I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with Laila Ibrahim, author ‘Paper Wife’, a historical novel set in Southern China and California in the 1920s.
I started reading this novel quite by chance. It was recently offered as a daily deal on Audible, I read the blurb, listened to an extract and decided to buy it, at once. I’m glad I did because reading The Paper Wife is an unforgettable experience of walking in a young, penniless young migrant girl’s shoes, as she travels across the world to another civilisation, with a new family, leaving her past behind.
The Paper Wife is an emotional story about immigration, arranged marriages, intercultural differences, the subjection and exploitation of women and children, motherhood, marriage, strife and ultimately the power of faith and goodness.
Mei Ling lives in Southern China in the 1920s. Her parents decide the best way to improve her prospects is to sell her in an arranged a marriage to a first generation Chinese-American widower who lives in California with his two-year-old son. But to enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife—a paper wife.
The perilous voyage is described, her incipient relationship with her new husband and son and how she befriends, Siew, a young orphan girl, her detainment on Angel Island and her arrival at San Francisco, where she’ll discover that her husband and her new life are not what she expected.
In spite of the harsh topics discussed, such as slavery, child labour, forced prostitution, corruption and other criminal activities, it was not depressing or sad, because the story is told with great empathy and understanding for Chinese culture. Mei Ling is a strong woman with a purpose in life, to do good and be happy. I loved her strength, optimism and kindness.
I enjoyed listening to the story, told in the realistic and detailed manner of traditional historical novels, immersing the reader in another time and place.
It’s told in the third person entirely from eighteen year-old Mei’s point of view.
The Paper Wife was brilliantly read by Nancy Wu, who is talented enough to read all the voices, men, women, children, American and Chinese in such a way as to bring the story to life.
The Paper Wife, is especially for readers who enjoy realistic and detailed, historical novels, which bring the past to life by means of traditional and emotional storytelling!
What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks!
I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!
Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!
Find out more about this blogging challenge here!