Destiny Cottage
by Dieter Gartelmann

"If you are generous today, you will be rewarded tomorrow."

At a young age, Li Baozhai learns how to rely on charm and spreading joy in an effort to get what she wants. After a failed arranged marriage proposal, Baozhai is determined to live a life on her terms, which includes choosing her own husband yet maintaining personal autonomy. She runs away and sets up a life for herself as a street-cart chef in the village of Nantong.

Wei grew up learning Kung Fu after being bullied as a child and relied on his guiding principles of strength, honesty, and hard work. After his marriage to a young woman falls apart, Wei also decides to live life on his own terms, working for his keep and with a goal to travel to the Australian goldmines to strike it rich. Wei's journey takes him to Nantong, where his path crosses with Baozhai. The two hit it off almost instantly. After courting, they start their journey together to Australia's goldmines. But the journey by boat and land proves to be more perilous than it seems at first, and Wei and Baozhai have to figure out who is friend and who is foe while trying to make a living off Australia's wild territory.

Evenly split between Baozhai's and Wei's budding relationship and then their journey to Australia, the story emphasizes the importance of putting in positive efforts and energy into achieving a dream. The theme of living one's truth is also developed successfully. Set in the 1850s, Gartelman's novel focuses on ambition, love, and the sweet rewards of life. Romance fans and those interested in nineteenth-century China and Australia might find much to enjoy in this work.

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