Overall I liked it. I really enjoyed the description of Shang Hai as the girls lived it. Reading about the history of that time was also very interesting. The attack on their mom and on Pearl was heartbreaking and I could barely stomach through the pages. See brought that brutality to life and it was heart breaking. It reminded me of the stories of the horrors the Japanese inflicted in the Philippines that I used to hear from my family. They were truly tragic and brutal times. I tend to steer away from scenes like that because they can be misused and unnecessary to the story but this time I thought it was fitting for the times.
I wish we were able to see more of a connection with Pearl and Joy as well as Pearl and Sam. I felt like that was always skimmed over. I never got the sense that Pearl embraced Joy as her own. Or accepted Sam as a partner. For awhile it felt like a lot of working here, working there & maneuvering through life in Los Angeles. I wanted to connect more with the characters here and I just didn’t. It felt like Pearl was always afraid (understandable given her experience), or she was envious of May’s time with her daughter — but that wasn’t off set by her own love & connection to Joy. She was always planning & working for Joy’s future but we saw very little of the connection a mother has with a child.
I knew the truth about Joy had to come out eventually. Had I connected more with the characters, I feel like those last chapters would have had a much bigger impact.
I didn’t know that there was a sequel to the book so I was caught off guard by the ending. I’ve moved on to read that sequel to see what happens. I’ll share more of my thoughts when I’m done with it.