The Paper Daughters of Chinatown

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on BN.com Buy on Bookshop.org
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date Sep 01 2020 | Archive Date Oct 31 2020

Talking about this book? Use #ThePaperDaughtersofChinatown #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

A powerful story based on true events surrounding Donaldina Cameron and other brave women who fought to help Chinese-American women escape discrimination and slavery in the late 19th century in California.

Based on true events.
 
When twenty-six-year-old Donaldina Cameron arrives at the Occidental Mission Home for Girls in 1895, she intends to stay for only one year to teach sewing skills to young Chinese women. Within days, she discovers that the job is much more complicated than perfect stitches and even hems. San Francisco has a dark side, one where a powerful underground organization—the criminal tong—buys and sells Chinese girls like common goods. With the help of Chinese interpreters and a local police squad, Donaldina works night and day to stop the abominable slave and prostitution trade.


Mei Lien believes she is sailing to the “Gold Mountain” in America to become the wife of a rich Chinese man. Instead she finds herself sold into prostitution—beaten, starved, and forced into an opium addiction. It is only after a narrow escape that she hears of the mission home and dares to think there might be hope for a new life.


The Paper Daughters of Chinatown throws new light on the age-old scourge of human trafficking. The heroes who fought this evil and the victims who triumphed over it more than a hundred years ago offer a bright example of courage and determination for anyone wishing for a better world.
 

A powerful story based on true events surrounding Donaldina Cameron and other brave women who fought to help Chinese-American women escape discrimination and slavery in the late 19th century in...


Advance Praise

"Recommend to fans of compelling, character-driven historical fiction inspired by true events, such as Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours (2017). YAs will be drawn to the dramatic stories of the young Chinese women brought to America.”

-Booklist, starred review

"Recommend to fans of compelling, character-driven historical fiction inspired by true events, such as Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours (2017). YAs will be drawn to the dramatic stories of the...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781629727820
PRICE $26.99 (USD)
PAGES 384

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)

Average rating from 146 members


Featured Reviews

A heartbreaking look at something that still plagues our society today — the evil of human trafficking. Dolly was an amazing example of what an impact just one person can have, even with limited resources. One thing that was never lacking though, was faith, love, and hope.

Clean, well-written, and thoroughly researched, I was honored with an advance copy and highly recommend this book!

Was this review helpful?

San Francisco in the late 1800's and early 1900's was an interesting place. I would assume there were wonderful parts of it, but this book is mostly in Chinatown where a travesty of women was taking place. This book shows the amazing work of a woman who gave her life to saving women of all ages from slavery and prostitution. The book was not graphic, but the points were well made. The use of opium, prostitution, and abuse are in this book, and it is not without its sorrow as the reader delves into the lives of some of these women.

I appreciate the authors class in bringing this subject forward. It was written without vulgarity and tastefully done. I appreciate how you followed a few of the women through a longer period of their lives and watch the changes they made.

I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and those who appreciate history of strong women.

Was this review helpful?

This evocative novel tactfully deals with the sensitive issue of human trafficking, weaving well researched details into a cohesive and compelling narrative.  Heather B. Moore does an excellent job with telling the human side of the history, from an angle of hope and redemption.  Although losses are acknowledged and this is a very dark and disturbing subject, the author has focused her narrative on successes and this book brings with it a feeling of light.  Historical notes and experiences from the life and perspective of Donaldina Cameron, tactfully covering years of her early experiences at the Occidental Mission Home, are woven throughout the book with a fictionalized compilation of experiences told to give us an insider's perspective of the slave trade.  This character's experience draws you in and helps you feel the depths that these courageous women were rescued from and the heights they were able to reach with the loving support and care of a heroine and her group of dedicated individuals. This story will stay with me for a long time! This was a standout among this prolific author's impressive works.

I received a complimentary book.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This book was absolutely amazing. It is the story of Donaldina Cameron who began working in San Francisco in 1895 at a mission home that rescued Chinese women and girls from lives of slavery. She started as the sewing teacher, but was soon an essential member of the rescue team. Eventually, she became the director of the home.
This is historical fiction at it's finest. Supported by documented facts and countless hours of research, Moore weaves a complex tapestry. She skillfully intertwines the story of fictitious Mei Lien with the more historical account of Donaldina. This is a book of both tragedy and hope. The horrors these Chinese Paper Daughters suffered at the hands of their owners is heartbreaking. This book had me shedding tears. But at the same time my admiration and respect for Donaldina and others like her has grown. Human trafficking is a problem that has not disappeared. This story is a reminder of how one person's efforts can positively influence the lives of many.
This was an amazing journey and I am so glad that Moore wrote this story. It will stay with me for a very long time. Thanks Netgalley for the ARC. #Netgalley. #Heather Moore #paperdaughters

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book! Heather B. Moore is such a genius in researching the history, geography, and people in her books that they become real (of course in this case they are real) and relate-able. Donaldina Cameron was a real person who truly lived and worked and prayed for and Loved the “Paper Daughters” who were stolen or tricked away from home and family and forced into slavery, servitude, and often addiction to opium which was one more tool of control by the wicked people who bought these children and women.

