Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Title: Dreams of Joy
Author: Lisa See
Length: 353 pages
Published in: 2011
Genre: historical fiction (communist China)
ISBN: 9781400067121
personal collection
Reason for Reading: 
I love Lisa See, especially Shanghai Girls, which was a prequel to this book.
Rating: 5/5

Summary (from Goodreads):

Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime.

Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

My Thoughts: I found this a little slow-moving towards the beginning, like I did with Peony in Love, but it turned around and got quite interesting. I’ve never read much about what life was like in communist China, and while this is fiction, I know See is pretty good at her historical fiction 🙂 As usual with her writing, I was easily able to picture life in Shanghai and in the countryside. And the characters’ emotions were so well described that I was excited, anxious, happy, mad, and disheartened throughout the story.

3 thoughts on “Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

  1. swright9 says:

    Yeah I have liked her writing before in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan which is quite good. I think I’d like this one to hear more about Communist China; would be rough! http://www.thecuecard.com/

  2. kheenand says:

    I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan on the recommendation of a work colleague and really didn’t care much for her style. The section in China was by far the most interesting. If you want to read something else about that period, I recommend Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

  3. Lucia says:

    I read Shanghai Girls a few months ago, I like Lisa See writing and even though I didn’t like the 2 main characters much, I found the story compelling.
    I didn’t know it was a prequel to Dreams of Joy, I’ll definitely read this one!

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