Paper Wife

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

This ebook and audiobook are available on Kindle Unlimited, which is how I listened to/read it, but I would like to that the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a copy of the ARC.

This is a gorgeous historical fiction. It follows a young Chinese woman as she goes to the US in the twenties. Unlike so many historical novels, this one is not chock-full with a bunch unnecessary filler. I simply loved it.
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3/ 5 stars

Eighteen year old Mei Ling and her sister Jah Jeh are living in a village with their family. It is 1923 and times are hard as China rebounds from famine, war and disease. A matchmaker has been employed and a husband has been found for Jah Jeh who is destined to travel to California with her merchant husband and his orphaned son Bo. Unfortunately she is stricken with a fever and Mei Ling must take her place as the matchmaker will not refund her fee. Such is the desperation of the family that they may never see their daughter again and she may provide much needed help from her new position.

Mei Ling travels to Hong Kong with Kai Li and from there by boat to San Francisco. Mei Ling has assumed the identity of her sister to deceive Kai Li. On his part he explains to her that she must now assume the identity of his deceased wife to enable her to gain entry to the United States. She has become a ‘paper wife’ which necessitates her learning the correct answers to the questions that immigration will ask of her.

The book was interesting althoughnit was very unrealistic in many aspects
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author, for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Unfortunately, I have tried reading this book on 2 separate occasions and during this 2nd attempt, I have only managed to make it halfway through so I'd rather stop here and state that this book just wasn't for me.
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What I love about Historical Fiction is the learning possibilities. No matter how many History Channel documentaries you might have seen, there are so so many things you do know nothing about. Paper Wife, well-written and intriguing, gave me insight into a world I didn't know about.
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A wonderful story that swepts you away to times gone by.  The characters make you feel for them.  I finished this book in two days. It went by to quickly, in a good way.
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I received this e-book ARC of Paper Wife through Net Galley from Lake Union Publishing  in exchange for a truthful review.
Historical fiction about the journey of a desperate "paper wife" from being an educated teenager in Southern China in the 1920s to her marriage and immigration to the Bay Area of California.
The story was riveting, heart breaking in parts, inspirational in others and I zoomed through it in several hours. Historical information on the plight of Chinese immigrants to the US during this time frame is discussed in an appendix.
Only took off one star because a resolution of one problem towards the end of the novel which screamed "out of character" to me.
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I really liked learning about how the Chinese had a difficult time immigrating to this country. This is a wonderful historical fiction for anyone interested in China.

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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I love books written about the Chinese culture. Everything about the culture, their traditions, and the way they live their lives has always fascinated me. Paper Wife was an excellent look at the times and traditions of China in the 1920's—an arranged marriage for Mei Ling and a long voyage to America with a man she didn't even know. And then to find out that what she thought was the truth, was a lie. But wasn't she living a lie, as well?

Paper Wife is beautifully written and I fell in love with all of the characters that made up Mei Ling's family. The story is full of life struggles as everyone tries to adjust to each other, and to their new lives, but it's also full of love. I really enjoyed this story and look forward to ready more books by this author.
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A wonderful tale about a beautiful,Chinese girl who took her critically ill sister's place and married a complete stranger.
She thought it was to be on paper only,but their love went on to be much more than that after coming to America.
There were many trials and catastrophes along the way,but family life went on and the children grew and mistakes were forgiven.
Story has a lot about Chinese customs and believes and is very entertaining.The main characters are richly detailed and you will especially love Me-lei, who sacrificed a lot for her family
A big thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to Read and review such a great novel, "Paper Wife" by author Paula Ibrahim.
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Did not finish.  Would definitely try again. I admired the courage of the younger sister, just didn’t click with the book
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Paper Wife is an interesting look at the way some immigrants came from China to the United States. It's a difficult journey for these women. The story is engaging and informative with many historical facts. It's interesting enough to keep you reading until the end. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Wow, so many unexpected turns and twists! A strong and moving story about coming to USA and so much more. There is a lot of interesting history told on a personal level, with good sources listed at the end. Tons of cultural facts. I highly recommend.
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I really enjoyed this book. It tells a story about immigration from China to America. Being immigrant my self, it showed me a different view of a hard road people had to take to get to this country. It remind us that we all have our own story of getting here, we are people of different races and backgrounds, but inside we are all the same humans with the same feelings of wanting the best for our families, we all need love and feeling of belonging.
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Paper Wife by Laila Ibrahim is a very good story, and  all the circles in the storyline could 'easily' be developed into its own stories. This is one of the books where You seem to feel there is much more to be told, but the characters would turn into something else. Not that it is a competition, but I could not resist the plot and read it in a day and a half days Thank you for the allowance to read.
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I absolutely love books that focus on East-Asia, especially from a historical perspective, because the times are such an extreme and drastic difference! This one, however, was not all that original to me in a lot of areas.

