THE TOUCH by LIU HONG.
As an acupuncturist, Lin Ju's work is all about contact, but the life she leads outside her clinic couldn't be more solitary. Thousands of miles away from her native China, from her estranged husband and her daughter, Lin Ju is very much alone in the small English town she must call home.
When Lucy, a young English mother, walks into the clinic and opens her heart, Lin Ju's narrow world is transformed. The two connect immediately, but as their friendship deepens, Lin Ju finds herself in a dilemma that stirs memories of a painful secret: the betrayal of her beloved grandfather, who defied family and tradition to teach her his craft, during the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.
..... From the outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE: Hold the needle as you would a tiger.
MEMORABLE MOMENT: Then he leaned forward and kissed my cheek. Watching him now, I realised that the peck on my cheek, innocent in his culture, had sparked in me this flicker of desire that now threatened to engulf us.
A very much hit-and-miss affair for me. Alternating between Lin Ju's life as a herbalist and acupuncturist in England and her childhood in China, I found her 'Chinese' story to be be fascinating, a real informative read whilst her 'English' story I found to be bland at best and unbelievable at worst.
A short read of less than 250 pages, to be honest I would have preferred that the story explored more of Lin Ju's life with her grandfather in China which was much more interesting and filled with very real people instead of the rather flat, one dimensional characters that seemed to frequent her life in England.
Not always believable and far from always making sense, I'm finding it difficult to say anything more about The Touch. Readers who are fascinated by life in China during a time of great change may find something worthwhile in this novel. For myself personally, I think that there are far more interesting novels set in China out there.
The Touch was an ex-library stock read.