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Paper Wife

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  6,786 ratings  ·  500 reviews

From the bestselling author of Yellow Crocus comes a heart-wrenching story about finding strength in a new world.

Southern China, 1923. Desperate to secure her future, Mei Ling’s parents arrange a marriage to a widower in California. To enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife—a paper wife.

On the perilous voyage, Mei Ling takes an orphan girl named Siew under her wwife.

On

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Kindle Edition, 293 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Lake Union Publishing
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Elizabeth Cart I want to believe this story is historically accurate, as the author presents as an educated writer. I googled Angel Island and the time period and…moreI want to believe this story is historically accurate, as the author presents as an educated writer. I googled Angel Island and the time period and yes it was an immigration port for Chinese mostly, about a million out of the immigration load. I also will check on marriage status of Chinese women in the early 1920's. All of it was an education for me, as my own grandfather of Italian heritage went through Ellis Island but a whole different scenario . Angel Island detained their immigrants for months!!(less)

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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  6,786 ratings  ·  500 reviews


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Gina
This book drew me in from the first page and didn't release me until the last - even then, I didn't really want it to end.

The novel begins in 1923 in China. Already, that has my interest as I love historical fiction books with the added bonus of life and traditions in China thrown in. I was hooked.

Mei Ling's sister was to become the "paper wife" of a widower with one small son (whom he has yet to meet) who will be living in California. When her sister becomes very ill jus
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Kathryn in FL
An Engaging Story of Love and Loyalty in all its Splendor!

Ibrahim delivers another solid read based on history with rich characters living in challenging times. I loved a earlier read. "Yellow Crocus" and now she has enriched her readers lives with "Paper Wife". I struggled with my rating because I would have liked to see her relationship with her husband to continue further but the ending was perfect and it was a satisfying finish.

Mei Ling's sister is set to marry a Chin
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Kristie
This was a wonderful book. I really enjoy Laila Ibrahim's writing. I loved the first book I read by her, Yellow Crocus. This story has similar pacing.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters in this story. Some of them were more well-rounded than others, but I still enjoyed hearing their stories. A couple of questions were left open, so you don't know everything you want to about all of them, but you know them all well enough.

I would have given the story 5 stars except for a couple
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Karen Kay
I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

Mei Ling’s parents arrange a marriage to a widower in California. To enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife—a paper wife. Set in early 1920's, California, Mei Ling is forced to protect her fragile marriage and her children by making decisions that will have a life long effect.

Easy read, good historical fiction story that would be appropriate for younger teens.

3☆
Amie's Book Reviews
With immigration currently being a hot button issue in the United States and many other countries around the world, the publication of this book could not be more timely.

Although this story begins ninety years ago in 1923, there are many alarming similarities between the discrimination faced by immigrants during that time period and the discrimination faced by those who have chosen to emigrate to the United States in modern times.

Mei Ling was happily living out her young life in China when the
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Maya B
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting but a very slow read in my opinion. I felt the characters needed a lot more depth. This is my least favorite read by this author
Fontaine
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting but very unrealistic. Kind of disappointing
Jerilyn
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!

This book deserves all 5 Stars! I really enjoyed this book and could not put it down. A beautifully written story. Laila, you've got a winner with this one!
Dawn Michelle
It is difficult to review a book like Paper Wife because there is just so much there and any review would have to include spoilers and I am not that kind of review writer [typically]. So I am trying to think of a way to encourage you to read this lovely book without giving anything away. If you read the blurb on Goodreads, it does just that, so I encourage you to NOT do that. I was so glad that I didn't look at that until I was more than halfway in and already knew some of the stuff that they sp ...more
Aja: The Narcoleptic Ninja
This was a quick and engaging read. I enjoyed it, but I wanted more. There were a lot of secrets and things in the book to create tension, but most of it came to light without too much conflict. I wanted a little more character development, a little more of the backstory and motives for some of the characters, etc. It was a good read, but I wanted more.
Donna J
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Just okay..not as great as I had wished

I read & listened to ‘Paper Wife’ because I adore every book from Laila Ibrahim! Yet I couldn’t help but feel I was reading “Shanghai Girls” another author, yet about 10 hours less and less details. It was so close to the same story line, but different time..matchmaker involved in lives & the Chinese girl being sent to Angel Island in San Francisco to the same husband type..always say they have money but have none..and a pregnancy. The difference h
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Kathryn
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25/5 stars

I really enjoyed "Paper Wife." This novel provides such realistic, or what I think is realistic, insight and emotion into what it was like to be what is termed a "paper wife."

A paper wife, or paper son, daughter, etc., is someone who is essentially sold by their family to a husband, or another family. In this novel, you meet a young woman who is sold to be married. She does not meet her husband until she has just married him. They end up travelling from southern China to
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Candace Arnold
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laila Ibrahim is quickly becoming one of my favorite historical fiction authors. This story is pristine in every way. Highly recommend.
Margaret Duke-Wyer
Five stars all the way.

