Amid the turmoil of history, the daughters of Hue's River Huong in Vietnam struggle to fulfill their destinies in a cross-cultural ethnic saga stretching from ancient Hue to romantic Paris to today's Manhattan. Beginning in the Violet City of Hue, these stories of a Vietnamese royal concubine and her descendants span four generations, portraying Vietnam's struggle for independence. Taken together, the tales of survival for these women reveal a Vietnamese female cultural identity that traces back to the extinct Kingdom of Champa in central Vietnam. This tale is wrapped in the nostalgic mystique of the dying days of the last Vietnamese monarchy, the brutality of colonization and revolution, and a family feud that brings together Andre, a troubled French Romeo and Si, a romantic Vietnamese girl. The web of history and Baudelaire verses supply the texture for a "taboo" love story told in the knowing voice of a Vietnamese girl who, as she grows into adulthood, ennobles her forbidden bond into a spiritual love that transcends age, generations, and cultural barriers. The love story between Andre and Si signifies the death of French romanticism in her colony and the opening of war-torn Vietnam and its exotic culture to the inexorable modernism of global interdependence. This impressionistically painted portrait will remind the reader of the sweeping stories in Gone with the Wind and The Thorn Birds, with the humanist touches of The Joy Luck Club.