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Publisher's Summary

From the bestselling author of Yellow Crocus comes a heart-wrenching story about finding strength in a new world.

Southern China, 1923. Desperate to secure her future, Mei Ling’s parents arrange a marriage to a widower in California. To enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife - a paper wife.

On the perilous voyage, Mei Ling takes an orphan girl named Siew under her wing. Dreams of a better life in America give Mei Ling the strength to endure the treacherous journey and detainment on Angel Island. But when she finally reaches San Francisco, she’s met with a surprise. Her husband, Chinn Kai Li, is a houseboy, not the successful merchant he led her to believe.

Mei Ling is penniless, pregnant, and bound to a man she doesn’t know. Her fragile marriage is tested further when she discovers that Siew will likely be forced into prostitution. Desperate to rescue Siew, she must convince her husband that an orphan’s life is worth fighting for. Can Mei Ling find a way to make a real family - even if it’s built on a paper foundation?

©2018 Laila Ibrahim. (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    101
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    84
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    79
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Just okay..disappointed

I read & listened to ‘Paper Wife’ because I adore every book from Laila Ibrahim! Yet I couldn’t help but feel I was reading “Shanghai Girls” another author, yet about 10 hours less and less details. It was so close to having a matchmaker involved in your life & the Chinese girl being sent to Angel Island in San Francisco to the same husband type..always say they have money but have none..even a pregnancy. I don’t want to be petty, really. I liked this book and of course the other book was during WWII and ‘Paper Wife’ was in the early 1920’s.

Laila Lbrahim is an excellent author, but there just didn’t seem to have enough originality. Every Chinese or Japanese book just seems to always take the same path. As far as Nancy Wu..loved her narration! When Mai Li, the Chinese girl who left home to what she thought was a rich husband didn’t understand English...Nancy Wu used words that sounded like “babbling” to let us understand that English sounded like that to someone not knowing English. Plus she had a great way of making characters sound unique.

I also didn’t like the very quick ending! All of a sudden someone (no spoilers) who was “using” a child for something...was “gone” it didn’t even last a chapter? As I’m writing this I’m listening to the last 15 minutes & now Epilogue...wishing & hoping something will make me love it, but unfortunately, I’m sorry, I just didn’t love it.

But you readers & listeners are the reviewers so I’m sure everyone will give a different review & I’m anxious to hear other readers as well. I definitely recommend it but not enthusiastic as I was with her other books.
3 stars for story& 5 stars for narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent intriguing

Well defined characters with depth. I felt and saw what each enconture. I highly recommend this novel

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Heartwarming <br />

Love it! I was unable to put the book down. I love the family values. There were many challenges throughout the book and the sacrifice each person has to make in order to keep a safe and happy family. I love Laila Ibrahim books. It always makes me tear up.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • B
  • 12-20-18

I was emotionally invested after just a few pages!

Wonderfully written with engaging characters and the performance of Nancy Wu brought the story to life. I couldn’t stop listening and I was left wanting more. Laila Ibrahim best novel so far!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Paper Wife t

Paper wife is a novel worth listening to. It is as entertaining as that was written by Lisa See. The novelist invites the reader into the world of the Chinese immigrant. We learn the hardships they endured to make a better life for themselves. The characters are likable and the gentle flow of the plot is a nice change from stories with more intense action.

For the most part, I enjoyed the language. The only weakness I saw was overuse of The dragon image by the author. It reminded me of EL James constant reference to her protagonist’s “inner goddess.“ Once or twice, the reference is fine, but after a dozen times it becomes tiring to hear.

The reader did a fine job telling the story. She was easy to understand and neither over nor underperformed the telling if it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this

I felt the narrator did the story justice and the story was interesting. Good historical fiction.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not as good as her other book

While the historical elements of the story were very interesting, the story wasn’t great. I loved Yellow Crocus, but found this disappointing.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

Having read both The Yellow Crocus and Mustard Seed, which I both enjoyed, I was looking forward to this book but truly had to force myself to finish it. I think the story idea was good and well intentioned but the writing was absolutely awful. I can’t believe this is one and the same author. There were so many repetitions. The strangest thing was the filled in lines for all English spoken sentences. Why not write out what was said?
Sad to say it was a disappointment.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Paper wife