With such a dark setting, in less capable hands, this could have been a very dark and scary story. Ms. Moore beautifully shares the humanity, care, and love that Donaldina “Dolly” had for the children and women she helped to rescue and teach, and they loved her, too! Dolly was a spinster who never had children of her own, yet she was mother to many, both legally through guardianship papers as well as through loving care. This story begins in 1895 with Dolly’s arrival at 920 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, at the Occidental Mission Home and chronicles how she learned the work of both teaching and going on raids to rescue slaves. Dolly’s adventures carried her through fighting for her girls against the Tongs, political and legal challenges, plague, earthquake, and fire.

I appreciated learning more about the history of San Francisco through the eyes of Dolly and some of her girls. My heart was touched as I learned more about this time period and the challenges these women faced as they continued the fight against slavery well after the civil war ended. This book was well researched, well written, and engaging to the heart as well as the mind.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to the Publisher and Netgalley for an Advanced copy.
What can I say? I loved this story. I had never heard of Donaldina Cameron and her fight to help those that were lied to about a better life upon arrival in the United States. She did so helped so many succeed in life. Most of the characters are real and the fictional characters were a great addition to the story. The author did a wonderful job telling the history of Donaldina Cameron.
"A powerful story about Donaldina Cameron and other brave women who fought to help Chinese-American women escape discrimination and slavery in the late 19th century in California." This is the description of the book and yes, it is, indeed a very powerful story.

Was this review helpful?

Wow, such an excellent book. This book was extremely well-written and intriguing, based on the life of Donaldina "Dolly" Cameron, who worked tirelessly to rescue Chinese slave girls/women/prostitutes from the Chinese tong in Chinatown in San Francisco from the late 1800s/early to mid 1900s. The author chose to focus the book from when Dolly arrives at the mission home to the rebuilding of the mission home after the San Francisco earthquake and fires in 1906, ending in 1908. However, she prefaces and ends the book with extensive documentation about the facts of Dolly's life and which characters in the book are real and which are based on stories of other characters. I was completely unaware of this human trafficking/slave trade going on in the United States during that time period and the underground of San Francisco's Chinatown. Moore's extensive research shows through her writing and her efforts to be historically accurate while still taking (what seem to be mild) liberties with her story. A large portion of the book shifts timeline/focus back and forth between Dolly's humanitarian efforts and Mei Lien (whom is a made-up character based off of a compilation of real experiences and real women Moore encountered in her research). We follow Mei Lien's journey from leaving her mother in China with her new "aunt" and "uncle" to come to America for what she believes to be a golden opportunity to come to America as a bride-to-be, even up to the point where she is placed on display naked before her potential buyer, when she finally realizes everything her "aunt" and "uncle" told her and her mother was not to be. This book offers the perspective of what some women went through in the lies they and their families were told in order to get them to come to America, the buying and selling of them once they reached America, the pitiful amount of money their families received for them (if any at all), their forced addiction to opium, abuses, etc. I'm not sure why Moore chose to focus on a woman who was in a better circumstance than most in a high-end brothel rather than the more destitute prostitution cribs and harsher circumstances, though maybe it's because she brings Mei Lien's character back into contact with her madam, Ah-Peen Oie (a real-life character) at the end of the book. Moore does touch briefly on those harsher circumstances in some of the rescues that Dolly and the other mission home translators/Chinese women and the cops go on to help the women of Chinatown. Dolly's own personal heartbreaks in her life are mentioned. She comes alive as such a real woman with her own desires for her personal life and love but also her drive to help these women, youth, and children affected by such a horrid business by the Chinese tongs to dominate and take advantage of unsuspecting women, as well as their families back home, who believed they were providing their daughters with a better life in America. The book ends with hope for what Dolly and the mission home provided for these women but with a clear impression that their work was continuing on and by no means complete.

In her afterword, along with notations and documentation of her extensive research, Moore mentions the atrocities of human trafficking that are still going on today and the many organizations that are fighting against it. This is not new to our society, unfortunately, but through this book Moore documents and brings awareness to such a sad time period of this Chinese slave trade and the fight of Ms. Cameron and many others who worked/work tirelessly to help as many as they could.

Content: A clean read, with no bad language. The mentions of the harsh conditions, sex, drugs, abuse, etc. are not graphic or heavily dwelt on, just enough for you to know what's going on.

