel I’ve read set in the colonial world of French Indochine. I found the contrast between excess and exploitation absorbing. I confess that I found the setting more interesting than most of the characters, but I was intrigued by both Jessie’s journey and Marcelle’s motivation.Recommended reading.Note: My thanks to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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  • Debbi
    January 1, 1970
    This sensuous, richly textured brings us into the world of 1930's Indochine, where the expat Europeans have it all and the natives are getting restless. American Jessie Lesage joins her husband Victor, a member of the Michelin family on the Michelin family rubber plantation. Victor has been promoted to managing the property and has things to prove; Jessie spent her early life in dire poverty and will need to learn how to manage in what passes for high society among the expats in Indochine. Both This sensuous, richly textured brings us into the world of 1930's Indochine, where the expat Europeans have it all and the natives are getting restless. American Jessie Lesage joins her husband Victor, a member of the Michelin family on the Michelin family rubber plantation. Victor has been promoted to managing the property and has things to prove; Jessie spent her early life in dire poverty and will need to learn how to manage in what passes for high society among the expats in Indochine. Both have secrets to hide. Jessie meets Marcella: French, rich, and an advocate (and secret communist) for the indigenous people who work the rubber plantations. Marcella befriends Jessie, and guides her acceptance into local society, but she also has secrets to hide, and she senses that Jessie is not what she appears to be. Conflicts are unavoidable; between the Europeans and the natives they take advantage of at best and often treat abysmally; between Jessie and Marcella who are "frenemies'; and between the competitive rubber barons. While Indochine is beautiful on the surface, things and the people around them are not what they appear to be. When Jessie appears to have a psychotic episode, it seems as if she may have to leave Indochine. A Hundred Suns will grab your attention and hold it fast, with it's fascinating blend of fact and fiction. The deceptions run deep and wide, and Karin Tanabe's description of a life that is beautiful on the surface but rotten to the core will keep you turning pages and giving up sleep until the startling finish.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance copy of A Hundred Suns from St. Martin's Publishing Group. Thank you.This was a great story that took its time to unwind completely. The story starts in 1933 and shifts between Jesse, a young American woman who escaped from the poverty of rural Virginia to marry into the Michelin family in France and Marcelle, a young French woman who also married well, but who's true love is Khoi Nguyen. Marcelle met Khoi while he was a student in Paris before he returned to his homeland. I received an advance copy of A Hundred Suns from St. Martin's Publishing Group. Thank you.This was a great story that took its time to unwind completely. The story starts in 1933 and shifts between Jesse, a young American woman who escaped from the poverty of rural Virginia to marry into the Michelin family in France and Marcelle, a young French woman who also married well, but who's true love is Khoi Nguyen. Marcelle met Khoi while he was a student in Paris before he returned to his homeland. Marcelle and her husband Arnaud have been in Indochine for several years and her husband works with the French government, and Jesse has just arrived with her husband Victor. Victor is a Michelin, but not of the immediate family, and Jesse convinced him that a smart career move would be to offer to oversee the rubber plantations in Indochine since there has been much unrest and no Michelins have ever been there. From day one, Marcelle seems to seek out Jesse to become fast friends. Since the husbands are often away on business, Jesse is in thick with Marcelle's not so secret life with her lover, Khoi. As the story unfolds, flashing back to the past of both women, Marcelle's hidden agenda becomes apparent. Both women are hiding things from their past all of which takes it time to be exposed. Jesse begins to feel as if her life is unraveling, and doesn't know who to trust. Good read, nice twists, fascinating time and setting.