Eighteen year old Mei Ling and her sister Jah Jeh are living in a village with their family. It is 1923 and times are hard as China rebounds from famine, war and disease. A matchmaker has been employed and a husband has been found for Jah Jeh who is destined to travel to California with her merchant husband and his orphaned son Bo. Unfortunately she is stricken with a fever and Mei Ling must take her place as the matchmaker will not refund her fee. Such is the
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Toni
Mar 17, 2019 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook-read
Picked this up because Nancy Wu is one of my favorite narrators…BUT
DNF- I can’t deal with how this author makes her historical characters have contemporary ideas, values, morals, and other traits. In this book, a rural country teen girl of Chinese descendent (brand new Communist China no less) emigrates to the USA in the early 1900s and her inner voice, her education, and her world views are comparable to a modern woman. Not buying the malarkey….

The concept is great & the s
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Lilly  Minasyan
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. What a beautiful novel this was! I couldn’t stop listening to the story, I needed to know the ending, how it will end.
Don’t want to spoil this book for anyone, but if you come across to this book, definitely read it!

I am so confident that people would love this story!
Mary Ann
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is a simple, book without nuance in its language, plot, and characters-quite predictable. It might be okay for young teens who have never read anything about Chinese immigration and settlement in the U.S. Glad this was a Kindle freebie.
Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}
"It will seem impossible to take the first step. But on the second step, since you already did one, you know you can take another. Then another and another. Before long you will have walked into your new life."

Paper Wife was a fascinating novel, written by Laila Ibrahim. It takes place in China, and later, in the United States, during the early 1920’s, just as new foreign immigration laws are being passed. The premise was fascinating to me.

"From the bestselling author of Yellow Crocus comes a heart-wrenchinglife."
Paper
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Joy
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is exactly what comes fo mind when historical fiction is mentioned. The time, place, and circumstances engage the mind while the characters and the challenges they face navigating that landscape capture the heart.

There is quite a bit of cultural/historical content, but the book still flows smoothly and rather quickly. I read way past my bedtime night after night because I was so engrossed in Mei Ling’s story. This was my first Laila Ibrahim book, but I seriously doubt it will be my la
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English
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
3.5 stars
Loveable characters and a moving story. I liked it, but wished this similar immigrant story were told be as beautifully as Daughter Of Fortune by Allende. Will be watching this author to see how she matures as a writer.
Lesley
very facinating story
Cris Anne Imperial
I have always found novels with Chinese characters so unique from Western ones. I know that the culture is entirely different and I shouldn't be so surprised but from time to time, I still stare at the pages in awe of the rich oriental culture that is the theme of most Chinese books. My favorite character in the book is Kai Li. I think Mei Ling is the obvious choice here, especially since SHE IS the Paper Wife but I feel like Kai Li is an unsung hero. He made sure that Mei Ling and his whole fam ...more
Hayley
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This book was really interesting and it started off with a bang. Our main character Mei Ling is growing up with her family in 1923. To try to make her life better in the future her parents arrange her marriage to a wealthy businessman from California. However there is one slight problem. The woman he came to meet originally has died so Mei Ling must take over her identity and become his "paper wife" in order to enter the United States. I loved the story because it isn't like anything I've ever r ...more
Natasha Gill
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm a fan of this author's work but I had a hard time getting into this novel until I reached about halfway through it. It moved slowly and I think it spent too much time on a certain part that was depressing and unpleasant. There were some high points in the book but they were few and far apart. I also felt a certain distance from the main character and I'm not sure why. All in all I found the book interesting and the end redeemed it, but I didn't love it
Lisa
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Touching ~

The book started off with a bang, very intriguing and familiar to some other books just like it. Towards the middle, the main character got a bit overbearing with her worrisome thoughts. It became challenging to deal with.
However, the twist at the end saved the book for me. It was pleasantly unexpected.
Julie Moffett
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I throughly enjoyed this book! I found it exceptionally well written, and the topic of Chinese immigration to San Francisco was fascinating. The characters were well-drawn and realistic. Bravo to the author for an interesting, gritty and engaging story. Highly recommended!
Carrie
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didnt-finish
got through 50 percent....and was so bored I couldnt continue :( I wanted so badly to like this book, as I loved LOVED Yellow Crocus. This just fell flat for me, to the point that I could not go on.
Caroline Hedges
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was a fascinating and beautiful read about a small part of American history that I knew nothing about.

Meh Ling is a 'Paper Wife' forced into a marriage to a Gam San Haak - a Chinese man who lives in California. He needs a new wife to replace the one who died, leaving behind a small child. Meh Ling will lose her family, her country and her name to this new life but she has no choice, to refuse will
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Joann

For me, this book had great potential, but it just didn't make it for me to give a 4 or 5 star. Maybe a 3.5. "Paper Wife" is a lovely novel that shows a unique perspective of life for Chinese immigrants coming to America in the 1920's. Historically, I did find most of it interesting and at times - unsettling. Southern China, 1923. Desperate to secure her future, Mei Ling’s parents arrange a marriage to a widower in California. To enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife
...more
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My education and experience in multiracial, developmental psychology and attachment theory provide ample fodder for my novels. My passion for early childhood education, child birth and religious education are reflected in my writing.

I was the founder and director of Woolsey Children's School where I had first hand experience loving children that were not my own. There are scenes in Yel
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“It will seem impossible to take the first step. But on the second step, since you already did one, you know you can take another. Then another and another. Before long you will have walked into your new life.” 8 likes
“We do not know our fate. This may be a forever goodbye; it may only be for years. My love for you will never waver, however long or however far.” 4 likes
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