Love Made of Heart: a Daughter, a Mother, a Journey Through Mental Illness by Teresa LeYung-Ryan






Author Teresa LeYung-Ryan uses her book Love Made of Heart to inspire adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their loved ones.

“The Chinese word for 'love' is made up of many brush strokes. In the center of the word 'love' is the word 'heart.'  Love is made of heart…”

  Teresa LeYung-Ryan, author of Love Made of Heart, photo by Margie Yee Webb   


Love Made of Heart: a Daughter, a Mother, a Journey Through Mental Illness by Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Please support public libraries and schools--institutions that empower children and adults with reading and writing.

Please support your favorite bookseller who can order any book for you when you give them a book title and author's name or the ISBN.

"My warmest gratitude to readers, teachers, librarians, mental-health advocates, friends, colleagues, mentors, loved ones, and the bookselling community for introducing Love Made of Heart  to more readers. 

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Love Made of Heart turned ten years old in October 2012
Teresa LeYung Ryan uses Love Made of Heart to speak openly about mental illness and stigmas
Love Made of Heart  is:
  • a 2002 nominee of the Asian American Literary Awards
  • recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association
  • used in Women in Psychology, First-Year Composition college course, Advanced Composition English-as-a-Second-Language classes
  • read by students at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, City College of Sacramento, Lowell High School, and many other wonderful institutions
  • archived at the San Francisco History Center
  • available at public libraries


Teresa LeYung-Ryan  uses her novel Love Made of Heart to:

  • celebrate immigrants 
  • inspire adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas
  • help survivors of family violence find their own voices 
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Teresa LeYung-Ryan thanks all teachers, librarians, readers, including Professors Victor Turks, Miriam Queen, Patricia Costello, Dan Haytin, Sheryl Fairchild and their delightful students.  

author Teresa LeYung-Ryan visits Professor Sheryl Fairchild and Women In Psychology students, photo by MYW

Author Teresa LeYung-Ryan (standing at right side of room) visits Professor Sheryl Fairchild (wearing aqua-blue, seated in last row) and her wonderful students in Women In Psychology -- photo by author Margie Yee Webb

Click on the 3 links below:


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Publisher's Note: Kensington Publishing Corp, NY

“The Chinese word for 'love' is made up of many brush strokes. In the center of the word 'love' is the word 'heart.' Love is made of heart…”

Twenty-seven-year-old Ruby Lin has what many women envy: a beautiful apartment in one of San Francisco's best neighborhoods, a busy social life, and a coveted position as manager of special events for the tony St. Mark's Hotel. But it's Ruby's personal life that's become unmanageable ever since the day her mother's emotional breakdown forced Ruby to hospitalize her, shaming the family. Now, Ruby is caught in the crossroads between two vastly different cultures-one in which she is the American girl, raised on kitschy television shows and black-and-white movies, and one in which she is known only as Daughter, the eldest, fulfiller of responsibilities.

In putting together the pieces of her mother's life, Ruby finds herself exploring the wounds of her own past. Starting with a forbidden locked tin box and the yellowing photograph inside, Ruby embarks on a startling journey of self-discovery that takes her through a family history rife with violence, betrayal and loss that reaches back through generations, from China to America, and finally to the secret pain of a mother's sacrifice. Like the Chinese calligraphy that adorns her walls, Ruby comes to see that “life is not a straight road,” but a language drawn with many brush strokes, where every misunderstanding must yield to the simple message of the heart.

Filled with warmth and wisdom, this luminous debut novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in fiction as it explores the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, the choices that divide us, and the love that brings us home.


