China Dolls Now On Sale

It’s 1938 in San Francisco: a world’s fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Purchase China Dolls from Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indiebound | IBooks Or Lisa will autograph or personally inscribe books that are ordered through Pages a Bookstore

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Praise for Lisa See’s China Dolls

New Review from Washington Post:

‘China Dolls’: Lisa See’s novel about friendship in a nightclub in the late 1930s’


“We looked delicate and breakable — like dolls, like little China dolls,” says Helen Hong, one of the three main characters in this superb new historical novel by best-selling author Lisa See. “China Dolls” is set in San Francisco in the late 1930s as the United States heads toward war with Japan.

Despite the impending conflict, a world’s fair is about to open. Among the city’s many other distractions, Chinese nightclubs are drawing big crowds and hiring “dancers and singers — ponies and canaries.” Three young “oriental” women from disparate backgrounds win coveted jobs as dancers at the popular Forbidden City nightclub. Grace, born in Plain City, Iowa, is alienated from her Chinese heritage and has run away from home to escape her violent father. Helen, having survived traumas in her native China, now lives in Chinatown with her large and repressively traditional family. Ruby, born in Los Angeles to Japanese parents, is headstrong, ambitious and passing as Chinese to find employment. Drawn together at the nightclub, these three fast friends may look “delicate and breakable,” but their bond, forged by desperate need and loneliness, becomes seemingly indestructible. [Read More]

New Review from Booklist:

China Dolls

Lisa See (Author) Jun 2014. 335 p. Random, hardcover, $27. (9780812992892) The lives of three young Chinese-American women — Grace, Helen, and Ruby — intersect in valuable and often violent ways in pre-WWII San Francisco as they shed their drab former lives to become glamorous entertainers at the city’s rising hot spot, the Forbidden City nightclub.  Despite their divergent backgrounds, a mutual desire to shatter the cultural stereotypes that doom them to lives of familial subservience feeds their ambition to prosper in a world in which the definition of success changes minute by minute.  Though they’ve taken a “one for all” vow of eternal loyalty, each harbors secrets that cause a pervasive atmosphere of distrust to simmer just below the surface.  When Ruby is revealed to actually be of Japanese heritage and deported to an internment camp, their friendships and fortunes suffer a mortal blow, one that only deepens as the war rages on. In her impeccably researched and distinctive historical saga of desire and ambition, betrayal and revenge set amid the glitz and debauchery of burlesque entertainment on the “chop suet circuit,” See (Dreams of Joy, 2011) again lavishly explores the thorny intricacies of female friendships. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The alluring setting of always-popular Lisa See’s latest work of women-oriented historical fiction will be vigorously promoted in print, radio, and online as the author embarks on a ten-city tour. More on China Dolls

Events 2014


Saturday, August 30, 2014 – Washington, D.C.
Talk, Signing
2014 National Book Festival
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW Washington, DC 20001
For event information, call (888) 714-4696, or e-mail

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 – Cumming, GA
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Forsyth County Public Library
Lanier Technical College Cumming, GA

Sunday, October 12, 2014 – Pasadena, CA
2:00 p.m.
Talk, Q&A and Signing
USC Pacific Asia Museum
46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101
For event information, call: (626) 449-2742, ext. 1 20 or

Saturday, October 25, 2014 – La Habra, CA
Brea/La Habra Soroptimists
Alta Vista Country Club
777 E. Also Vista Placentia, CA 92870
$50.00 per person Net proceeds from this event help support local charities supported by Soroptimist International of Brea/La Habra For event information, contact:


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Meet Lisa See

Lisa See, author of the critically-acclaimed international bestseller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), has always been intrigued by stories that have been lost, forgotten, or deliberately covered up, whether in the past or happening right now in the world today. Ms. See’s new novel, Shanghai Girls, once again delves into forgotten history. READ MORE.