As most of you know, I always have a book in my hand. And although I have been quite busy with wedding planning, baby-sitting Parker Ann and publishing a book of my own, I continue to read. Reading is a form of relaxation for me; it takes me away to other places and times. I just completed a book that began its journey in Shanghai and ended up in California.
"Shanghai Girls: A Novel" was written by Lisa See. It is a very intimate look at Shanghai, both before and after the Japanese invasion. The visual pictures See paints are vividly etched into the readers' mind. But the true story lies within the relationship of two sisters and how their paths intertwine forever.
Pearl and May are brought up in a luxurious lifestyle in Shanghai's glory days. They have to do nothing but worry about where they will buy their next fashion articles and who they will spend the evening with at the most popular clubs. They are what everyone calls, "Beautiful Girls", since their pictures are painted on calendars circulated all around Shanghai. Life could not be better for the sisters; nothing is required of them what with all of the cooks and servants their household employs. However, all of that is about to change, along with Shanghai as the Japanese invade the country.
As fate would have it, Pearl and May find themselves running for their lives, trying to find a way to leave their war torn country. Tragic events occur along the way, however, and they eventually find themselves in the United States of America. Angel Island is their first stop and from there the bond of sisterhood becomes even closer, as Pearl and May enter into a secret pact. Struggling to leave Angel Island, they find themselves starting a new life that neither are prepared for. Their glorious days as "Beautiful Girls" are over and the uphill battle to learn survival skills in this new country begin.
"Shanghai Girls: A Novel" is a beautifully written story of love, commitment, and family. It is a story that leaves you wanting more and Sees does not disappoint, as she continues the saga in the follow-up book, "Dreams of Joy". It would definitely be worth your time to give this book a read.