The Dancing Girl and the Turtle

dancing girl
Book cover: The Dancing Girl & the Turtle

The Dancing Girl and the Turtle is my debut novel, published in April 2017 by Linen Press. It’s the first volume of The Shanghai Quartet: my four interlocking novels about Shanghai.

Here’s what The Dancing Girl and the Turtle is all about:

A rape. A war. A society where women are bought and sold but no one can speak of shame. Shanghai 1937. Violence throbs at the heart of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle.


Song Anyi leaves her home for Shanghai and freedom. On the road, Chinese soldiers rape her and leave Anyi for dead. The silence and shame she faces drive Anyi to self-harm and prostitution. From opium dens to high-class brothels, Anyi dances on the edge of destruction as China goes to war with Japan.

There is violence in this novel, just as there is violence in the lives of many women. Some of it is self-inflicted; very little is deserved. Anyi is the voice of every woman denied a place at the table and every girl whose shame led her to self-harm.

behind the scenes

For some of you, this may be your first glimpse of Anyi and Old Shanghai. But if you are as addicted as I am to that raucous, no holds barred place, you may be hungry for more. In that case, you’ve come to the right place!

Many of the posts in my blog talk about the back story to The Dancing Girl and the Turtle. About the inspiration drawn from my own family, the music and the clothing, the servants and the city itself. But there’s also the darker side: war and self-harm and politics, too.

I didn’t make it all up. I put some serious legwork into research in order to bring Old Shanghai to life. Though I will say (and not just because I was once a lawyer): this is a work of fiction.

You can also read about the process of bringing The Dancing Girl and the Turtle from manuscript to bookthe book launch, author events and my most recent book blog tour.

Are you a member of a book club? Here are your questions.

For reviews of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, check out my brag page.

how to buy the dancing girl and the turtle

If you’re looking to buy a copy of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, here are your options:

  • For readers in my hometown of Amsterdam: Boekhandel van Rossum. For folks outside Amsterdam, contact me here.
  • If you live in the UK, you can order a hard copy directly from the publisher via the Linen Press webshop.
  • For my fans in California, go to Book Passage in Sausalito, California.
  • If you live anywhere else, you can always special order my book from your favorite local bookstore.
  • Or, if you prefer to read on your Kindle or absolutely must buy online then here’s the link to my author page at and