Born in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer.
A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl's journey into adulthood, Adeline's story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding. With a powerful voice that speaks of the harsh realities of growing up female in a family and society that kept girls in emotional chains, Falling Leaves is a work of heartfelt intimacy and a rare authentic portrait of twentieth-century China.
About the Author
Adeline Yen Mah is the author of Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter, an ALA Best Book for Young Readers and a Publishers Weekly Best Book. Her other books include the New York Times best-seller Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter; A Thousand Pieces of Gold: A Memoir of China's Past Through Its Proverbs; and Watching the Tree: A Chinese Daughter Reflects on Happiness, Traditions, and Spiritual Wisdom. Millions of readers worldwide celebrate the way Ms. Mah conveys the power of the human spirit in her writings.
Ms. Yen Mah was born in Tianjin, China. When she won a writing competition at the age of fourteen, she convinced her father to send her to school in England, where she later received a medical degree. Following the success of falling leaves, she has pursued her lifelong dream of being a fulltime writer.
Adeline Yen Mah lives in California and England with her husband. If you wish to review this book or contact the author, visit her online at
Adeline Yen Mah is a physician and the author of Watching the Tree, Chinese Cinderella, and the international bestseller Falling Leaves. Dr. Mah is married and has two children. She divides her time between Huntington Beach, California and London, England.
"I read for two nights, sleepless, my heart pierced by Adeline Yen Mah's account of her terrible childhood. Falling Leaves is a potent psychological drama pitting a stubborn little girl against the most merciless of adversaries and rivals: her own family. I am still haunted by Mah's memoir."
—Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club
"Painful and lovely, at once heartbreaking and heartening."
—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
"Brilliant, compelling, and unforgettable. A heartrending modern-day Cinderella story set against the turbulence of twentieth-century China. Autobiography at its best."
—Nien Chang, author of Life and Death in Shanghai