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China Dolls by Lisa See

China Dolls (2014)

by Lisa See

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3874627,743 (3.56)36
  1. 10
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (kqueue)
    kqueue: Both books deal with Asian-Americans at the onset of World War II and the injustices they suffered along with the tensions between Japanese-Americans and Chinese-Americans.
  2. 00
    Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Although set in the late 1920's in China, Women of Silk pairs well China Dolls because both are literary and character-driven historical novels focusing on Chinese culture. The strength of friendship during difficult situations is key, and rich historical detail permeates both stories.… (more)

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The lives of three women in the culture of Oriental nightclubs intertwine through the years before and after WWII
  ritaer | Apr 14, 2015 |
Zipping through my latest haul from the library, I found this gem. The story is centered on three Asian-American young women in pre-World War II San Fransisco. They all have different stories - Helen is the daughter in a wealthy Chinatown family, Grace has fled to SF to escape an abusive father, and Ruby is hiding her background. They bond and make it dancing in the pre-war Chinese nightclub Forbidden City. The story follows them until shortly after the end of World War II. The nightclub life and performing life were entertaining, but what makes the story is the will of these women. The story takes us through racism, poverty, friendship, deceit and love in a renewing journey. Recommended. ( )
  wareagle78 | Jan 16, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As usual, Lisa See does a great job describing the time period, and Oriental people were treated. I learned more about their interactions, both amongst themselves and with non-Oriental folks. My gripe, is that for me personally, it felt like it dragged a bit. I would keep trying to finish it, get a little farther, and forget about it.

It just wasn't as gripping as her previous titles. ( )
  songbirdz | Dec 7, 2014 |
great premise, disappointing execution ( )
  revliz | Nov 11, 2014 |
In 1938 three young women, Grace, Helen, and Ruby, meet and begin their quest for fame and fortune in the entertainment world in San Francisco. Getting jobs is difficult as they are of Asian background. Eventually their dancing skills land them a job with a nightclub that specializes in "Chinese girls". The tale, told in alternating voices, follows the ups and downs of their careers through the war years and after.

I started reading and I could not stop (which for me is unusual as I tend to read in spurts). Three young women of vary different personalities and backgrounds, who harbor secrets under all that glamor. A work of historical fiction that was liberally sprinkled with real names of the entertainment world, both of Hollywood and the Chinese-American nightclub circuit. When I finished I found some old videos of a few of the performers from the old Chop Suey Circuit. ( )
  punxsygal | Oct 22, 2014 |
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Only three things cannot be long hidden:  the sun, the moon, and the truth.  (Attributed to Buddha)
For Henry Theodore Kendall
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I traveled west--alone--on the cheapest bus routes I could find.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 081299289X, Hardcover)

The New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony In Love, Shanghai Girls, and Dreams of Joy returns with her highly anticipated new novel. A bold and bittersweet story of secrets and sacrifice, love and betrayal, prejudice and passion, China Dolls reveals a rich portrait of female friendship, as three young women navigate the “Chop Suey Circuit”—America’s extravagant all-Asian revues of the 1930s and ’40s—and endure the attack on Pearl Harbor and the shadow of World War II.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:31 -0400)

"In 1938, Ruby, Helen and Grace, three girls from very different backgrounds, find themselves competing at the same audition for showgirl roles at San Francisco's exclusive "Oriental" nightclub, the Forbidden City. Grace, an American-born Chinese girl has fled the Midwest and an abusive father. Helen is from a Chinese family who have deep roots in San Francisco's Chinatown. And, as both her friends know, Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. At times their differences are pronounced, but the girls grow to depend on one another in order to fulfill their individual dreams. Then, everything changes in a heartbeat with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Suddenly the government is sending innocent Japanese to internment camps under suspicion, and Ruby is one of them. But which of her friends betrayed her?"--… (more)

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