I think I have discovered a new author for my list of favorites! Shanghai Girls is an engaging, well-written, and heart-wrenching historical novel about two sisters whose privileged lives in Shanghai in the 1930s (the “Paris of Asia”) take a dramatic turn for the worse when their father sells them in arranged marriages in order to pay off debts (don’t worry, this comes out right at the beginning, so I’m not giving anything away). The story follows them for 20 years as they escape from China and make a new life with their husbands in Los Angeles. The plot and characters are complex and realistic, and the storyline is compelling. Lisa See has a talent for drawing out the powerful emotions her characters are experiencing. At times I really felt as if I was in the world with the narrator (one of the sisters, in the first person), experiencing what she was. Some of these moments were quite intense and painful, including a graphic rape scene and a bomb explosion. One main theme in the novel is the relationship between the sisters, and Lisa See portrays it so well and realistically, bringing out the love, jealousy, resentment, and caring they feel for each other. I enjoyed Shanghai Girls so much that I immediately moved on to the sequel, Dreams of Joy, which picks up right where the first book left off. I will definitely be reading more by Lisa See as well!