Was this review helpful?

This magnificent book highlights the plight of Chinese and Japanese young girls who were lured into slavery in the United States. This rendition of the selfless courage of the people who sought to save these hapless girls and give them light and courage to grow as worthwhile women has deeply touched me. To bear witness to such humility illuminates what we can do if we will hold hands and not turn our cheeks.

Was this review helpful?

Opening line:

""From a woman, and she a pretty, fair-spoken Scotch maiden, this slave trade took its hardest blow--playing her desperate lone hand she reduced the traffic by about one-half.""

This is a heart-wrenching, moving, beautiful story of one amazingly strong woman making a change, one Chinese-American girl at a time told by a masterful story weaver.

In 1895, Donaldina, or Dolly as she preferred to be called, moved to the Occidental Mission home for Girls in San Francisco. She believed she would be teaching sewing, but she ended up doing much, much more for these girls who were brought to America with the belief, and lies, that they would marry rich men and be able to send money home to their families.

The girls were beaten, abused, sold into slavery and brothels and denied any human rights. Dolly and a small band of helpers worked tireless to save the girls and stop the human trafficking. She saved thousands of girls, got them legal paperwork, hence the name "Paper Daughters," so they could leave the 'homes' and 'uncles' who claimed the girls as their family.

There are alternating chapters with Dolly's story of a fictional character of Mei Lien, one of the girls Dolly helps rescue. Mei's story brings the horror of what the girls go through from the lens of one the abused. Her story is tragic, hopeful and learned strength.

The mission home, and it's members, survived illegal searches, threats, shootings, beatings, and even survived the 1906 Earthquake. What was amazing to me during this part of Dolly's history was that she went back into the mission home and saved all the paperwork of the girls because she was worried she wouldn't have proof of the girls legality and the 'uncle's would try and take them back. From my knowledge, all legal documents (birth, marriage, death certificates etc) in San Francisco were burned except the ones Dolly was able to save (and some family's who were able to save their papers. But those are very few).


Heather Moore not only has talent for weaving a dramatic and endearing story, she excels in research and bringing her research to life in a way that makes the reader read on and learn. I hope this author writes more books about #strongwomen We need their stories.


Thanks to netgalley for the early read.

Was this review helpful?

This is a very well written book. I think it’s extremely difficult to take a hard topic like this and make it interesting (albeit sad) rather than horrifying to read. Heather Moore has a gift for this kind of writing and historical fiction in general. I appreciate the research that she puts into her writing and the character development is always good in her books.

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book. I didn’t know much about the history of the Chinese in San Francisco. I am half Chinese so learning more about the history of Chinese in America is interesting to me the older I get. This is the based on the true events of Donalinda "Dolly" Cameron and her work with a Christian Mission home for Chinese women who escaped prostitution and slavery. The story takes place in the late 1800s and early 1900's. Dolly courageously saves the lives of thousands of Chinese girls and young women. This has been interested to read the non fiction book Chinatown's Angry Angel which the author cites. If you like historical fiction, you will love this. I was provided an ARC for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Excellent and well-written story of Donaldina Cameron, a true-life hero.. Ms. Cameron worked at a girls mission beginning in the late 1890’s in San Francisco. She and her team risked their lives to rescue Chinese girls who were lied to, their parents/family lied to at home, given money, and the young girls brought overseas and forced into prostitution. I thought the delicate subject was handled with care and sensitivity. While the subject matter is difficult, the stories were told with respectful. These rescued girls were given a home, compassion, dignity, hope, and love, where otherwise they likely would have died in the streets. Many were forcibly addicted to opium to make them more compliant. We need more Donaldinas in the harsh world today, as human trafficking continues worldwide. This is a true story interwoven with some fictional characters. If you like history and humanity stories you will enjoy this one. I’ve read other books about the mis-treatment of the Chinese who came over here to help build railroads in San Francisco and were treated quite brutally; this book targets a specific population and one person who took it upon herself to help solve a problem that seems never ending. Highly recommend.
Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

Book: The Paper Daughters of Chinatown
Author: Heather Moore
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release: Sept 2020

"Some of the girls are kidnapped by the highbinders, and their families have no idea that their daughters are alive. The girls take on new identities in America, and their lives are controlled in every way. They've been reduced to what we call paper daughters. Without a home. WIthout care or love."

The squalid quarters the innocent Chinese girls are sequestered in, after giving tall promises of comfort & handsome husbands in the far off lands of America, is indescribable. Living in the worst conditions imaginable, denied food or water, & constantly subjected to bodily harm, their only hope is Donaldina Cameron & the Occidental Mission Home for Girls.

