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Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was Cambridge Book Club's first novel read in 2009. We look forward to revisiting this author's compelling and riveting prose.

"Compelling ... Satisfying on so many levels, See's latest is above all a confirmation of unbreakable family bonds." - BookPage


In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Well-to-do twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, with differing personalities, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree . . . until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, to Los Angeles, and even to American Chinatown. At its heart, Shanghai Girls is a story of sisters: Pearl and May are inseparable best friends who share hopes, dreams, and a deep connection, but like sisters everywhere they also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are–Shanghai girls.

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  • Anne

    Interesting Historical Fiction

    1 · March 19, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Learned a lot from all participants ! Great insight and discussion.

    1 · March 19, 2014

  • Yana

    Sadly I am busy every weekday evening until 8pm, hopefully one day there will be a Meetup later in the evening or on a Saturday... :)

    March 17, 2014

  • Connie B.

    just for fun, for those reading the book with the picture of the 2 sisters on the front, which one do you think is May and which is Pearl? I think May is the shorter one on the left and Pearl the tall one on the right. Although Pearl as narrator says May is the more beautiful one, I think May is - just based on the picture. Or does anyone think May is on the right and Pearl on the left?

    March 6, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      The taller one is Pearl; I think in the first chapter she describes herself as being tall. They both look adorable !

      1 · March 7, 2014

    • Connie B.

      that's what I was going by too. I just think Pearl isn't aware that she is just as beautiful as May.

      March 8, 2014

  • Anne

    Can't wait to join the discussion.

    2 · March 7, 2014

  • Ilaria Z.

    Thank you for having me in the group. I live in Italy but will follow the club from a distance...and I hope to join you when visiting.

    2 · March 6, 2014

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