I recently read “Dreams of Joy”, by Lisa See which is the sequel to “Shanghai Girls”. The novel picks up where “Shanghai Girls” left off. Joy had just discovered that her mom, Pearl, was really her aunt and that Aunt May was actually her mother. The man she believed was her father had killed himself and she felt responsible for his death. With all of this turmoil she flees to China to find her biological father, Z.G.
The time period of the novel is 1950’s and communism has taken root in China. Joy embraces the communist ideal and travels to the countryside with her father to teach art to the peasants. There she meets a local man and they fall in love and marry. Living in the isolated village and beholden to the whims of Mao in building the new China she begins to see that communism doesn’t work as well as she thought.
Meanwhile, May goes to China to try and find Joy. She eventually finds her and after Joy marries she stays on to be closer to her. Not too mention that it is almost impossible to leave China. Eventually Z.G. and May must try to rescue Joy together.
I really enjoyed the book and learned quite a bit from it. I’d never really read anything significant related to communist China and was amazed to learn just how crazy things got there and how many people died of starvation.
I’d recommend reading both novels, but, this one can definitely stand alone as well. Enjoy!