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Publisher's Summary

Shanghai, 1937. Pearl and May are two sisters from a bourgeois family. Though their personalities are very different - Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid - they are inseparable best friends.

Both are beautiful, modern, and living carefree lives until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away the family's wealth and that in order to repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to two 'Gold Mountain' men: Americans.

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, the two sisters set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the villages of Southern China, in and out of the clutches of brutal soldiers, and even across the ocean, through the humiliation of an anti-Chinese detention centre to a new, married life in Los Angeles' Chinatown. Here they begin a fresh chapter despite the racial discrimination and anti-Communist paranoia because now they have something to strive for: a young, American-born daughter, Joy.

Along the way there are terrible sacrifices, impossible choices, and one devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding novel by Lisa See hold fast to who they are - Shanghai Girls.

©2009 Lisa See (P)2015 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Part love story, part family saga, part historical fiction, this vividly descriptive book is above all an exploration of the trials and triumphs, the rivalries and delights of sisterhood." (The Daily Mail)
"A triumph on every level, a beautiful heartbreaking story." (The Washington Post)

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  • Deb
  • 05-26-15

Sisters, sisters. Devoted or jealous?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The love that binds or tears the characters apart is evident from the opening lines. Chinese custom of arranged marriages brings out the most powerful emotions and joy combined with sadness is what bounds this book along until the end.
The reader Janet Song is well cast as her characters come alive in the book.
Lisa See has written a fine book and as it is the first in my library, I am looking forward to reading the. sequel. Perhaps all if her stories too.
I would recommend this book as a good read.