Boyd and Lubao
Farewell My China
The focus of this dynamic story is based on the true lives of Anita Tayler Boyd and her siblings, Rosem, Helen and Maisie. Alfred Llewellyn Tayler, the girls’ father, an architect and artist, set sail from England at the turn of the century to seek opportunities in the Orient. Lillian Chasemore Raper, an English nurse, accepted a post in India. After her duties were fulfilled, she decided to sail to Shanghai where she met and married Alfred and had four daughters. His business flourished and the family lived in the lap of luxury with many servants, a luxurious social life and extravagant voyages abroad.
Brought up by Victorian British parents in Shanghai, according to custom, the Tayler sisters were sent abroad to be educated and tailored to become debutants. Returning to Shanghai, they were oblivious of the poverty surrounding them and enjoyed a privileged lifestyle of lavish parties, sumptuous night clubs, beautiful handmade gowns, and sports events of the era.
Life in Shanghai and Chinese customs are vividly explored with amusing and touching details, opening a window for the reader to experience. Sights, sounds and scents of the street vendors and ordinary life of the people and their mores are felt by the reader.
The four beautiful Tayler girls married into wealthy families in China. While the focus is on Anita and her loves, her sisters’ lives are equally engrossing. Kirby Boyd, the love of her life, works for the British American Tobacco Company. After a tumultuous romance, Anita and Kirby marry. An exotic lifestyle ensued living in Newchwong, Tsingtao and Shanghai. Their surreal lifestyle in the midst of political unrest, warlords battling for territories, and eventual Japanese invasion was soon to come to an end. The cocoon woven around the family was to unravel abruptly.
With the threat of a Japanese takeover of Shanghai looming, large companies began evacuating women and children from the International Settlements. The following years were wrought with family separations, Japanese internment camps and the horrors of war. Anita’s trials of experiencing life in a strange land with a young child and separation from husband and family make for intense reading.
World War II finally came to an end, however, it is the beginning of new tribulations. Companies and banks in Shanghai are slow to reopen, money is scarce and lodging impossible to find. Overcoming tragedy and obstacles became a way of life for Anita. Pursuing to reclaim her lifestyle prior to the war, Anita returns to Shanghai a shattered city, a husband she barely recognizes and her family torn apart.