Love Made of Heart is listed in Wikipedia when you search: "Chinese Immigration to the United States"

Autobiographies and novels:

  • Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Vintage 1989 (Neuausgabe), ISBN 0679721886
  • Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, Putnam Adult 1989, ISBN 0399134204
  • Laurence Yep, Dragonwings. Golden Mountain Chronicles. 1903, (HarperTrophy) 1977, ISBN 0064400859
  • Teresa LeYung Ryan, Love Made of Heart, Kensington Publishing Corporation (Neuausgabe), ISBN 0758202172

Teresa LeYung Ryan is so proud that her work is included in the same list as the works of Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, and Laurence Yep, especially when Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior inspired Teresa to begin writing Love Made of Heart.



Love Made Of Heart

Author: Teresa LeYung Ryan
Pub Date : Oct-2003
Imprint : Kensington
Format : Trade Paperback





Love Made Of Heart

Author: Teresa LeYung Ryan
Pub Date : Oct-2002
Imprint : Kensington
Format : Hardcover



Love Made of Heart  is in  97 libraries (84 branches in the United States, 2 branches in the United Kingdom , 9 branches in New Zeland; 1 branch in Austrialia, 1 branch in Singapore).


 Love made of Heart

 Praise and Reviews for:

Love Made of Heart
by Teresa LeYung Ryan 



"The first page of Love Made of Heart drew me into the book and I never stopped until I came to the last page. Matter of fact, I read every word. The author didn't tell the story as an on-looker but the story told itself through dialogue. Teresa LeYung Ryan shows readers an accomplished art form of developing characterization through dialogue. Quite powerfully done. The use of old black and white movies is delightfully and almost innocently used in presenting cultural webs that tend to suffocate at times. Many thanks for two days of 'can't put the book down' reading."
Frances H. Kakugawa,Author/Poet

"Love Made of Heart shares childhood trauma and adult healing in the intimate, personal voice of its main character, Ruby Lin. Author Teresa LeYung Ryan skillfully weaves the inner world of Ruby's dreams with the events of her life and subsequent self-reflection to reveal a troubled past while creating endless possibilities for the future. Love Made of Heart is a gift of insight and compassion, a life companion."

Kate Farrell, author of Girl in the Mirror     

Love Made of Heart is such a gentle book, and yet, it is deep and captivating. After reading it, I had a conversation with my 12-year-old daughter about domestic abuse. I imagine this book will save a few women from succumbing to such violence. This alone makes the book extremely valuable, but it also just a sweet, fun book to read, with a very satisfying ending.”
Gail Perry Johnston, author of The Social Cause Diet: Find A Service That Feeds Your Soul


"Teresa LeYung Ryan knows how to spin a tale. She knows when to touch our heart strings and when to make us think. A writer's writer, Teresa handles detail with a gentle hand. And she paints the emotional scene with compassion and caring. This is not a simple book--you are given the chance to explore the theme relative to your own life, your own community, and the world."

Deborah Grossman, author of Goldie and Me 

Love Made Of Heart is a book made of wisdom. Teresa LeYung Ryan writes of mothers and daughters, but the truth of her fiction strikes much deeper; beyond family, beyond gender, all the way to the fragile, universal heart.”
Frank Baldwin, author of Balling the Jack
“In the novel Love Made Of Heart, Ruby's struggles to make peace with her life etch themselves deeply into the reader's own heart, so that you find yourself caring and wondering about how she is doing long after you've read the last page of her story.”
Carol Schaefer, author of The Other Mother
“In Love Made of Heart Teresa LeYung Ryan beautifully captures the vicissitudes of youth and growing up Asian in America with a story that is irrevocably honest. Her prose is poignant and sensitive and her characters strong and unforgettable. This is a brilliant debut.”
Gus Lee, author of China Boy and Chasing Hepburn
“With raw, engaging dialogue as its narrative essence, LOVE MADE OF HEART dismantles the easy clichés of unconscious loyalties and entices us with searing honesty to journey through complex psychological realms with its female protagonist until we are left with a quiet appreciation of the truthfully tender.”
Lydia Kwa, author of This Place Called Absence