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  • Eloise Robbertze
    January 1, 1970
    A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe is an historical novel set in Paris and French Indochina (Vietnam) during the 1930’s. It is a fascinating look into the history and colonization of this region, focusing on the Michelin rubber plantations and the communist uprising.In the expat world of glitz, glamour and wealth the foreigners live like kings and the locals are slaves. There is an undercurrent of violence and danger and everyone is keeping secrets. Everyone has something to achieve, and something A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe is an historical novel set in Paris and French Indochina (Vietnam) during the 1930’s. It is a fascinating look into the history and colonization of this region, focusing on the Michelin rubber plantations and the communist uprising.In the expat world of glitz, glamour and wealth the foreigners live like kings and the locals are slaves. There is an undercurrent of violence and danger and everyone is keeping secrets. Everyone has something to achieve, and something to hide. All the characters, but particularly the two female protagonists, are masterfully created and all so relatable in their suffering, desires, dreams and goals. They are all complex people with intricate past lives that determine their current actions and you easily sympathise with them all.The descriptions of the country are beautifully painted, and you cannot help but conjure up images of the magnificence of the surroundings these characters find themselves in. The opulence is desirable yet hideous. The buildings are magnificent but alien and the countryside is breathtaking, but filled with poverty. This is a novel filled with despair that expertly crafts together the themes illuminating slavery, political divides, loyalty and numerous other social issues. I loved it! Definite recommended reading!#netgalley #ahundredsuns #karintanabe #stmartinspress
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  • Stacey
    January 1, 1970
    This is the fabulous story of Jessie Lesage. An American woman accompanying her French husband Victor to the shores of vietnam during the 1930s. Money makes the world go round and no matter the date, this is always true. I found Jessie to be quite an fascinating woman. Soaked in intrigued and the secrets that spiral around her, add a charm and mystery to her that made me want to know more and more. The life she leads begins to wear thin and a power struggle emerges around her...... The life she This is the fabulous story of Jessie Lesage. An American woman accompanying her French husband Victor to the shores of vietnam during the 1930s. Money makes the world go round and no matter the date, this is always true. I found Jessie to be quite an fascinating woman. Soaked in intrigued and the secrets that spiral around her, add a charm and mystery to her that made me want to know more and more. The life she leads begins to wear thin and a power struggle emerges around her...... The life she has built is fraught with holes and the whole thing becomes quite an ordeal.. The glitz and glamour soon start to lose their shine and the whole story comes to the climax of the symphony and I couldn't stop my jaw dropping! I thoroughly enjoyed the setting, the characters blew me away and the author had a real way of building a world around you that you never want to emerge from. If you are looking for the kind of historical fiction that will keep you on your toes and have you thirsting for more than this book is the one for you. I loved everything about it and now I'm hunting for more of this incredible authors work. This extravaganza of a read while ensnare your senses and make you lose track of your day.
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  • Andrea Epstein
    January 1, 1970
    A historical fiction gem that gives us a insights into French colonial Vietnam during the 1930's. Karin Tanabe provides lavish details of Indochine, now Vietnam, and the stark contrasts between the excessive lifestyles of the wealthy occupied French and the indigent natives who work their factories and plantations.. The story is told through the alternating voices of frenemies Jessie and Marcella who share similar rags-to-riches backgrounds but are on opposite sides of the local politics where A historical fiction gem that gives us a insights into French colonial Vietnam during the 1930's. Karin Tanabe provides lavish details of Indochine, now Vietnam, and the stark contrasts between the excessive lifestyles of the wealthy occupied French and the indigent natives who work their factories and plantations.. The story is told through the alternating voices of frenemies Jessie and Marcella who share similar rags-to-riches backgrounds but are on opposite sides of the local politics where communist uprisings are growing as locals seeks to overturn French rule. As a Michelin by marriage, Jessie is torn by what she has sacrificed to reach her newfound wealth and her shock at the what she finds in the rubber plantations. Unaware that she has been targeted by Marcella for her family ties, the two women get tangled in all of the excesses of the wealthy, from an overabundance of servants to orgiastic parties and opium dens, before they face their inner demons and their true motivations. I don't usually find historical fiction novels to be page turners but the beautiful writing and twisty plot make this the exception. I received this ARC from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. Highly recommend!
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  • Kati Berman
    January 1, 1970
    A Hundred SunsI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was looking forward to this historical fiction, as I have not known anything of the rubber plantations in Vietnam or life there in the 1930’s.Jesse, her husband, Victor and their daughter Lucie arrive in Vietnam in 1933, where Victor’s family owns the Michelin rubber plantations. Jesse has too many skeletons in her past, which she desperately is trying to get away from. These secrets are not revealed fully to A Hundred SunsI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was looking forward to this historical fiction, as I have not known anything of the rubber plantations in Vietnam or life there in the 1930’s.Jesse, her husband, Victor and their daughter Lucie arrive in Vietnam in 1933, where Victor’s family owns the Michelin rubber plantations. Jesse has too many skeletons in her past, which she desperately is trying to get away from. These secrets are not revealed fully to the very end of the book and for me it took away from understanding Jessie’s character. Soon after the family’s arrival, it’s obvious that they are not welcome with open arms and some will go to extremes to make them leave, including Jesse’s so called friend Marcelle.Although a page turner, I found this book disappointing. Jessie’s involvement from day one in what’s happening in the plantations didn’t ring true to me. Her lack of involvement with her daughter also felt strange, in spite of her frequent declaration of love for her. Overall I can’t give this book more than three stars. Thanks NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the advanced copy.
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