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Publisher's Summary

In Japanese-occupied Shanghai, two people from different cultures are drawn together by fate and the freedom of music...

1940. Aiyi Shao is a young heiress and the owner of a formerly popular and glamorous Shanghai nightclub. Ernest Reismann is a penniless Jewish refugee driven out of Germany, an outsider searching for shelter in a city wary of strangers. He loses nearly all hope until he crosses paths with Aiyi. When she hires Ernest to play piano at her club, her defiance of custom causes a sensation. His instant fame makes Aiyi’s club once again the hottest spot in Shanghai. Soon they realize they share more than a passion for jazz - but their differences seem insurmountable, and Aiyi is engaged to another man. 

As the war escalates, Aiyi and Ernest find themselves torn apart, and their choices between love and survival grow more desperate. In the face of overwhelming odds, a chain of events is set in motion that will change both their lives forever.

From the electrifying jazz clubs to the impoverished streets of a city under siege, The Last Rose of Shanghai is a timeless, sweeping story of love and redemption.

©2021 Weina Dai Randel. (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“[Emily Woo] Zeller delivers the chapters told from the perspective of Aiyi, whose privileged upbringing, beauty, and good business sense are not enough to protect her from the hardships of war. [Josh] Bloomberg performs the chapters focused on Ernest, a German-Jewish refugee who arrives in the city looking for a safe haven. Zeller's comfort with Asian languages and accents and Bloomberg's with European ones underscore Aiyi's and Ernest's divergent spheres. Together the narrators build on the couple's conflicted emotions as their relationship grows from being business associates to much more.” (AudioFile Magazine)

“Fans of sweeping, dramatic WWII epics that are rich in historical detail, such as Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls or Paullina Simons’s The Bronze Horseman will be enthralled.” (Booklist

“Weina Dai Randel’s novel deserves a place of distinction among WWII fiction.” (Historical Novel Society)  

What listeners say about The Last Rose of Shanghai

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Soapy but fun

I love ww2 fiction, but what I’ve read until now has been serious, realistic stuff. This story had some unbelievable elements, but I wouldn’t put this against it as it’s main purpose was to entertain. The performance was OK except for the sister in law, Piu ( if I’m spelling it correctly) who sounded too high pitched and hysterical. It was fun to listen to this story on my walks but I wouldn’t recommend it too highly.

16 people found this helpful

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Heartwrenching WWII history

The duo narrators, for Aiyi and Ernest, were so good!They truly brought the story to life. I like to learn about history and this book shines the light on Japan's occupation of China. The differences in culture and daily life were so interesting. Plus,the characters behaved like you would expect for young people in the midst of war and changing society. I loved the ending and look forward to reading more from this author.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good read

I liked the book. It focused on an element of WW2 I knew little about. The main characters were complex, not always likable. But I enjoy that in a story. Recommended!

9 people found this helpful

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A riveting story

This is a love story that the reader learns as the story progresses will not be fulfilled or have a happy ending. It is interesting for people who like historical fiction as the story is set during World War 2 with the Japanese invasion and cruel ruling of Shanghai. One thing I was disappointed in was that it was not clear at the end what happened to the male hero.

9 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyable

Excellent narration, great character development, and a glimpse into a personal world that is never taught in American school systems' history classes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, how it made me hungry for more information about World War II, and the surprising twist at the end.

Thank you, Weina Dai Randel, I hope to see more from this author.

6 people found this helpful

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love it!

this story is fabulous and so is the performance. just started using audible and this story kept me enthralled.

4 people found this helpful

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great book, had a lot of twists and turns.

must have book, the story is a very deep one. Sad, happy, scared, and mad . it brings the listener all.

4 people found this helpful

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A unique idea

I only recently learned about Jews in Shanghai during WW2, so I was intrigued to read some historical fiction written by someone of Chinese descent.

The performances in this story - the different narrators and overdramatised flair kind of took away from the story for me, but I was shake way through.

I still wanted to know how it ended, and couldn’t find the ending online. So I skimmed to the end on kindle, reading quickly enough the yearning and longing and such.

The end is surprising and if you’ve managed to make it halfway it’s worth trying to find the ending.

I honestly didn’t like any of the characters much. No one was likeable except maybe one old man and a baby. They are shallow and foolish and they pay for their consequences.

For me it’s really hard to get into a book where I’m not really rooting for any of the characters.

I think the author is a good writer, and paints vivid scenes, but I just cringed a lot during this book due to the foolish characters.

3 people found this helpful

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Love shanghai

Love it most enjoyable time spend listening to this book.Would recommend
to all my fellow readers

3 people found this helpful

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Beautiful and entrapping

Loved the historical aspect of the story and the surprise at the end. More please!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Christineb
  • 12-04-21

A real page turner

It's been a while since a book had me gripped from the beginning It had everything Storyline was great Characters where engaging and l felt invested Every detail was in depth without being tedious I loved it Recommend it as a great read

1 person found this helpful

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  • Holly
  • 04-26-22

Great story, wish I’d read in print

I really liked the story and it gave me an interesting and different perspective of the Second World War. However, I really struggled with both narrators and the voices they performed and almost gave up on it as a result. The character of Aiyi was not very likeable and I’m wondering if that’s because of the actor’s voice for her. I’m glad I powered through but this is one that I wish I’d read in print.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • john salisbury
  • 03-11-22

What a wonderfully big story.

So much is packed into this book, history I knew nothing about concerning the Jews in Shanghai who escaped Europe during world war 2.
A truly beautiful love story that is now embedded in my soul. I have never read a book so fast wanting it never to end, and wanting to know how it ended at the same time. Written with such passion and beauty.