Book Review: Dreams of Joy

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Dreams of Joy

by Lisa See

Historical Fiction, 354 pages

Dreams of Joy continues the story from Shanghai Girls, which I highly suggest reading first. At the end of Shanghai Girls, nineteen year old Joy learns about family secrets. Pearl, the woman she thought was her mother, was actually her aunt. Her real father, Z.G. Li who both sisters loved, still lives in Shanghai. After discovering these secrets, Joy flees to Shanghai, China, to search for her birth father and begin a life in the New Society of Red China with communism in the late 1950s.

Pearl is devastated that Joy left Los Angeles, California, and immediately plans to rescue her. Dreams of Joy switches perspectives between Pearl and Joy. Pearl confronts her past and faces challenges as she follows Joy when their paths finally do cross. China’s tragic events during this time period unfold in Dreams of Joy between the countryside to city, famine, death, and the joys in life. The book is often serious with the harsh tragedies, but family relationships and love are always present.