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Shanghai, China, 1937, and the Republic is at war.
Harry, a young Chinese man working for a rich British business man in the International Settlement, is worried about his family in Suzhou, his hometown, whose population is threatened with extinction at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army. Pan Yi, his childhood friend, and a woman in love with him, leaves her simple existence in the country for the bright lights of Shanghai: her reason, to be with the man she wants as her husband and to imitate the life of her idol, the late film star, Ruan Lingyu.
Harry, however, has other plans. He has an eye for Miss Mary, his employer's spoiled daughter, brought up to feel the British are doing the Chinese a favour for being there.
Will Harry do enough to impress her and win her hand? Will Pan Yi's journey to the Nevernight City, under the duress of war, have all been for nothing?
Read on in this historical literary romance set in a time when no one knew what the next day would bring.