I want to start by saying that I loved Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. That book hooked me immediately.
However, this book was definitely a slow build up for me. The plot sounded amazing – two sisters struggling for survival from pre-World War Two Shanghai, married to boys from America to survive and provide for their families. Things don’t happen as smoothly as their parents were to believe, and the girls must adapt in order to survive.
I think my main issue with this book wasn’t that it started off slowly, because I suppose it really didn’t, but more so because I couldn’t connect with the characters in the beginning. 😅
Pearl is the older sister, and is such a push over I couldn’t handle it. She’s full of hopes and dreams but can never bring herself to even TRY to accomplish anything. May, the younger sister, was such an unbelievably selfish, spoiled brat that I couldn’t stand reading about her. She made me so angry with how she felt everything should be handed to her, and how she took advantage of her sister.
BIG HOWEVER – once the girls had nothing, and were fighting to survive both in Shanghai and America, I did start to enjoy this book. They came together in a beautiful bond that carried them for decades, surviving and thriving.
May still held on to a LOT of her selfish nature, even if she did learn to do things for others, so I never connected with her. Pearl however really came into her own. She learned to work for what she wanted, she always did what was best for her family, and ended up having a beautiful life.
The ending of this book was sad, but beautiful, and I did end up enjoying it. It took me over a month to read because I kept abandoning it for other books, but I did finish it, and I’m happy I did.