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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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Average Customer Ratings

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  • 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    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.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carol
  • Colorado Springs, CO, United States
  • 11-11-18

Best Historial Fiction of the Year!

This was my favorite book of the year. The beautifully written and descriptive language places you in rural China, Angel Island, and San Fransisco in the early 1900s. It is heart-wrenching, yet strong and hope filled. The US was a 3rd world country in many parts in the early 1900s and prejudice abounds. I especially enjoyed the voice of the reader. When the 'voice' of the American English was read, it is as indecipherable as it would have been for the new Chinese immigrant. It continued to put the listener in the heart and body of the immigrant. I have already begun to 'reread,' listen to this book with my husband because the writing is so beautiful. #HistorialFiction #Hearfelt #StrongWomen #GreatNarration #Educational #Tagsving #Sweepstakes

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

excellent

what an amazing story of a mother's courage
this book transportef me to the characters world and gripped my attention from beginning to end. #EPIC

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful Story

I loved this book. Not only does it give you a feel for history of that time in China it tells what immigrants went through, to get to the U.S. You understand what it feels like to be a stranger in a strange land. Beautifully written, a delightful read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

paperbAcks

Incredible book that I had a hard time putting down. Felt like I was living through history.