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
"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)
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!
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.
Not nearly as engaging.
Sure, it was fine.
Yes and no. There were bits that were really good, but for the most part, it felt drawn out, repetitive and almost boring.
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.
Remind me of my family and experience thru stories of family members.
The ending when everyone reunited for one last time.
Each and every scene as the three come into their own.
Grace and Ruby
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.
Listening to books and knitting. Two favorite activities I can do simultaneously!
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,
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.
No. It is not Lisa See's best work. The writing is uneven, and I believe she fails to create believable characters.
Almost nothing. She did a good job playing the dialect of the Chinese father.
Story details that are historically based.
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