If a standard historical romance uses a factual setting to dress up the plot, this is the opposite. Overtly and directly it derives from the politics of the Nationalist government in Nanjing and the outbreak of war between China and Japan. But it's real theme is love, and specifically if a disillusioned, dissolute man can ever find true love. A genuine Chinese atmosphere breathes through the social background, the characterisation and the dialogue. A personal question is if the tendency toward American slang works: for me on balance it did.