"The book's title refers to the fact that the Chinese word for 'heart' is embedded within the word 'love.' The book is about love, liberation and forgiveness. For those seeking inspiration during difficult times, this courageous book is half hot tub, half massage. But only after some painful, albeit unpredictable plot twists."
Lori Hope, Managing Editor for Bay Area Business Women News



"First-time Bay Area author Teresa LeYung Ryan has written a fascinating novel with a lot of heart . . . delicately tiptoes the fine line between fiction and creative non-fiction, making believers of us all."
Victor Turks for The San Francisco Nob Hill Gazette



"Life Saver . . . In her debut novel LOVE MADE OF HEART, set among familiar San Francisco landmarks, Teresa LeYung Ryan explores in appealingly unpretentious prose how abuse and mental illness wreak havoc in families."
Anneli Rufus for East Bay Express



"The latest wisdom of womanhood in print . . . In her debut novel, Teresa LeYung Ryan presents the struggle between a mother and daughter complicated by the clash of two cultures . . . the young woman's long journey to find love is beautifully illustrated in the book's title . . ."
Barbara Sloane for The Montclarion.


Reviews from Readers:

 “Teresa LeYung Ryan spins a tale of deep thoughtful characters and a sad story you can't put down. It is about important issues such as mental illness, childhood scars . . .  I think this story will hit home for many people. I would encourage all women to read this wonderful mother-daughter story.        Reader in Mountain View, Ca

“A few weeks ago, I decided to search for Asian authors at Borders. Your book, Love Made Of Heart, was the first book I came upon.  I read the excerpt and was instantly hooked.  I bought the book, having never heard the title, and could not put the book down.  I read it in one sitting.  I thought, now here's a book that I can relate to.”            Reader in Madison , WI  

“I wanted to let you know I finished Love Made of Heart, over the Christmas holidays, and the ending -- Ruby's past -- all took me by surprise (in a good way)! It proved quite a turn of events, and her epiphany was gratifying.  I very much enjoyed the book and am looking forward to your next one.”         Reader in NY, NY

January 28, 2004, 5 Stars.
I loved this book.
Love Made of Heart is a very gripping story of 27-year-old Ruby Lin's journey toward accepting herself and her mother and coming to terms with her past. I couldn't put this book down. It is a fantastic story of a mother and daughter, of two sisters, and of the importance of surrogate elders. Although it is a sad story, it is also very hopeful story. I strongly recommend it. If you enjoy books by Amy Tan, Carol Shields and Marian Keyes you will enjoy this book as well. I'm very much looking forward to LeYung Ryan's next book.                       
Reader in Melbourne , Australia

Dear Teresa, I spent the entire day yesterday reading your inspiring book. I couldn't put it down. I cried at the end and wanted more. Thank you so much for writing such a moving book. Thank you for going out into the world and telling your story.”             Reader in El Cerrito, CA

“On a Sunday afternoon I stopped by my local bookstore to pick up a magazine. Somehow as I was wondering around I came across your book. I immediately purchased it.  That same afternoon I started reading it.  The story was so intriguing. I wasn't sure at first why was it that I wanted to keep reading this book until the very end. Then I realized that there are so many thing that I can relate to Ruby Lin. . . .”               Reader in Sunnyvale, CA

Teresa LeYung Ryan's book is a heartfelt, compelling story of one woman's quest to find love and forgiveness, both for herself and her relationships. The reader is let into the gentle secret that love is an endless, self-generating energy that rewards the giver as much as the receiver.  This book is a real page-turner, and I recommend it to anyone!”     Reader in Los Angeles, CA


LOVE MADE OF HEART on the "Best Sellers" List, Marin Independent Journal -- February 9, 2003

#1 Life of Pi

#2 Blue Shoe

#3 Hollywood Tough

#4 Love Made of Heart 

#5 The Lovely Bones

#6 Parts Unknown

#7 Whistling Woman

#8 Reversible Errors

#9 Samaritan

#10 Atonement