After all the media hype promoting Shanghai Girls, I have say I was quite disappointed. While the author, Lisa See, definitely did her research on the historical fiction novel, the plot and subplots were unbelievable and predictable. The ending has no resolution and leaves readers hanging. A sequel has been rumored. In my opinion, the Lee had better start a new novel.
It is 1937 and Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, especially for Chinese sisters, Pearl and May. The sisters are well-educated and sophisticated, but their affluent life quickly crumbles, when there fathers sells them to Chinese-Americans as wives to cover his gambling debts.
The roller coaster novel explores the pains of Chinese immigrants and Angel Island, prejudice of Chinese in America and the role of Chinese wives. If the author had spent more time showing readers through character and plot development, rather than telling them, the shallow book would have been better. Instead the novel is a series of horrible events leading up to nothing, except survival by two superficial characters.
Do yourself a favor and leave this book on the shelf. If you really want to understand Chinese culture and traditions, treat yourself to a novel by Amy Tan.