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China Dolls
by Lisa See




Overview -
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - "A fascinating portrait of life as a Chinese American woman in the 1930s and '40s."--The New York Times Book Review

"Superb . . . This emotional, informative and brilliant page-turner resonates with resilience and humanity."--The Washington Post (One of the Best Books of the Year)

San Francisco, 1938: A world's fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Talented Grace, traditional Helen, and defiant Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.

Praise for China Dolls

"A sweeping, turbulent tale of passion, friendship, good fortune, bad fortune, perfidy and the hope of reconciliation."--Los Angeles Times

"Bravo Here's a roaring standing ovation for this heartwarming journey into the glittering golden age of Chinese nightclubs."--Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

"Lisa See masterfully creates unforgettable characters that linger in your memory long after you close the pages."--Bookreporter

"Stellar . . . The depth of See's characters and her winning prose make this book a wonderful journey through love and loss."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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More About China Dolls by Lisa See

 
 
 

Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - "A fascinating portrait of life as a Chinese American woman in the 1930s and '40s."--The New York Times Book Review

"Superb . . . This emotional, informative and brilliant page-turner resonates with resilience and humanity."--The Washington Post (One of the Best Books of the Year)

San Francisco, 1938: A world's fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Talented Grace, traditional Helen, and defiant Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.

Praise for China Dolls

"A sweeping, turbulent tale of passion, friendship, good fortune, bad fortune, perfidy and the hope of reconciliation."--Los Angeles Times

"Bravo Here's a roaring standing ovation for this heartwarming journey into the glittering golden age of Chinese nightclubs."--Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

"Lisa See masterfully creates unforgettable characters that linger in your memory long after you close the pages."--Bookreporter

"Stellar . . . The depth of See's characters and her winning prose make this book a wonderful journey through love and loss."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)


This item is Non-Returnable.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812992892
  • ISBN-10: 081299289X
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publish Date: June 2014
  • Page Count: 383
  • Dimensions: 9.48 x 6.48 x 1.27 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.38 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Unlikely bonds in 1938 San Francisco

Chinese-American author Lisa See has made her mark in the realm of historical fiction by melding her well-researched historical sagas with strong female characters linked either by birth, as in Shanghai Girls (2009) and Dreams of Joy (2011), or by lifelong friendship, as in her breakout book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005).

In her ninth book, See explores the Chinese community in San Francisco, where three young women meet on an evening in 1938 as they audition for spots as dancers at the glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee has fled from an abusive father in Plain City, Ohio, where her family members were the only Chinese she had ever seen. She becomes lost in the maze of Chinatown, and is rescued by Helen Fong, the only daughter in a very traditional family. Her father expects her to marry soon and become a traditional Chinese wife and mother.

At the audition, the two meet the flamboyant Ruby Tom, a young Japanese woman passing as Chinese. She loves glitter, she tells her new friends, and she wants to become famous. The three are hired to dance at the Forbidden City, and soon each one becomes a star—while at the same time vowing to support one another through good and bad.

See traces the lives of these three memorable women through chapters told in their alternating voices, drawing the reader into their struggles, their romantic adventures and their backstories, which are only gradually revealed. As the story reaches World War II and then beyond, the women face racism, as well as more challenges in their personal lives and their careers.

See’s compelling story of these three resilient women—connected by fierce loyalty, as well as one act of betrayal that threatens that bond—is backed by meticulous research into the Chinese-American nightclub era, making her portrayal of this little-known period in history all the more memorable.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 

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