Winner of the 2011 Cross Straits Literary Competition
Her discovery of a lost da Vinci makes Amelie an overnight star in the international art scene, but failure to find a buyer before the deadline takes fame away equally fast. Broke and disgraced, she flees Europe to her hometown—a mountain city in Taiwan—to attend her grandmother’s funeral, but also to nurse her wounds.
While going through her grandmother’s effects, Amelie finds an entry in one of her grandfather’s notebooks that hints at a hitherto unknown masterpiece by Zhao Bo, a famous painter who was killed in a political uprising half a century previously. The painting was apparently a gift to her late grandfather and would be worth millions if discovered. It would also be her ticket back to the art world.
Amelie’s treasure hunt soon becomes a journey of self-discovery as she navigates the complicated relationships between Zhao’s heirs and her own family, her hometown’s tragic history and Zhao’s mysterious lover, Motoko. The key to the lost painting seems to be with Jiang Zen, the Japanese sculptor who came to Taiwan to guard Zhao’s artistic legacy, and the man Amelie is destined to fall in love with. Based on a true story, Motoko Smiles is upmarket women’s fiction at its best, seamlessly blending art, mystery, family secrets and searing romance.