From beginning to end, The Flower Boat Girl is a tale packed with rich details about a woman who rises above adversity to chart her own destiny. In the process, Cheng Yat Sou lands in the history books, not for any perceived sense of shame but for her many accomplishments.


The Description

Publication Date: June 28, 2021

Her father traded away her youth.
Sea bandits stole her freedom.
She has one way to get them back:
Become the most powerful pirate in the world.

South China coast, 1801. Sold as a child to a floating brothel, 26-year-old Yang has finally bought her freedom, only to be kidnapped by a brutal pirate gang and forced to marry their leader.

Dragged through stormy seas and lawless bandit havens, Yang must stay scrappy to survive. She embeds herself in the dark business of piracy, carving out her role against the resistance of powerful pirate leaders and Cheung Po Tsai, her husband’s flamboyant male concubine.

As she is caught between bitter rivals fighting for mastery over the pirates—and for her heart—Yang faces a choice between two things she never dreamed might be hers: power or love.

Based on a true story that has never been fully told until now, The Flower Boat Girl is the tale of a woman who, against all odds, shaped history on her own terms.

“A breathtaking saga of a real life heroine, so richly alive that the pages seem to breathe.”
Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author

The Review

By the age of 26, Shek Yang had experienced a lifetime of shame, having been sold by her father and forced into sexual slavery on a “flower boat,” the name given to floating Chinese brothels in the early 19th century. Her one goal was to become the mistress of her own destiny—a goal she was well on her way to achieving until the pirates attacked. Author Larry Feign tells Shek Yang’s story, plucked right from history, in The Flower Boat Girl.

Shek Yang’s evolution into Cheng Yat Sou and her rise as one of the most famous female pirates unfolds throughout the story. Rich with cultural details, the storyline not only provides the reader with an understanding of the main character’s life before being captured, but it also details the class distinctions of the time period. The author’s writing style reminded me of Pearl S. Buck’s work with his use of vivid language as a bridge for readers unfamiliar with Chinese culture.

The guides to characters and common Chinese terms also enhance the story by providing an immersive experience. Thanks to the writer’s attention to detail, readers get a spot on the pirate ship to watch as Shek Yang squares off against the pirate captain, Cheng Yat. We can feel her determination to fight for her identity and subsequent decision to be more than just a captain’s wife.

Since the focal point of the story centers around piracy, the author introduces a range of characters representing the best and the worst. There’s a definite thirst for battle, but some of the pirate captains have very little focus on strategy. That’s where Shek Yang, now known as Cheng Yat Sou, shines. As a female during that time, her place traditionally was to be seen rather than heard. I enjoyed watching her use the tools at her disposal to be heard.

From beginning to end, The Flower Boat Girl is a tale packed with rich details about a woman who rises above adversity to chart her own destiny. In the process, Cheng Yat Sou lands in the history books, not for any perceived sense of shame but for her many accomplishments.Buy Links

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About The Author

Larry Feign is an award-winning artist and writer based in Hong Kong. He is well known for his long-running daily political comic strip “Lily Wong”, which satirized life in Hong Kong before and after the handover to China until he retired the cartoon in 2007.

Feign’s work has appeared in Time, The Economistthe New York Times, The Atlantic, and other publications around the world. He also directed animated cartoons for Walt Disney Television and Cartoon Network. He is a MacDowell Fellow and three-time recipient of Amnesty International Human Rights Press Awards.

He now writes books full-time. The Flower Boat Girl is his first novel for adults.

Larry Feign lives in a small village on Lantau Island, not far from old pirate haunts, with his wife, psychologist and author Cathy Tsang-Feign, their two dogs, and the occasional uninvited python.

For information about his “Lily Wong” and other cartoon books, please visit




Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.


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