Shanghai Girls

Lisa See, Author . Random $25 (314p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6711-4

See (Peony in Love ) explores tradition, the ravages of war and the importance of family in her excellent latest. Pearl and her younger sister, May, enjoy an upper-crust life in 1930s Shanghai, until their father reveals that his gambling habit has decimated the family's finances and to make good on his debts, he has sold both girls to a wealthy Chinese-American as wives for his sons. Pearl and May have no intention of leaving home, but after Japanese bombs and soldiers ravage their city and both their parents disappear, the sisters head for California, where their husbands-to-be live and where it soon becomes apparent that one of them is hiding a secret that will alter each of their fates. As they adjust to marriage with strangers and the challenges of living in a foreign land, Pearl and May learn that long-established customs can provide comfort in unbearable times. See's skillful plotting and richly drawn characters immediately draw in the reader, covering 20 years of love, loss, heartbreak and joy while delivering a sobering history lesson. While the ending is ambiguous, this is an accomplished and absorbing novel. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/23/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Genre: Pick of the Week
Paperback - 513 pages - 978-0-7393-2825-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4159-5899-5
Paperback - 322 pages
Open Ebook - 265 pages - 978-1-58836-860-7
Compact Disc - 11 pages - 978-0-7393-5933-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4159-5897-1
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-7-5502-0001-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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