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Shanghai Girls: A Novel | [Lisa See]

Shanghai Girls: A Novel

Hoping to improve their social standing, May and Pearl's parents arrange for their daughters to "Gold Mountain men" who have come from Los Angeles to find brides. But when the sisters leave China and arrive at Angel's Island (the Ellis Island of the West, where they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for months) they feel the harsh reality of leaving home. And when May discovers she's pregnant, the situation becomes even more desperate. The sisters make a pact that no one can ever know.
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Publisher's Summary

For readers of the phenomenal best sellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love, a stunning new novel from Lisa See about two sisters who leave Shanghai to find new lives in 1930s Los Angeles.

May and Pearl, two sisters living in Shanghai in the mid-1930s, are beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated, but their family is on the verge of bankruptcy. Hoping to improve their social standing, May and Pearl's parents arrange for their daughters to marry "Gold Mountain men" who have come from Los Angeles to find brides.

But when the sisters leave China and arrive at Angel's Island (the Ellis Island of the West, where they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for months) they feel the harsh reality of leaving home. And when May discovers she's pregnant, the situation becomes even more desperate. The sisters make a pact that no one can ever know.

A novel about two sisters, two cultures, and the struggle to find a new life in America while bound to the old, Shanghai Girls is a fresh, fascinating adventure from beloved and best-selling author Lisa See.

©2009 Random House; (P)2009 Random House

What the Critics Say

"A buoyant and lustrous paean to the bonds of sisterhood." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1567 )
5 star
 (622)
4 star
 (610)
3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.2 (789 )
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Story
4.3 (777 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Alejandra Spring Hill, KS, United States 10-16-09
    Alejandra Spring Hill, KS, United States 10-16-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    101
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I would recommend it to a friend"

    Like others have said before, the end of this book was not a real end, I agree and would've like a bit more closure. BUT, don't let this stop you from buying it! You will enjoy it. It's been a while since I enjoy an audiobook so much (and I get bored easily), it is easy to follow and full of layers. Good book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nadya irvine, CA, USA 10-09-09
    Nadya irvine, CA, USA 10-09-09
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "so-so"

    i was so excited to read the newest book by lisa see, since i have fond memories of her other novels. but this novel just did not do it for me. perhaps, it was the melodramatic tone of the narrator's voice...i don't know...but this book was a mild dissapointment. i could tell that this was very well researched, and i did find the bits about "china city" in los angeles fascinating. but overall, i did not look forward to listening to this tale. and, sorry to say...the ending was quite lame.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-06-09 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    3
    Overall
    "Two Girls, Too Too Much!"

    As the audio reader raced through all the wild and unfortunate events of the sisters...I went along with sympathy and hope for their well-being. This book left me thinking and wondering.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gmrob 10-03-09
    gmrob 10-03-09 Member Since 2006

    gmrob

    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    415
    23
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Another "favorite" book for me"

    I found this book to be incredibly enjoyable and did not want to see it end. Although other reviewers seemed disappointed with the ending, I liked the ending because it left the door open for a sequel ( I hope). And even if a sequel never comes to be, I still liked the ending because it was neither syrupy sweet nor awful and depressing. I know I will listen again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suze Jackson, NJ, United States 09-23-09
    Suze Jackson, NJ, United States 09-23-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    208
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    194
    74
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    13
    0
    Overall
    "Just wonderful"

    First and foremost...what a wonderful reader. If you closed your eyes you were in China and visualizing the cast of characters completely.
    Everything about this novel was stunning except the last 35-45 minutes.
    I have no idea why the author wrapped the storyline up with such a poor ending because, yes..it made it feel there's a sequel in the works, even tho I'll bet there isn't one.
    The ending seemed contrived and kind of weird....like she just had to finally end the story and she picked this worthless ending.
    It would have had 5 stars had it not been for that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lesley Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada 09-21-09
    Lesley Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada 09-21-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Enthralling"

    Enthralling story beautifully read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LynnD 09-14-09
    LynnD 09-14-09

    PC Larry

    HELPFUL VOTES
    113
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    168
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    "Oh my!"

    As excellent as this book was, I felt bogged down in the sadness of it all. I felt like it was a modern "Good Earth". Maybe it was the narrator...seemed always melodramatic. I really appreciated all the cultural parts, but my heart ached the whole time without being able to come up for a breath. This is definitely not a reason to not listen to this book, but I found myself reading other things in between! Lynn

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Starlet San Carlos, CA, United States 08-24-09
    Starlet San Carlos, CA, United States 08-24-09 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    148
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    328
    42
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Narration is great and adds up to a Five Star"

    I enjoyed this book - I thought it was better than Hotel on Corner of Bitter and Sweet - more believable. The narration is excellent and the story followed a very consistent thread. It kept me listening throughout, with interest. Some may feel too lightweight, but I found it to be enlightening and a reminder of the way things were and the struggles of the Chinese immigrants to the USA. Perhaps a similar stage is being set for other cultures immigrating -- this story generates empathy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Rye, CO, United States 08-22-09
    Katherine Rye, CO, United States 08-22-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    52
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Shanghai Girls"

    I am hoping this is a historic fiction because the history of China has been very interesting and I'm hopeful that it is accurate. The story is also interesting to me and I find myself looking for opportunities to listen as much as possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Columbia, MD United States 08-13-09
    Amazon Customer Columbia, MD United States 08-13-09 Listener Since 2007

    BJ Myers

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    1
    Overall
    "Enjoyable, almost to the end"

    This was my first encounter with Lisa See's work. I found the subject matter interesting (2 sisters forced by war and family tragedy to leave their native Shanghai and emigrate to the U.S. in the 1940s). The story and See's style were engaging, but I felt manipulated by the story's ending -- a rather crass setup for a sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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