A Cup of Light is the third book I’ve read by Nicole Mones, and I do love her work! She’s such a good storyteller, and I find her topics fascinating! Her books are set in China, and there’s so much to learn about the culture and about the arts in each of them. Recently I read her book, The Last Chinese Chef, which was a delicious story about Chinese cuisine. This one was about the world surrounding priceless Imperial porcelain, and Ms. Mones really did her research. I enjoy how much I learn about Chinese culture from her books, but I particularly enjoy the characters she creates.
From the publisher:
As an American appraiser of fine Chinese porcelain, Lia Frank holds fragile beauty in her hands, examines priceless treasure with a magnifying lens. But when Lia looks in the mirror, she sees the flaws in herself, a woman wary of love, cut off from the world around her. Still, when she is sent to Beijing to authenticate a collection of rare pieces, Lia will find herself changing in surprising ways…coming alive in the shadow of an astounding mystery. As Lia evaluates each fragile pot, she must answer questions that will reverberate through dozens of lives: Where did these works of art come from? Are they truly authentic? Or are they impossibly beautiful forgeries–part of the perilous underworld of Chinese art? As Lia examines her treasure, a breathtaking mystery unravels around her. And with political intrigue intruding on her world of provenance and beauty, Lia is drawn into another, more personal drama–a love affair that could alter the course of her life.
An excerpt from the book:
Tilted on its side, surrounded by white silk, it seemed to be one of the Chenghua chicken cups. But that would be impossible. Those delicate little Ming masterworks, made in the late 1400s for the Chenghua emperor, were some of porcelain’s highest stars. Whole careers were devoted to them…
…She unrolled the felt and lifted the cup out again. She held it to eye level. Fantastic. The proportion, the shape and balance were just what they ought to be. It was a feeling more than anything else, but it was sure and deep and it ran like a stream of light all through her: The cup was right. The porcelain had that vanilla-toned, off-white warmth that came from the clay used during the Chenghua reign, never dead white, always soft, alive. It was an effect almost impossible to reproduce, and this cup had it right.