China Dolls: A Novel - Lisa See

Lisa See is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors, with her insightful, well-researched novels and her fascinating memoir.  "China Dolls" is an excellent addition to her ouvre.

In this tale, we have Grace, Helen, and Ruby, all auditioning to dance at San Francisco's "Forbidden City" night club.  Each of them has a secret she's keeping ... from the other two, but sometimes even hidden behind their own walls of denial.  We see the young girls grown in friendship, through numerous challenges, and eventually into old age.

Through the course of the tale, we see historical figures and situations ... including the Chinese Exclusion Act, Executive Order 9066 (the Japanese internment order), WWII and more.  Each girl's perspective on situations is seen, as the novel is written in first person with a different girl narrating the chapters.  Each girl has a unique voice, and I think you would be able to tell which girl is "talking" even without the chapter headings after a while.

I enjoyed the book thoroughly and would recommend it to fans of See's work, lovers of historical fiction, and those interested in San Francisco's history in particular.