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Review: China Dolls by Lisa See

Title: China Dolls
Author: Lisa See
Year Published: 2014

Genre: Adult historical fiction
Pages: 376
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2015 Google Reading map)USA (CA)

FTC Disclosure: I received this book as a gift

Summary (from the back of the book):
 Lisa See's great skill at rendering the intricate relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate is on display in this acclaimed novel, which begins in 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.

Review: Lisa See has written two of my all-time favorite novels: Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy so I was really excited to read this book! Boy Lisa See is good!

This book follows the intertwined lives of three Chinese women as the US is on the brink of World War II. Although they are American-born they are "Oriental" and therefore life is difficult. They live in San Francisco's Chinatown and dream of being dancers and performers. We follow them as they look for jobs, juggle boyfriends and family, create routines to perform and work against the stereotypes and expectations of their families and society.

I liked all the characters in this book and there a lot of them. From family members to other dancers to boyfriends and soldiers to club owners and agents, all characters have an impact on Grace, Helen, and Ruby. I also liked the historical aspects of the book: the San Francisco Worlds Fair; World War II; the Japanese Internment camps; the Sino-Japanese War; and life in Chinatown.

If you are a fan of Lisa See's or like historical fiction, I highly recommend this book.

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