Inspired by the true story of Dr. Ho Fengshan, Righteous Among the Nations, Night Angels is a powerful exploration of the human spirit’s resilience in the face of unspeakable evil. The novel illuminates the risks taken, the friendships forged, and the love that endured amid the darkest hours of history. A gripping and emotionally charged tribute to the unsung heroes who dared to defy the shadows of hatred, Night Angels is a compelling narrative that will resonate long after the final page is turned.
THE RUNDOWN: SYNOPSIS & Media Reviews
“An illuminating look at a little-known, inspiring piece of history we should never forget.”—Kristin Harmel, author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars.
Weina Dai Randel’s Night Angels breathes life into the unsung heroism of Dr. Ho Fengshan, the consul-general in Vienna during World War II, and his wife Grace. This gripping novel delves into the couple’s valiant efforts to issue visas to Jews fleeing the clutches of the Nazis, a story that remained largely unacknowledged in Ho’s lifetime but has found a deserving tribute in these pages.
Set in 1938, the story begins with the arrest of the fictional character Lola Schnitzler, a Jewish woman offering to be Grace’s German tutor. This incident became a catalyst for the Fengshans, drawing them into the perilous mission of aiding Jews in emigrating to Shanghai as the Third Reich tightened its grip on Austria. Randel adeptly intertwines historical events with compelling fictional elements, immersing readers in the couple’s heroic endeavors.
“An exquisitely delivered tale of three souls―a Chinese diplomat who risks everything, his benevolent wife, and a Jewish language tutor―all caught up in the hell that was Nazi-occupied Vienna and of the resulting quest to hold on to hope and their humanity. Hauntingly beautiful.” ―Susan Meissner, USA Today bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things
One notable aspect is the exploration of Grace’s past, providing a nuanced perspective. Born to an abusive white mother and a Chinese father, Grace’s traumatic upbringing shapes her into a character of equal significance. Her journey, fueled by empathy and forged through a profound friendship with Lola, adds a layer of emotional depth to the narrative. Randel successfully elevates Grace beyond a mere supporting character, offering readers a poignant portrayal of resilience and self-discovery.
The author skillfully captures the atmosphere of 1930s Vienna and the increasing xenophobia of the time. Vienna, once a beacon of civility and decorum, succumbs to the atrocities of the Nazis, serving as a stark reminder of the dangers of complacency. Ho Fengshan, initially disillusioned by the hate, transforms into a symbol of resistance, refusing to stand idly by as Jews face unimaginable horrors.
The true strength of Night Angels lies in its portrayal of the human spirit’s resilience amid adversity. Dr. Ho’s courageous actions, inspired by the real-life heroism of Dr. Ho Fengshan, the Righteous Among the Nations, serve as a poignant reminder of the capacity for compassion in the darkest of times.
As the threats mount and the world hurtles towards World War II, the novel delves into the complexities of sacrifice, loss, and the enduring power of love and friendship. The characters, finely drawn and emotionally resonant, navigate a treacherous path, leaving readers captivated and profoundly moved.
Night Angels is a testament to the indomitable spirit of those who risked everything to defy evil, a poignant exploration of the lengths one couple went to save lives during a tumultuous era. Randel’s meticulous research and storytelling prowess make this novel a compelling and emotionally charged tribute to the unsung heroes of history.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Weina Dai Randel is the Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author of four novels: Night Angels, The Last Rose of Shanghai, The Moon in the Palace, and The Empress of Bright Moon.
Weina is the winner of the RWA RITA Award, the National Jewish Book Award finalist, and the Goodreads Choice Award “Best Historical Fiction” nominee. Her novels have been translated into 13 languages, including Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Hebrew.
Representation | Agent:
Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
“Night Angels offers a fresh non-western-centric perspective on the rise of Nazism and Jewish persecution. Recommended.”—Historical Novels Review
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