So I am weird with my books……there could be a book I really want to read but I might not be in the “mood” or I go off in another book direction for awhile. But, I always come back when the time is right to read that book that was recommended to me and in this case most of my book club stands behind these two books.
Both of these books are historical fiction, Lisa See did painstaking research of China, Chinese culture and particularly life for Chinese women in 1930s and decades after. These are two books that I feel like I not only loved but I was immersed in the culture where I learned SO much. I LOVED loved loved these two books and I will say it…..(drumroll)…… these are the best books I have read ALL year. I was transported to a land far away in another time and I was invested in these characters…all of them. One book is not better then the other, the sequel is just as good if not better then the first. I HIGHLY recommend these books and if you are looking for a Christmas gift for a reader then these two are the way to go!
Below is the “jest” of each book……and if you do read these please let me know what you think….
In 1937 Shanghai—the Paris of Asia—twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree—until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countryside to the shores of America. Though inseparable best friends, the sisters also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are—Shanghai girls.
In her most powerful novel yet, acclaimed author Lisa See returns to the story of sisters Pearl and May fromShanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy. Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the Communist regime. Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.
I gave these books a real squeeze when I was done because I loved them and it was hard to say goodbye. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.