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Publisher's Summary

In her beloved New York Times best sellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and, most recently, Shanghai Girls, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the potent bonds of mother love, romantic love, and love of country. Now, in her most powerful novel yet, she returns to these timeless themes, continuing the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed 19-year-old daughter, Joy.

Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, 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.

Acclaimed for her richly drawn characters and vivid storytelling, Lisa See once again renders a family challenged by tragedy and time, yet ultimately united by the resilience of love.

©2011 Lisa See (P)2011 Random House

Critic Reviews

“See’s emotional themes are powerful... the bonds of sisterhood [and] the psychological journey of becoming an American.” (The Washington Post)
“A broadly sweeping tale.... The detail is thoughtful and intricate.” (The New York Times)
“[See evokes] a time and place with tantalizing detail.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Dreams of Joy and all of Lisa See's books

They are amazing but you will love this book even better if you first listen to Shanghai Girls which is the book about this girls family and there entrance into the American culture and thier struggle in the United States. The author has an amazing insight into family relationships, especially the depth between sisters.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Marie
  • Arlington, TN, United States
  • 08-06-13

Captivating and well worth a credit

Where does Dreams of Joy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

If you have listened to the first book "Shanghai Girls" and if you liked that book, this is the sequel. In my opinion, the sequel is even better than Shanghai Girls. You will enter a world that you probably have heard of, but not really "met" in depth, such as Lisa See will introduce you too. This book enrobes part history of PROC, USA and most importantly brings you closer to understand what happens to humans when we are not allowed to be human. The book is very well researched, well written and I could not put my Ipod down! It is not predictable (whohoo)!!

What did you like best about this story?

The human aspect, the descriptions of the different characters and that is was not predictable!

Which scene was your favorite?

When Joy convinces the leader to let her send the package to her mom

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, it was - I got up this Saturday morning at 6:00 am , and I finished the remaining story at noon! What will I read next?

Any additional comments?

Excellent book, not light hearted, but not too academically hard that you can't follow the thoughts.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Lisa See Never Disappoints

Dreams of Joy is a worthy sequel to Shanghai Girls. Beautifully written and sublimely read by Janet Song, it brings the characters full circle in a sometimes heart-stopping story. Loved it!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Janice
  • Sugar Land, TX, United States
  • 09-18-11

Great completion to the story

What about Janet Song’s performance did you like?

As with Shanghai Girls and Snowflower and the Secret Fan, Janet Song provided the perfect voice for this story. Each character was distinct, and she handled even the male voices well. I cannot imagine a better voice for Lisa See's stories.

Any additional comments?

Shanghai Girls had me completely captivated, and I eagerly jumped right into Dreams of Joy to continue the saga. While I found myself getting irritated and impatient with Joy for rejecting every piece of sound advice she was given knowing that she would have a rude awakening very soon, I admired Pearl for her courage, loyalty and steadfast commitment to save her daughter from herself. The historical setting was facinating, showing the madness of the Great Leap Forward - making disasterous policies in opposition to all conventional wisdom about agritulture and manufacturing. "Quantity over quality" and the criminal disregard for human life nearly destroyed one of the great cultures of history. While the ending may have been somewhat unrealistic, it did provide a very satisfactory ending to a great story. <br />

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Mariel
  • newark, NJ, United States
  • 11-16-17

Fantastic Listen!

Lisa See did an amazing job at describing the era of the story. This is a continuation of &quot;Shanghai Girls&quot;. The story is so powerful and the things that Joy goes through is outstanding and terrible. Lisa brings back May and Pearl and they both have through more hurdles. The bond of sisterhood is what grabbed my attention since I have sister too. Lisa see is amazing!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I'm hooked on Lisa See!

I finished Shanghai Girls and wasn't convinced that Dreams of Joy could possibly compare. Now that I've finished it all I can see is it doesn't, it's that much better! I really could not have imagined a more gripping, gut wrenching tale than the first but it is. I have so many things in common with Pearl even though I am not Chinese. The struggles, pain and triumphs of women are universal.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 08-16-14

What it is to be Chinese, What it is to be free

After listening to Shanghai Girls, I couldn't wait to start the sequel. The story of young idealistic Joy, sweet innocent daughter of Pearl who flees INTO communist China is absolutely engrossing, and like so many young people who get caught up in a dream. And the lives of May and Pearl also continue, as they face heartbreaking truths about themselves and their past. The historical facts included in this fictional story about what happened inside China during the early years of Mao are chilling, eye opening, even to us who think we know the evils of communism. The first hand accounts of the suffering and death of the Chinese people at the hands of this regime are horrifying, and the shift from glorious hope in equality to eventual utter despair of these proud, resilient people . . . well, it is evil in it's purest form. It is about power. It isn't and never was about equality.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • DIANE
  • Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada
  • 05-06-13

A painful story

What made the experience of listening to Dreams of Joy the most enjoyable?

Of the three books I've read of Lisa See's books, this was the most painful. I would say that the ending was the most enjoyable in terms of listening. However, I would have to say that overall, the character development that Lisa See uses is extraordinary. I felt that I knew Pearl and Joy very well, and felt very much connected to them. The relationship between mother and daughter was very well developed and evoked a very emotional response in myself as it unfolded.

Who was your favorite character and why?

That's a hard question to answer. Though I enjoyed Joy's character I would have to say hands down that Pearl was my favourite character. I found her a bit morose and whiney in Shanghai Girls but in this book, she was a triumphant character and a wonderful mother, if not biological.

What does Janet Song bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Janet Song brings an intensity with her narration and I don't think the book would have been as powerful without her voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many of the scenes from the commune in Dandelion #8 commune moved me to tears and made me feel almost physically ill. But in retrospect, I feel those scenes were integral to the telling of the story.

Any additional comments?

I had no idea what China was like in Maoist times. This book was a real eye opener and beyond the wonderful story, there was a lot of interesting historical perspective.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Yates
  • East Windsor, NJ, United States
  • 06-16-11

Another grand slam for Lisa See AND Janet Song!!!

I first read Shanghai Girls and then scrambled to find everything else Ms See wrote and found "Peony in Love" and "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" and let me tell you that they were all simply wonderful reads!

Dreams of Joy, even though were up against such high expectations (from me), did not disappoint. It brought me into the suffocating oppression of Red China in the age of the Great Leap Forward and gave me a terrifying glimpse of utter desperation, abuse of power, and the murder of a population of people. However, it also gave a view of the depth of love, compassion, and forgiveness.

The narration as always by Ms. Song was superb! She never sounds contrived and shows the author's voice through her own in the most sublime manner. I so love her!

I recommend this book highly! I will patiently await the next one. No pressure, Ms. See! You are amazing! Thank you!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Long
  • Boalsburg, PA, United States
  • 06-04-11

A sequel that was worth the wait.

I was frustrated at the end of Shanghai Girls , and it's been a long wait for the sequel. Thankfully, it was worth the wait. I didn't stop listening until it was finished. To fully appreciate this book, you should really listen to Shanghai Girls first. The narration is wonderful in both books.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful