The story is set Southern China, 1923. Mei Ling’s parents arrange a marriage to a widower in California because they haven’t enough food to feed the family. To enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife—a paper wife. On the perilous voyage, Mei Ling gets close to an orphan girl named Siew. Siew has a ‘paper uncle’ and they are not sure of his intentions. When she finally reaches San Francisco, she has to separate from Siew and she’s met with a surprise.
This is such a beautiful novel. It is well written. The author sets the scene with her vivid descriptions of those times. The story is interesting and engaging. I will be reading more of her books.