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BOOK REVIEW: SHANGHAI GIRLS
BY LISA SEE

We hope you enjoy this book review by Kelly Hager





Lisa See is best known for her novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. That's a brilliant book, but Shanghai Girls is even better. Shanghai Girls is set in Shanghai in the 1930s initially. Pearl and her younger sister May are "beautiful girls." (They pose for calendars, which enables them to make decent money but is viewed by their parents' generation as basically being two steps above prostitution--and not terribly big steps, either.) Their life is still going along pretty well until they learn that their dad has lost all his money (and, incidentally, all THEIR money) and so they've been sold to another family and they have to marry that family's sons. And the wedding will happen the day after tomorrow. And after the wedding, they'll be living in the United States.

So it's basically about having to adjust to a life you never thought you'd have to live. And like real life, a lot happens that's unexpected, but I didn't think anything strained the bounds of reality. It's hard to discuss it in more depth, because there are twists and turns that are better experienced as you read.

This book was seriously just fantastic. Lisa See's prose is wonderful and the characters feel like friends by the time the book is over. (I do wish it had been longer, but I think that's just because I loved the book so much.)

One of the things that she does so well is make characters that are so different from us come alive. It's historical fiction, but in many ways, it feels current. I think many people can relate to a life that is nowhere near what was initially expected.

"Shanghai Girls" will be released May 26.

REVIEWED BY KELLY HAGER

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, KELLY HAGER.


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