The story is about Iris, who promised her dying father she would continue to live his dream of opening up the Iris Rhodes Center for Street Children in Vietnam. Iris’s father, who was a soldier during the Vietnam War, decided to give back to Vietnam by opening this wonderful center for the children who have been living on the streets. Iris is joined in Vietnam by Noah, an Iraq war veteran who lost his leg during an explosion that killed his best friend. Dealing with his own demons, and trying to please his mother, Noah reluctantly accompanies Iris to Vietnam.
We are also introduced to several Vietnamese. Thien, who is the manager of the center, is a calming influence on both Iris and Noah. She is the one who knows how to get things done, and helps in every way to open the center. We meet Qui and Tam, a grandmother and her granddaughter, who have been forced to beg on the streets to be able to buy food and medicine. Mai and Minh are two young children who have been abandoned by their parents. They are forced to beg, sell postcards and fans, and play games against foreigners in order to raise money to give to the man who “protects” them from harm. This man spends the money they earn all on Opium and prostitutes, while leaving the kids barely enough to eat.
Not only do you get instantly drawn in to the characters and everything that’s going on with them, but the descriptions of Vietnam are very vivid. You can almost feel the wind in your hair when Shors talks about dodging potholes and other vehicles while moving around the city on a scooter. The scenery and characters are talked about with such care, you know that a lot of time, effort and emotion was put into this novel.
John Shors is dedicating part of the profits of Dragon House to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, which works with children in crisis throughout Vietnam. This organization gives these children a chance at a different life – and what more can you ask for, really? Please visit John Shors’ website to learn more about the author, his books, and the charitable organizations he supports.
I highly recommend this novel. It was an emotional ride at times, just thinking about everything that these characters had to go through. You will be thrown right into this whole other world, and I would guess that you will be touched by this story.
In fact, I want to pass this one along, so I am going to host a giveaway!!! All you have to do is leave a comment here on this post by Friday, October 29. I will use Random.org to choose a winner!!! Be sure to leave a valid email address, if not, you will not be entered. I need to be able to get a hold of you, right?! Good luck to everyone, and happy reading!!!!!