Flowing Water, Falling Flowers – the debut novel from X.H Collins

The debut novel from X.H. Collins


"Flowing Water, Falling Flowers is an engrossing, beautiful debut that glides through multiple times and places. Collins brings to life not only the complex cast of characters, but an entire culture, both of which come vibrantly alive through her storytelling magic. The Han, Wang, and Fang families take us on an enlightening, unforgettable journey."   –Kali White VanBaale, award-winning author of The Monsters We Make and The Good Divide

"The atmosphere for this book is masterfully set by a poem, a song, and a new-born baby’s cry. All too soon the child disappears into the night of 1891 China. In a modern-day Chicago the stage is set with Rose Ming’s breakup from a married man, the loss of her academic job, and the consoling trip back to California and her mother. Rose and her mother are drawn back to China and into a haunting mystery that spans generations." - Mary Davidsaver, author of Clouds Over Bishop Hill

"The lyrical prose of Xixuan Collins winds beautifully through the pages of Flowing Water, Falling Flowers. Choices made through love echo from century to century in this touching story rich in Chinese culture." -  Tom McKay, author of West Fork, Another Life, and The Old Guard 

"X.H. Collins’s first novel is a family epic full of lush detail and characters who carry us effortlessly through a multi-generational mystery. Readers who love to travel and learn by reading will be fascinated by the story of early 20th century China and the Chinese railway. Weaving in and out of narratives and time, Collins unites research and imagination in this intimate story celebrating our unshakable bonds to family."

-Felicia Schneiderhan, author of Newlyweds Afloat  

About the Book


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When she loses her job and her lover in one fell swoop, art history professor Rose Ming agrees to accompany her mother on an annual visit to relatives in her Chinese hometown of Three Rivers. Once there, Rose learns that she, her mother, aunt, and her cousin, Hong-Mei, have all shared a strange dream prompting them to search for an ancestor nobody seems to remember. With her future uncertain, Rose decides to solve the family mystery, and instead unearths an unutterable tragedy hidden for over a hundred years.

Living in the last decades of the Qing dynasty, Peony, Lady Han, has every material comfort, a doting husband, and two beautiful children. With so much to share, she decides to adopt Jasmine, the daughter of her devoted maidservant, A-mei, giving her the advantages of a comfortable upbringing. But while Peony’s daughter, Iris, embraces Jasmine as a sister, the new addition to the family has deeper repercussions throughout both families, altering more than one future. And when Rose discovers the true history of the Han and Wang families, including their unbearable losses, she learns the meaning of love, friendship, family, faith, and the sacrifices people are willing to pay to achieve them, a lesson that allows her to face her own future with new courage.


Xixuan was born in Hechuan, Sichuan Province, China, grew up in Kangding, on the East Tibet Plateau, and now calls Iowa home. Although always wanting to be a writer, she chose a career path of science and earned a MS in cell biology and a PhD in nutrition, and has taught biology at a community college for the past fifteen years.  When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, dancing (ballroom and Latin), and cooking.

Xixuan began writing in English in the summer of 2015. The second short story she had ever written in English placed third in the 2016 Iron Pen Contest, a 24-hour writing contest organized by the Midwest Writing Center. A flash fiction piece earned the honor of “editor’s favorite” in the River City Readers’ Flash Fiction Contest in 2016, and another placed second in 2017. A short story has appeared in the MOON Magazine and its anthology Out of this World: The Best Short Stories from The MOON.

She’s currently working on her second novel, a story about an extraordinary woman and her ghost mother.

Publisher: MWC Press
Publication Year: 2020
Format: trade paperback
Length: 260
ISBN: 9781733480239
List Price: 15.00
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