Staff Review: China Dolls


Lisa See

China Dolls

Random House


Available June 2014

Lisa See once again has brought a certain time period in history to life. This time is San Francisco, 1938, there is a World’s Fair on Treasure Island and a war brewing overseas. Three young women meet and find themselves competing in auditions at an exclusive nightclub called the Forbidden City. Grace is an American-born Chinese. Helen is from a Chinese family with deep roots in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. They form a pact to stick together alternately helping and sometimes hurting each other within the cutthroat world of entertainment and male attention. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, the government starts rounding up innocent Japanese and send them to interment camps.

I was really interested in following the lives of these women and See continues to portray complicated relationships in a very interesting, yet harrowing, time in our country’s history.

~ Cathy

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2 thoughts on “Staff Review: China Dolls

  1. alenaslife says:

    While I loved the way See evoked the period and setting, I was disappointed in the characters and tone. Maybe my expectations were too high?

    • eightcousins says:

      I think you have a valid point as I liked the book China Dolls but I did not LOVE it as much as Snowflower and the Secret Fan, Shanghai Girls, & Dreams of Joy (Someday I’ll also read Peony in Love). I did like the book and think it is a worthwhile read. Ultimately, I think Lisa See did do a good job portraying this time in American history. In other words I liked the book, although perhaps but not as much as her previous work.

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