Monday, October 5, 2020

Review: The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B Moore

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown
by Heather B Moore

Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In the late nineteenth century, San Francisco is a booming city with a dark side, one in which a powerful underground organization—the criminal tong—buys and sells young Chinese women into prostitution and slavery. These “paper daughters,” so called because fake documents gain them entry to America but leave them without legal identity, generally have no recourse. But the Occidental Mission Home for Girls is one bright spot of hope and help.

Told in alternating chapters, this rich narrative follows the stories of young Donaldina Cameron who works in the mission home, and Mei Lien, a “paper daughter” who thinks she is coming to America for an arranged marriage but instead is sold into a life of shame and despair.

Donaldina, a real-life pioneering advocate for social justice, bravely stands up to corrupt officials and violent gangs, helping to win freedom for thousands of Chinese women. Mei Lien endures heartbreak and betrayal in her search for hope, belonging, and love. Their stories merge in this gripping account of the courage and determination that helped shape a new course of women’s history in America.

Kritters Thoughts:  A historical fiction based very largely in fact as Donaldina Cameron is a historical figure who fought the slavery of young women in San Francisco.  She entrenched herself in the middle of Chinatown in San Francisco and rescued young women from horrible lives and gave them skills in hopes to ensure better futures for each of them.  

My favorite thing about reading historical fiction is when I can read about a new time and place and learn things in an interesting way.  Before reading this book I knew of human trafficking and knew that it had a long history, but I was so unaware of the amount of Chinese women who came to America with their families believing they were doing the right thing for them and their children and instead they were sending them to a horrible life.  

There are so many success stories in this book which helped when reading the horrible rescues and the situations these girls lived in.  The fact that there was hope if they could get out of the situations they were placed in then through the mission and Dolly Cameron their lives could go in different directions.

I would love to read more books in this time and place as it felt unique compared to the many World War II books in this genre!

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Shadow Mountain Publishing.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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