Awesome, awesome, awesome the only thing l did not like was it ended so soon. I could of read a lot more what a story , down the road l might read it again l will read more of her stories l have to mention the funny language filled in for the Cantonese language. Wendy

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptional — Must Read

The Best book I’ve listened to in a long time. The Reading of this book is exceptional. I listened well beyond my allotted time because I could never find a good stopping place.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Donna Smith McG
  • Smyrna, GA
  • 11-03-18

Just okay..disappointed

I read & listened to ‘Paper Wife’ because I adore every book from Laila Ibrahim! Yet I couldn’t help but feel I was reading “Shanghai Girls” another author, yet about 10 hours less and less details. It was so close to having a matchmaker involved in your life & the Chinese girl being sent to Angel Island in San Francisco to the same husband type..always say they have money but have none..even a pregnancy. I don’t want to be petty, really. I liked this book and of course the other book was during WWII and ‘Paper Wife’ was in the early 1920’s.

Laila Lbrahim is an excellent author, but there just didn’t seem to have enough originality. Every Chinese or Japanese book just seems to always take the same path. As far as Nancy Wu..loved her narration! When Mai Li, the Chinese girl who left home to what she thought was a rich husband didn’t understand English...Nancy Wu used words that sounded like “babbling” to let us understand that English sounded like that to someone not knowing English. Plus she had a great way of making characters sound unique.

I also didn’t like the very quick ending! All of a sudden someone (no spoilers) who was “using” a child for something...was “gone” it didn’t even last a chapter? As I’m writing this I’m listening to the last 15 minutes & now Epilogue...wishing & hoping something will make me love it, but unfortunately, I’m sorry, I just didn’t love it.

But you readers & listeners are the reviewers so I’m sure everyone will give a different review & I’m anxious to hear other readers as well. I definitely recommend it but not enthusiastic as I was with her other books.
3 stars for story& 5 stars for narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Evelyn Schumacher
  • SPRINGFIELD, IL
  • 01-07-19

Excellent intriguing

Well defined characters with depth. I felt and saw what each enconture. I highly recommend this novel

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tuyet
  • 01-07-19

Heartwarming <br />

Love it! I was unable to put the book down. I love the family values. There were many challenges throughout the book and the sacrifice each person has to make in order to keep a safe and happy family. I love Laila Ibrahim books. It always makes me tear up.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • B
  • 12-20-18

I was emotionally invested after just a few pages!

Wonderfully written with engaging characters and the performance of Nancy Wu brought the story to life. I couldn’t stop listening and I was left wanting more. Laila Ibrahim best novel so far!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • nada
  • 12-05-18

Paper Wife t

Paper wife is a novel worth listening to. It is as entertaining as that was written by Lisa See. The novelist invites the reader into the world of the Chinese immigrant. We learn the hardships they endured to make a better life for themselves. The characters are likable and the gentle flow of the plot is a nice change from stories with more intense action.

For the most part, I enjoyed the language. The only weakness I saw was overuse of The dragon image by the author. It reminded me of EL James constant reference to her protagonist’s “inner goddess.“ Once or twice, the reference is fine, but after a dozen times it becomes tiring to hear.

The reader did a fine job telling the story. She was easy to understand and neither over nor underperformed the telling if it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer Palmer
  • Honolulu, HI USA
  • 12-02-18

I enjoyed this

I felt the narrator did the story justice and the story was interesting. Good historical fiction.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Nikki Burke
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • 11-29-18

Not as good as her other book

While the historical elements of the story were very interesting, the story wasn’t great. I loved Yellow Crocus, but found this disappointing.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Claudia Black
  • 11-27-18

Not what I expected

Having read both The Yellow Crocus and Mustard Seed, which I both enjoyed, I was looking forward to this book but truly had to force myself to finish it. I think the story idea was good and well intentioned but the writing was absolutely awful. I can’t believe this is one and the same author. There were so many repetitions. The strangest thing was the filled in lines for all English spoken sentences. Why not write out what was said?
Sad to say it was a disappointment.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-18-18

Paper wife

Awesome, awesome, awesome the only thing l did not like was it ended so soon. I could of read a lot more what a story , down the road l might read it again l will read more of her stories l have to mention the funny language filled in for the Cantonese language. Wendy

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara A Korb
  • ST PETERSBURG, FL, US
  • 11-15-18

Exceptional — Must Read

The Best book I’ve listened to in a long time. The Reading of this book is exceptional. I listened well beyond my allotted time because I could never find a good stopping place.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Donna Smith McG
  • Smyrna, GA
  • 11-03-18

Just okay..disappointed

I read & listened to ‘Paper Wife’ because I adore every book from Laila Ibrahim! Yet I couldn’t help but feel I was reading “Shanghai Girls” another author, yet about 10 hours less and less details. It was so close to having a matchmaker involved in your life & the Chinese girl being sent to Angel Island in San Francisco to the same husband type..always say they have money but have none..even a pregnancy. I don’t want to be petty, really. I liked this book and of course the other book was during WWII and ‘Paper Wife’ was in the early 1920’s.

Laila Lbrahim is an excellent author, but there just didn’t seem to have enough originality. Every Chinese or Japanese book just seems to always take the same path. As far as Nancy Wu..loved her narration! When Mai Li, the Chinese girl who left home to what she thought was a rich husband didn’t understand English...Nancy Wu used words that sounded like “babbling” to let us understand that English sounded like that to someone not knowing English. Plus she had a great way of making characters sound unique.

I also didn’t like the very quick ending! All of a sudden someone (no spoilers) who was “using” a child for something...was “gone” it didn’t even last a chapter? As I’m writing this I’m listening to the last 15 minutes & now Epilogue...wishing & hoping something will make me love it, but unfortunately, I’m sorry, I just didn’t love it.

But you readers & listeners are the reviewers so I’m sure everyone will give a different review & I’m anxious to hear other readers as well. I definitely recommend it but not enthusiastic as I was with her other books.
3 stars for story& 5 stars for narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Evelyn Schumacher
  • SPRINGFIELD, IL
  • 01-07-19

Excellent intriguing

Well defined characters with depth. I felt and saw what each enconture. I highly recommend this novel

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tuyet
  • 01-07-19

Heartwarming <br />

Love it! I was unable to put the book down. I love the family values. There were many challenges throughout the book and the sacrifice each person has to make in order to keep a safe and happy family. I love Laila Ibrahim books. It always makes me tear up.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • B
  • 12-20-18

I was emotionally invested after just a few pages!

Wonderfully written with engaging characters and the performance of Nancy Wu brought the story to life. I couldn’t stop listening and I was left wanting more. Laila Ibrahim best novel so far!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • nada
  • 12-05-18

Paper Wife t

Paper wife is a novel worth listening to. It is as entertaining as that was written by Lisa See. The novelist invites the reader into the world of the Chinese immigrant. We learn the hardships they endured to make a better life for themselves. The characters are likable and the gentle flow of the plot is a nice change from stories with more intense action.

For the most part, I enjoyed the language. The only weakness I saw was overuse of The dragon image by the author. It reminded me of EL James constant reference to her protagonist’s “inner goddess.“ Once or twice, the reference is fine, but after a dozen times it becomes tiring to hear.

The reader did a fine job telling the story. She was easy to understand and neither over nor underperformed the telling if it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer Palmer
  • Honolulu, HI USA
  • 12-02-18

I enjoyed this

I felt the narrator did the story justice and the story was interesting. Good historical fiction.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Nikki Burke
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • 11-29-18

Not as good as her other book

While the historical elements of the story were very interesting, the story wasn’t great. I loved Yellow Crocus, but found this disappointing.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Claudia Black
  • 11-27-18

Not what I expected

Having read both The Yellow Crocus and Mustard Seed, which I both enjoyed, I was looking forward to this book but truly had to force myself to finish it. I think the story idea was good and well intentioned but the writing was absolutely awful. I can’t believe this is one and the same author. There were so many repetitions. The strangest thing was the filled in lines for all English spoken sentences. Why not write out what was said?
Sad to say it was a disappointment.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-18-18

Paper wife

Awesome, awesome, awesome the only thing l did not like was it ended so soon. I could of read a lot more what a story , down the road l might read it again l will read more of her stories l have to mention the funny language filled in for the Cantonese language. Wendy

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara A Korb
  • ST PETERSBURG, FL, US
  • 11-15-18

Exceptional — Must Read

The Best book I’ve listened to in a long time. The Reading of this book is exceptional. I listened well beyond my allotted time because I could never find a good stopping place.