Dreams of Joy ~ Lisa See

Rating: HHHH
ISBN: 9780812980547
Pages: 400
Publisher: Random House
Year: 2012

Book Blurb:
In her most powerful novel yet, acclaimed author Lisa See returns to the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy. Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, 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 am a huge fan of Lisa See. I have thoroughly enjoyed her previous novels, "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan", "Peony in Love", and "Shanghai Girls" and I have to say that "Dreams of Joy" definitely did not disappoint. 

Ms. See is able to transport her readers effortlessly. Her history is carefully researched. Her characters are beautifully written and totally believable. I absolutely LOVE her writing! 

Joy comes off as an annoying, know-it-all but I grew to love her throughout the novel. She becomes lovable and sympathetic. She's headstrong and will do whatever it is that she wants, despite her mother's and father's warnings. But it is through these decisions, and the consequences that go along with them, that we see her character grow and develop from a girl into a woman. 

There were parts of the book that were deeply disturbing and heart-wrenching, however I believe that it is a true reflection of what really happened during the Great Leap Forward during Mao's rule of China in the 1950's. At times it was horrifying, but at the same time, brutally honest. 

I would strongly recommend "Dreams of Joy" to anyone who loves historical drama with strong characters and authenticity. ** Read "Shanghai Girls" first! **

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