Title: Shanghai Girls
Author: Lisa See
Publication: Random House; May 26, 2009
Rating: 4 BOOKMARKS
Source: Review copy courtesy of Random House for TLC Book Tours
Through war, death, arranged marriages, and the hardship of life, Pearl Chin and her younger sister May know that their bond as sisters is the one thing that will sustain them both.
A beautifully written novel that tells of just about every hardship a family can have, Shanghai Girls is not a light read but is a great one. Lisa See expertly crafts a story that engrossed me from page 1 with rich descriptions of 1930s Shanghai (and later, Los Angeles), and characters who were flawed yet credible.
At times, I felt that See was actually relating a non-fiction piece because of her vivid and historically accurate imagery of war-torn Shanghai and life in America for Chinese and other minorities in the wake of Pearl Harbor. As in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, it’s evident that See did thorough historical and cultural research on the eras, cities, and customs of her characters.
Pearl and May overcome obstacle after obstacle and despite everything, manage to create or find scraps of happiness to cling to, preventing the novel from being one of total heartbreak and despair. I can see how some readers might find this novel bleak–the last 50 pages left me reeling–but the news that See is working on a sequel allows for the hope that all is not lost for Pearl and May.
A book that spans decades and continents, Shanghai Girls has much to offer readers. Ultimately, See captures the essence of a relationship between two sisters–the joy, pain, friendship, protective and competitive natures–no matter the culture.
To enter to win a copy of Shanghai Girls, please leave a comment below. Two winners (US/Canada only) will be selected on Monday, January 25th. Good luck! Congrats to Jenners and Jess, the lucky winners!
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book!
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Word Lily (1/22/10)