In 1850s China, a young girl, Peony, is sold to work
as a bondmaid for a rich Jewish family in Kaifeng. Jews have lived for
centuries in this region of the country, but by the mid-nineteenth century,
assimilation has begun taking its toll on their small enclave. When Peony and
the family’s son, David, grow up and fall in love with one another, they face
strong opposition from every side. Tradition forbids the marriage, and the
family already has a rabbi’s daughter in mind for David.
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Long celebrated for its subtle and even-handed treatment of colliding
traditions, Peony is an engaging coming-of-age story
about love, identity, and the tragedy and beauty found at the intersection of
two disparate cultures.