Molly Lee, 94, is a vibrant Chinese woman from Burma whose captivating life story is told in Gentle Moon. Her story satisfies on many levels; it is engaging, inspirational, and historically and culturally fascinating; it has drama, excitement, humor, and romance, and the varied characters are admirable and endearing. The story has the intrigue of a great piece of fiction with the genuineness of a candidly told true story and the freshness of a distant culture and forgotten country, now known as Myanmar. Molly's attention to detail and her animated dialogue make the story come alive!
Chin Ngood Yin, as Molly was first known, excelled as a student at the Chinese school in Chinatown of Rangoon, Burma, then a British colony. Her family was well-to-do, and Ngood grew up in a culture of Chinese opera, literature, wisdom, and religion. When she admired the uniforms and mysterious language of some girls in the city, she gathered courage to ask her stern father for permission to attend the Methodist English High School.
The first years at the new school were daunting for Ngood, called "Molly Chin" by her new friends and teachers. The classes were taught in English, which Molly couldn't understand. Determined, she would go home after school and look up every word of her lessons in a Chinese-English dictionary. Amazingly, the young girl was learning Burmese at the same time.
As Molly was finishing high school, studying for her final test, World War II threw her ordered world into terror and chaos. Her family had to "run to the hill country" to a little village in the Shan Hills of central Burma. Molly and her sisters were hidden away for fear of marauding soldiers. At last, Molly's father relented to the ardent young man arranged to marry Molly, and she had a rushed wedding before being whisked away in a tea truck, which unknown to her, would have to pass a Japanese check-point where the tea boxes surrounding her hiding place would be pierced by bayonets. The war continued to create havoc in the lives of the young couple.
After the war, Molly and her husband attended a church in Rangoon and became Christians. They were surprised by the resulting anger of most friends and relatives. Then when Molly's husband became sick, the relatives were convinced that the gods were retaliating for the rebels' devotion to Jesus.
Because of her husband's illness, Molly had to find work to help support her family. Providentially, since she knew multiple languages, she was hired by the United States Information Services Library in Rangoon. This outreach of Americans to the people of Burma was embraced by locals until a military coup and socialist take-over closed the library. The new government crippled the country and cowed citizens by shooting protestors, imprisoning without charge or trial those arousing suspicion, and instituting a network of spies. Riots against Chinese citizens further threatened Molly and her family. The story of the family's escape involved some well-placed cigarettes.
About the Author
Author of Gentle Moon, Deanna Windon, has long enjoyed writing. She attended seminars and did correspondence training with the Writing Academy out of Madison, Wisconsin, published a children's book, The Last Lie, through Concordia Publishing House, and wrote numerous opinion pieces for the Newark Advocate newspaper. But how does this seldom-traveled, sixty-year-old Ohio woman end up writing the intriguing story of a 94-year old Chinese woman from Burma? Providentially, Deanna met Molly Lee at their church and, as their friendship developed, was captivated hearing bits of the life story of this petite, dynamic saint. The friends felt led to collaborate in telling Molly's inspirational story, and nearly nine years were devoted to this work. The partnership was a good one: Molly's sharp mind recalled engaging stories in remarkable detail, and Deanna relentlessly questioned Molly and studied other sources to understand the unfamiliar Burmese, Chinese, colonial British, WWII, and twentieth century cultures. The resulting work sweeps the reader into those rich ethnicities and histories in an unforgettable journey. Deanna lives with her husband, Jim, in Granville, Ohio, and enjoys family and friends, Bible study, music, gardening, and making paper. The couple has two grown sons. Jim's son Eric Vannatta and his wife, Megan, live in Baltimore, Ohio. Matt Windon lives in Erlanger, Kentucky.