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China Dolls Audiobook

China Dolls: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls has garnered international acclaim for her great skill at rendering the intricate relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate. Now comes Lisa See's highly anticipated new novel, China Dolls.

It's 1938 in San Francisco: A world's fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition.

The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.

©2014 Lisa See (P)2014 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"China Dolls mines a fascinating part of our cultural history through the story of a trio of women who become a complex constant in one another's lives even as the world serves up painful transformation. Lisa See gets so much just right here. You'll want to dive right in." (Paula McLain, New York Times best-selling author of The Paris Wife)

"This is one of those stories I've always wanted to tell, but Lisa See beat me to it, and she did it better than I ever could. Bravo! Here's a roaring standing ovation for this heartwarming journey into the glittering golden age of Chinese nightclubs." (Jamie Ford, New York Times best-selling author of Songs of Willow Frost)

"In the beginning of See's stellar ninth book, three young women, Grace, Helen, and Ruby, meet and form an unlikely but strong bond in San Francisco in 1938. . . . The story alternates between their viewpoints, with each woman's voice strong and dynamic, developing a multilayered richness as it progresses. The depth of See's characters and her winning prose make this book a wonderful journey through love and loss." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (461 )
5 star
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Story
3.9 (419 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Debbie De Georgia 11-12-14
    Debbie De Georgia 11-12-14

    Author DeAnn DeVille

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Glittering Lights Camera Action!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of China Dolls to be better than the print version?

    I actually did not read the print version however Jodi Long did a fantastic job as narrator.She made this story come alive right before your eyes. The 1938 San Francisco visual was definitely audible and vivid. See's words come dancing around like snowflakes falling to the ground as you listen to Jodi recite author Lee See's words. I absolutly recommend this book for the Noir Era lovers!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Grace was the star character and her family situation was harsh and made the listener feel for her however I choose to go with Ruby as my absolute favorite bad girl of the story. I found myself wanting to listen more intently just to overhear the outcome of her ridged disposition. I don't want to tell too much about the story, so all I will say is Ruby was definitely colorful and Helen is not as innocent as she appears to be audibly.


    Which character – as performed by Jodi Long – was your favorite?

    I found this question a repetition of the above, thereforer the answer would be the same as above.


    If you could rename China Dolls, what would you call it?

    I would not rename this book, I believe Lee See named it perfectly.


    Any additional comments?

    I give this a five star on performance and 4 1/2 on the story. This book is definitely a must read! If you like stories of dancing girls and drama, I also recommend Under The Strobe Lights volume 1 The Platinum Pussycat by Author DeAnn DeVille now selling on audible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 10-12-14
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 10-12-14 Member Since 2016

    A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not as good as See's other works"

    China Dolls is not as interesting and compelling book as Lisa See's other novels. This book tells the story of three young "orientals" who meet in San Francisco in the late 1930s, and the journey of their lives over the next several decades. The story at time seemed forced and not as natural as those in See's other novels. The narration is fair at best and did not help to bring life to each character.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    samiam2029 07-02-14
    samiam2029 07-02-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I love Lisa See - but I didn't love this"
    Would you try another book from Lisa See and/or Jodi Long?

    Definitely.


    If you’ve listened to books by Lisa See before, how does this one compare?

    Not nearly as engaging.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Sure, it was fine.


    Was China Dolls worth the listening time?

    Yes and no. There were bits that were really good, but for the most part, it felt drawn out, repetitive and almost boring.


    Any additional comments?

    I truly have adored all of Lisa See's other books (not including the mysteries, which are a whole different thing). But this book just didn't have the same emotional and factual depth.

    However, the last hour of the book was really good, much more interesting than the rest. Kind of made it end on a good note, at least.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy L. 06-18-14
    Wendy L. 06-18-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Much Enjoy Book"
    What made the experience of listening to China Dolls the most enjoyable?

    Remind me of my family and experience thru stories of family members.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of China Dolls?

    The ending when everyone reunited for one last time.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Each and every scene as the three come into their own.


    If you could take any character from China Dolls out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Grace and Ruby


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Commuting Learner 07-28-16 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    181
    20
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    "Good story glimpse into the past."

    Lost me a few times in the silliness of the relationships, but the characters are colorful and interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-19-16
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "Loved Everything about it!"

    loved the story and narater. I sometime cannot listen to a book because of the narater. silly, but that's me. great characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher W Davis 02-04-16 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    44
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    Story
    "Shallow!!!"

    I did not care for the voice and interpretation of the reader.
    The story was shallow and full of cliches.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grace 08-27-15
    Grace 08-27-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    34
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    "disappointing"

    The book itself disappoints, crammed as it is with predictable stereotypes, lifeless characters, and pathos, but worst of all - the narrator is so bad that it's excruciating to listen to, she just kills it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boots 08-14-15
    Boots 08-14-15 Member Since 2015

    Listening to books and knitting. Two favorite activities I can do simultaneously!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another Lisa See Hit!"

    Ever since I first read "Snowflower and the Secret Fan", I've looked forward to the next book by Lisa See. These are not earnest literary novels, but they are engaging,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dramamama 08-05-15
    Dramamama 08-05-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Terrible Performance"
    What disappointed you about China Dolls?

    The actor who read the book was hyper emotional and over-the-top. I wonder why the producer/director allowed such a stilted, over-acted performance.


    Would you recommend China Dolls to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. It is not Lisa See's best work. The writing is uneven, and I believe she fails to create believable characters.


    What didn’t you like about Jodi Long’s performance?

    Almost nothing. She did a good job playing the dialect of the Chinese father.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Story details that are historically based.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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