"Based on historical events, this novel brings to life a little-known aspect of Chinese history; between 1840 and 1875, close to one million men were stolen from southern China to labor in Latin America. The author does a clever job of interweaving the novel's two perspectives, and her clear voice and simple yet elegant style easily turns this work into a real page-turner.
Highly recommended for general readers as well as those studying Chinese history."
- Library Journal
"God of Luck is an emotionally engaging, suspenseful novel... McCunn's range in capturing diverse emotions is impressive, from the limitless cruelty of the guano industry to the deeply touching bond of love between Ah Lung and Bo See... The author's technique of alternating chapters between the perspectives of the separated spouses heightens the suspense and...there is a theme of hope and redemption amidst the tragedy... Most highly recommended."
- Multicultural Review, Summer 2008
- "Told from both the husband and the wife's points of view, God of Luck is a story of ordinary people discovering extraordinary inner resources of mind and heart in the face of savage adversity. It's impossible not to empathize with these characters and hope for their reunion, as they keep faith with each other though circumstances conspire to part them, perhaps forever...
- "McCunn's vision of 19th-century China is original and based on her own wide-ranging research. The familiar landscape has a way of suddenly turning surprising, for example, when the author delves into the traditional role of independent spinsters in Chinese society....
- "In God of Luck, McCunn creates a world, distant from us in both space and time, which seems absolutely authentic, and characters who are heartbreakingly real in their universal humanity."
- Historical Novels Review
- "McCunn's captivating historical novel is, at least to a degree, an adventure tale, as Ah Lung pits his wits against those of his captors in an effort to escape and return home. But McCunn, an excellent writer, offers readers other deeper pleasures as well. Among these is the wide palette of sensory experience...
- "[A] remarkably layered portrait of a fascinating but little-known era in Chinese history."
- WaterBridge Review
- "[A]n absorbing blend of history and realism...and the power of faith and the triumph of love over adversity..."
- Curled Up with a Good Book
- "Once more, Ruthanne Lum McCunn has demonstrated that the history of the Chinese diaspora cannot be fully told without the critical intervention of the novelist. In the case of Chinese coolies transported to Peru in the 19th century–the subject of this moving novel–the documents are especially scarce. McCunn, through her fertile and creative mind, helps us imagine how this transnational story might have unfolded, evoking deep emotions of love, yearning, and loss."
- Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Professor of History & Ethnic Studies,
- "With God of Luck, Ruthanne Lum McCunn has turned her descriptive and sensitive storytelling skills to the little known coolie trade to Peru. She beautifully combines the hardships and brutality of the kidnapping of a Chinese man, conditions on the slave ships, and the bitterness of back-breaking labor in a foreign land with the sadness and determination of a wife and family back home. Never separating history from its impact on individual people, McCunn has reached into her characters' hearts to bring readers a story of emotional depth and truth."
- Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
- "Wise and spellbinding, God of Luck is partly history we didn't know, partly the Odyssey and the Amistad, partly the grit of a tough Chinese slave in Peru and a plucky survivor in China. Mostly, it is a story about the great collective us."
- Gus Lee, China Boy, Chasing Hepburn, and Courage
- "Once again Ruthanne Lum McCunn opens a window onto another little-known chapter in the history of Chinese experience in the Americas. With amazing detail and riveting power, Ah Lung's story will keep readers spellbound and cheering to the final page."
- Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, Farewell to Manzanar and
The Legend of Fire Horse Woman
- "God of Luck is a meticulously researched and beautifully written tale of early Chinese migration to the Americas. Sparing us little of the grim details, Ruthanne Lum McCunn shows how ordinary people can muster extraordinary courage and hope through difficult times. God of Luck is a splendid read."
- Franklin Odo, Director, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, Smithsonian Institution
- "I love God of Luck. Ruthanne Lum McCunn writes with rare authenticity and passion."
- Da Chen, Colors of the Mountain and Brothers