GREAT FALLS — Great Falls author Jamie Ford’s new book is in stores now, and on the day it was released, it received a stron gendorsement from a book club powerhouse.
On Tuesday, "Today" show co-host Jenna Bush Hager named “The Many Daughters of Afong Moy” as her latest book club pick.
“The book is about inherited trauma,” said Ford. “That sounds really heavy so I tend to call this my epigenetic love story. I start with the genetic line of a woman named Afong Moy. She was a real historic figure she was the first Chinese woman to come to America in the 1830’s. She was brought over and she toured up and down the east coast from Buffalo, New York, to Cuba.”
The book combines historical fiction with speculative fiction. It spans Afong’s life in America until she disappeared from the headlines. And it traces several of her descendants up until 2045.
“Part of the book is set in China during World War Two, and part is set in England in the 20’s, part is set in San Francisco in the late 1800’s when they had a plague epidemic and part of it is set in Seattle around 2014 in contemporary times.”
The main character, Dorothy Moy, struggles with mental health issues. When her 5-year old daughter seems to be on the same path, Dorothy dives into her heritage for answers.
“Worried that her daughter is going to be encumbered with the same struggles she undergoes an epigenetic therapy,” said Ford. ”It’s based on modern science. It does not exist in the form in the book, yet. But through that, processes all the ancestral memories.”
Ford earned New York Times best-selling status for "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet."
Being named a Read With Jenna Book Club Pick is an amazing accomplishment: “It’s a big deal. Jenna is the heir apparent to Oprah as far as book clubs,” said Ford. “She has a huge voice in the industry.”
Jamie is currently on a book tour which will wrap up later this month with an appearance on the "Today" show. He also plans on appearing in Montana book stores.
Talking with Jamie about how his family influenced character development in the book:
"McGonigal's Chronicles" podcast interview with Jamie from May 2021: