The Story Continues...

by Lisa See

Go inside Dreams of Joy - enter the world of Dreams of Joy - with historical links, book reviews and much more.

In her beloved New York Times bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and, most recently, Shanghai Girls, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the potent bonds of mother love, romantic love, and love of country. Now, in DREAMS OF JOY, she returns to these timeless themes, continuing the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy.

Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime and the Great Leap Forward.

Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

Acclaimed for her richly drawn characters and vivid storytelling, Lisa See once again renders a family challenged by tragedy and time, yet ultimately united by the resilience of love.

Dreams of Joy

Sample Chapter

The wail of a police siren in the distance tears through my body. Crickets whir in a never-ending chorus of blame. My aunt whimpers in her twin bed at the other end of the screened porch we share—a reminder of the misery and embarrassment from the secrets she and my mother threw at each other during their argument tonight. I try to listen for my mother in her room, but she’s too far away. That silence is painful. My hands grab the bed sheets, and I struggle to focus on an old crack in the ceiling. I’m desperately attempting to hang on, but I’ve been on a precipice since my father’s death, and now I feel as though I’ve been pushed over the edge and am falling. [Continue reading]


Dreams of Joy

“As always, See creates an immersive atmosphere. . . . Looks like another hit.”— «Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A riveting, meticulously researched depiction of one of the world’s worst human-engineered catastrophes.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A stunningly-researched epic about revolutionary-era China.”-- Los Angeles magazine

“A vivid, haunting, and often graphic portrait of a country, and family, in crisis.”—Booklist

“With each new novel, Lisa See gets better and better. Each work is more tightly woven, richer with information, its characters more memorable than the last. .. . . And so it is with Dreams of Joy. . . . The scope of the novel is astonishing. . . . one of those hard-to-put-down-until-four-in-the-morning books — but happily, the action is not all external. This is often the difference between forgettable and unforgettable books. . . . Stories of the lives of women in the People's Republic of See's novel are particularly deep and unforgettable. . . . one of the best depictions of the true spirit of motherhood you'll ever see in fiction. . . . Of course there are dangers in confusing fiction with history, but there is so much nuance and so little evidence of revisionism in Dreams of Joy. In the end, it's a story with characters who enter a reader's life, take up residence, and illuminate the myriad decisions and stories that make up human history.”—Los Angeles Times

“In the hands of a lesser writer, Mao’s China could easily become a faded backdrop against which the personal drama of Joy and Pearl’s journey plays out, but not with See. Ever the consummate historian, See brings to life the realities of China during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, providing a fascinating and frightening new world for her readers to immerse themselves in. Succeeding as both a sequel and a stand-alone novel, Dreams of Joy is an immensely satisfying and edifying read.”—BookPage

“A tale of two 1950s tiger moms and the daughter they fight to save.”—People

“Once again, See’s research feels impeccable, and she has created an authentic, visually arresting world.”—Washington Post

Amazon’s Best Book of June!!