Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Dreams of Joy
by Lisa See
Rating:  4/5


Pages: 354
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: (above edition) 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4088-2260-9

Summary (via Goodreads)
In her most powerful novel yet, acclaimed author Lisa See returns to the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy. Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the Communist regime. Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

Review - Possible Spoilers

Sequel to Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy follows on to the next generation - life after the chaos of World War Two. For the Chinese life was difficult at this time, especially for those living in America.

This time, the journey takes the reader back to China, but a China changed. told through two different points of view, one from old China, the other exited by the new emergence of Mao China, the reader is able to learn about the politics that led to China becoming what we now know today. As past collides with present the main character Joy is thrown onto a path she can't escape from as she wanders alone through the vast planes of China looking for the answers she seeks about her mother and aunt.

If you read Shanghai Girls, you need to read Dreams of Joy! The book shows how the grass isn't always greener on the other side and how sometimes what we know isn't as bad as we think.

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