Peony (novel)

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First edition cover
AuthorPearl S. Buck
CountryUnited States
GenreHistorical novel
PublisherThe John Day Company
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)

Peony is a novel by Pearl S. Buck first published in 1948. It is a story of China's Kaifeng Jews.


Peony is set in the 1850s in the city of Kaifeng, in the province of Henan, which was historically a center for Chinese Jews. The novel follows Peony, a Chinese bondmaid of the prominent Jewish family of Ezra ben Israel's, and shows through her eyes how the Jewish community was regarded in Kaifeng at a time when most of the Jews had come to think of themselves as Chinese. The novel contains a hidden love and shows the importance of duty, along with the challenges of life. This novel follows the guidelines of Buck's work: it is set in China, and it involves religion and an interracial couple (David and Kueilan).[citation needed]


A prefatory note preceding the title page, which tells the reader of the assimilation about the Jews of Kaifeng, reads: "Today even the memory of their origin is gone. They are Chinese."[1]


  1. ^ Buck, Pearl S. (1948). "Preface". Peony. The John Day Company.

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