Review: Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Dreams of Joy
(Shanghai Girls #2)
By: Lisa See
Publisher: Random House
Published: May 31, 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction

Goodreads | Amazon

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.



When Joy finds out that the people she has called Mother and Father all her life are really her Aunt and Uncle and her Aunt is really her biological mother and her father is still in China, Joy is obviously upset. She runs away to China to find her birth father and to help rebuild the new China. Only, when she gets there things aren’t really what she thought they would be.

I liked Shanghai Girls and was really interested when this book came out. You have to read Shanghai Girls in order to pick up on a lot of what has happened. Otherwise you won’t understand the reasoning behind why Pearl acts the way she does towards China, Z.G (Joy’s father) or May. There are some references to the last book and even though I read it, it was so long ago that some parts took me a minute to catch up on.

This story is split between Joy and Pearl. After all, Pearl takes off after Joy to China and tries to bring her home. She goes back to her old family house which is now run down and grimy and waits until she can find Joy. Meanwhile Joy is out traveling the country with her father who is an artist, having an adventure and is totally oblivious to the dangers around her.

This a captivating story about a mother’s love for her child and the depths that you will go to to protect them. I enjoyed this story quite a bit and even though Joy annoyed me through the majority of the book by how naive she was being, the second things clicked for her, you started to see the woman that she will become.

“The first person who tasted crab must have also tried spider, but realized it was not as good to eat.”


2 Thoughts on “Review: Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

  1. Lisa See is an author I have been wanting to read for a long time. Will definitely have to add “Shanghai Girls” to the TBR pile!

  2. *GASP* You’ve read Dreams of Joy! It’s been on my waiting list at the library FOREVAH! I’m glad to see that author Lisa See kept the drama and tension from the first book (Which I absolutely loved!)

    Thank you for swinging by my blog the other day – okay last week and I’m sorry I am just getting by to swinging by yours. I love it though! It’s great! – and not just because you read this AWESOME book! I’m a new follower!

    Happy Reading

Jump in on the discussion: click on the notify button below to follow along

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation