China Dolls

This is only the third book by Lisa See that I’ve read, and I think it also isn’t as good as the first (“On Gold Mountain”, a memoir) that I read more than a decade ago. Still, it’s an intricate tale about the relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate.

Grace, Helen and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous forbidden City nightclub in San Francisco in 1938. They become fast friends and rely on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting futures. 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.

The story alternates between the three viewpoints, with each voice strong and dynamic, developing a multi-layered richness as it progresses. The three friends share a bond better than sisters; they are characters of great depth, to be admired and envied or even hated in a fractured kaleidoscope of images. They are sisters of the heart, despite secrets revealed and hearts broken. Love envelops all.

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