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Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang. Fiction about a Chinese girl in the 19th century who is sent to the city by her grandmother when her parents disappear, and is subsequently kidnapped and sent to America – to a brothel in San Francisco. She eventually manages to make her way across the States, presenting herself as a young man as that’s safer, ending up in Idaho where she has a good job and things are settled. This though was at the time of the Chinese Exclusion Act in US history, which was a law passed preventing Chinese immigrants from going to the US to work, and there was very strong anti-Chinese sentiment which comes to haunt her. A major event in the book is based on an actual incident in Idaho, where the author got the idea to write the book having come across a memorial.
The Palace Papers by Tina Brown. You’ve probably read about this – great author and terrific subject matter, subtitled Inside the House of Windsor – the Truth and the Turmoil. Tina Brown is so well connected and has loads of insights, information and anecdotes about them all – it’s a compulsive read