News & Reviews

Mini Book Review: The Golden Gate by Amy Chua

07 Dec 2023 News & Reviews

Amy Chua’s debut novel, “The Golden Gate” is a noir-like historical thriller that takes readers on an evocative and insightful journey through the world of 1940s San Francisco, whilst simultaneously making them question how all the parts of the story are connected until the very end.

In 1930, 7 year old Iris Stafford is found dead at the bottom of a laundry chute at the glamorous Claremont Hotel. 14 years later, local detective Al Sullivan has just left that same hotel when presidential candidate Walter Wilkinson is murdered in a room upstairs. His investigation keeps leading him back to the granddaughters of Mrs Genevieve Bainbridge, Isabella Stafford, Iris’s younger sister, and her cousins Nicole and Cassandra Bainbridge. To solve the case, Al must figure out what connects the two deaths and the remaining members of the Bainbridge family. As he investigates, he meets a diverse cast of characters that illustrate the widespread racial and societal prejudices of the era, which are especially prominent as a result of World War II, whilst dealing with his own past as a mixed race child of an American and a deported Mexican immigrant.

The ensuing story is intriguing, thrilling, sad and hopeful, and compels readers to thoughtfully consider how society has developed and yet also remained the same in many ways. 8/10

-JH

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