You would never really see these kinds of themes (forced-marriage, teen-ish pregnancy, subservient females) in modern day books because people, mostly Western (America) think it no longer exists when that is far from the truth. This is what it was like in the early 1900s in America. That is BARELY 100 years ago, which is not a lot of time in the grand scale of time.

The execution of the story itself was supported in how thorough a lot of the details and historical aspects of the book were. I like Mei Ling as a female character, because most Asian cultures stereo-typically frown upon a female who has anything less than a submissive or demure demeanor and personality. But, again, the overall characters and how they came off weren't all that entrapping in relation to the plot. It was what the story was about, not really "who" that captured my interest and made me continue through the story.
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The novel was shorter than I expected. I read it in about two days, which is a rarity for me with my crazy life. But the story, while well-researched and interesting, is also rather simplistic. There are a lot of places the author could have added more information. Mei Ling only receives two letters from home and she never contacts the local shelter for women (in spite of a rather frightening letter she came across about it early in the novel). 

The biggest issue with the novel though is that Mei Ling has no actual conflict in her life. Every “problem” she is faced with, she either solves or it is solved for her within a few pages. The person with the problem is Siew. The novel would have been much more compelling if Siew had been the main character. The largest conflict for Mei Ling comes at the last 10% of the novel, and, again, it is solved quickly and easily – and not under Mei Ling’s own steam. The novel had a lot of potential, but simply wasn’t developed enough for me.
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This is  a beautifully written story; I couldn't put it down. The characters were developed in a way that develops an emotional attachment and endearment to them. The story line was compelling. 

Mei Ling courageously built her new life, and reminded us that family isn't always what we think in the traditional sense. I rooted for her happiness throughout the book. It was a lovely and enjoyable story. I highly recommend this book.
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I really enjoyed this book. The main character was very likeable. The story moved soon well and not too predictable. Thank you Netgalley for the copy of the book in exchange for honest review.
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I really enjoy this authors writing style, she brings the characters to light, in a way that makes you have a clear picture as to how you feel about each one.
In all of the stories I have read about China, I do not remember reading about, Paper wives or (son, daughters). A fascinating way for people to get into the country with fraudulent papers. This started in response to war and famine in China, the Chinese exclusion act and the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.
The book starts off in China, in a small village where an eldest daughter is sought by an unknown suitor to be his wife, through a matchmaker. He is Chinese as well, with a son, but is a resident of California. To be able to get into the USA with him, she must take on the identity of his dead wife.(thus a paper wife)
With a few changes and a few white lies, she sets out to meet her husband and child to be, and set off on a long journey by sea to her new home. Men and women are separated and the conditions are not very good. 
On this voyage, she meets some people who will be her friends at the end of the journey and very dear to her. 
Wonderful characters, and I love seeing how each of them, evolved, given the  very different circumstances, they have had to get used to.
I won't give a lot of details as I believe that is part of the fun you will have as you read it.
This author also wrote Yellow Crocus and it's sequel Mustard Seed which I loved.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the ARC of this book.
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I enjoyed this gently told historical fiction. A Chinese young woman, in the 1920's, replacing her sister's sudden marriage match, finds herself on her way to America with a husband and a son whom are strangers to her. Many trials and tribulations, (trying not to add any spoiler alerts) of immigrants, marriage relationships, as well as parental love, loyalty, and dedication. Thank you NetGalley for this e-reader edition for my review. All opinions are my own.
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