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 n...more
My husband is of Chinese heritage and I was raised near San Francisco. This i…moreI realize this question is old, but maybe others have the same question.
My husband is of Chinese heritage and I was raised near San Francisco. This is fairly historically accurate for the immigrant experience for the Chinese who came to America via Angel Island. If you care to, I highly recommend the PBS documentary Chinese Immigrants And The Gold Rush. Also, looking into the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 would provide more depth. The idea of "paper sons" is something I've learned a great deal of through my time in San Francisco's Chinatown and the museums there, but not much is said about there being paper wives. Stanford published a paper about the immigration issues facing Chinese wives during this time period titled "A 'Vital Question of Self-Preservation': Chinese Wives, Merchants, and American Citizens Caught in the 1924 Immigration Act" which seems to substantiate the events in this novel. The PDF of that article is freely available if you Google the title.
As far as cultural sensitivity, this is harder for me to offer an opinion on as I am not Chinese and my husband's family is from Mandarin-speaking Northern China which is different from the Cantonese-speaking south in not only language, but also in customs. China is a huge country, much too big to be represented in a book like this. However, the way certain customs is described is accurate to a lot customs and culture that encompass most of China, especially since unification. I have brought up a few concepts that I wasn't sure about to my husband and his view is that these could very well be accurate and are not at all offensive.
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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 just before she is to leave ...more
The Americans have changed their laws in order to restrict Chinese men from ...more
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 Chinese man living in Americ ...more
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 of minor thi ...more
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.
This was a pretty good read and my final read for 2019. If you enjoy historical fiction about Chinese american immigrants and surviving in a new land, then be sure to check this book out at your local library and whereve ...more
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 ...more
Mei Ling and her family were once comfortable in a large house in Guangzhou, China, but war and fami ...more
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 here was ...more
The months-long voyage is difficult, only to arrive at Angel Island to see if she will be accepted, with her husband's son, by immigration. While detained there, she meets ...more
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 story interesting (the ...more
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 the United ...more
The premise reminded me of 90 Day Fiancé, as it was about a woman from another country going to America to marry someone she barely knew. She didn't know what to expect and was also deceived upon arrival. I liked how she forged a life for herself once she ...more
Mei Ling is married off to Kai Li in a twist of fate and a matter of a single day and sets off on the long journey from her village in China to California with her new husband who she knows nothing about.
Getting into America seems more of a challenge than the journey and how things were done then is detailed. Non European immigrants were detained in Angel Island, sometimes for m ...more
A Paper Wife was a common practice in the 1920's when the Chinese were immigrating to the US. The women would take on the name and history of another in order to go to the US as a wife. It was a complicated process which I found very interesting.
The author demonstrates the uncertainty, fear, and anxiety that these women had to go through.
Mei Ling, the Paper Wife, was trav ...more
In the 1920's, Mei Ling was married to a complete stranger and moved to San Francisco under his first wife's name. Her assumed name was not the only deception that shadowed her new life.
The book was quite interesting. I enjoyed learning about the immigrant experience that Mei Ling shared with many Chinese. ...more
|Play Book Tag: Paper Wife by Laila Ibrahim - 3 Stars||2||8||Feb 21, 2021 06:22PM|
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|AMERICAN HISTORIC...: Book giveaway and sample||3||15||Oct 02, 2019 08:37PM|
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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 Yellow Crocus t ...more