I enjoy books set in China and Japan. Not entirely sure why - perhaps because they're so different and exotic to me. I read Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club when I was 12 or 13 and just devoured it in a few days. I then read everything else I could find by her. I read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arnold Golden several years ago, and then proceeded to read everything I could find about geishas. I tend to get involved in these kinds of books as a phase of sorts. This book has been no different.
Honestly, I was attracted to the pretty cover of this book. It was propped up on the New Releases bookshelf, and I picked it up to look at it. I'd never read a book by Lisa See before I happened to pick this one up at the library. I've since picked up two more of her books at the library. I immensely enjoyed this book, though it is quite different from her previous novels, so if you're already a Lisa See fan, be prepared for a serious change in time period.
The book begins in Shanghai, shortly before WWII, and takes the reader on a journey through parts of China all the way to the U.S. during wartime and afterward. It's an incredible story. It was compelling, and gripping, and I certainly was anxious to finish it to find out what happened. Admittedly, there was a lot going on - lots of historical facts and a lot of plot points to keep straight - but I really enjoyed this book. I couldn't wait to read it every night. I definitely give it two enthusiastic thumbs up.
Now, I'm reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and then I'm reading Peony in Love, I think. I'll probably even look for Lisa See's nonfiction work, On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family, at the library, too, as I'm sure it's also quite interesting.