This book delves into the life of Dolly, the savior of almost a thousand fallen angels between 1895 & 1908. She was given the task of rescuing indentured concubines, & then giving them a safe haven, where they were educated & given life skills.

I loved how Mei Lien's story was intermingled in the storyline, to highlight the extent to which the girls suffered, & also to show to what heights Dolly would go to, to rescue the girls even if it meant spending time in jail with them.

This book has a soul, each sentence is filled with sadness and hope. It touches on the subject of the black plague quarantine, & rescue mission conducted under the toughest times, & also when all of Chinatown was blown up when a fire spread due to an earthquake.

The author has used her extensive research to put together a cohesive story in a heartbreaking manner. Recently, I had read Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, regarding the Japanese mail-order brides, & this book reinforced this with the instance of the Chinese girls brought in for trade from Hong Kong.

The heartbreaking excerpts of newspaper articles & Dolly's journal entries at the beginning of each chapter brought each event to life & shocked me that such a world did exist
I thank Netgalley for giving me this wonderful opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book. It was thoughtful, well-written, and educational. It reminds me a bit of other female missionary books such as the biographies of Amy Carmichael in India or Jackie Pullinger in Hong Kong. I learned a lot about the Chinese immigrant experience and the problems of slavery around the turn of the 20th century. This was a fast and enjoyable read!

Was this review helpful?

ASTOUNDING! Gave me a new view on the Chinese experience at the turn of the 1900s. WOW! The story was so moving and powerful. I thought that the author was brilliant by giving two sides of the equation...the rescued and the rescuer.
I absolutely loved the fact that it was based upon historical fact.
This book should be mandatory reading for any human trafficking class.
The only downside is that I thought that the should have ended the story when Huang Sun came back. The rest of the book did not add anything significant to the overall story. Very minor, but annoying.
Overall a fantastic book and one that was hard to read at times.

Was this review helpful?

This was a fascinating read based on the life of Donaldina (Dolly) Cameron. This book is historical fiction and was well researched with an interesting story. Dolly worked hard to protect the lives of Chinese-American women and girls who were sold into slavery in the late 19th century. Dolly started out as a young teacher and eventually became the director of Occidental Mission Home for Girls. The young ladies that were sold into slavery were treated poorly. Dolly and her team recued many young ladies from the horror of prostitution, drug dependency, and deplorable conditions.

Other story lines in this book are about the girls that were recued. Many were kidnapped in China or sold by their parents with the promise they would marry a wealthy American. The book tells the story of several of the paper daughters. The book is hart wrenching as well as uplifting. Some of these young ladies showed such courage and resolve to change their situations with great personal dangers.

I really enjoyed this book and would like to read more about Dolly. This book only covers part of her life. I would like to thank #NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore

When I began reading The Paper Daughters of Chinatown, I anticipated reading an entertaining story interspersed with enough historical details to lend authenticity to a captivating plot. Instead author Heather B. Moore introduced me to an incredible woman, driven by passion, love and God who changed the lives of everyone with whom she associated.

From the beginning of The Paper Daughters of Chinatown, I was drawn into the life narrative of Donaldina Cameron. As I read the fast moving plot, I sensed the meticulous historical research behind the story because of the depth and passion in the characters and the way they came alive to share the heartache and pain of Miss Cameron and her Chinese daughters.

Moore’s telling of this piece of history is provocative and sometimes hard to read because the events that surround Miss Cameron’s relentless work at the Occidental Mission Home is dark, brutal, ugly and at times unthinkable except to those who experienced it. That said, I think that is what makes Heather B. Moore’s telling of this story even more remarkable. She’s taken an obscure and intensely inhumane slice of Chinatown history and showed us what God can do with dedicated, average people to work His miracles and bring hope to people who have no hope. I received a complimentary copy of The Paper Daughters of Chinatown for my candid review.

Was this review helpful?

A fascinating look into a horrifying world - I couldn't stop reading this book. The story was so rich and beautifully told, it made a perfect escapist read during these crazy times, I can't wait to share it.

Was this review helpful?

This is a must read! This book delves into the human trafficking trade in the late 1800's-early 1900's in San Francisco. It was very eye opening and heart wrenching, as well as being very uplifting. I was unaware of Donaldina Cameron. I am so grateful for people like her who give so much for the welfare of others. I know that human trafficking is still going strong today, which is terrifying. This book is a clarion call to all of us to do something. Whether it is financial or physical, we can all make a difference. I would highly recommend this book. It is a book that will stay with you for a very long time.

Was this review helpful?

I am a total clean romance junky, so I was unsure about this book. But i absolutely love this author and everything she writes is well thought out and researched, so of course I requested, and boom another fabulous job. This book was fascinating, sad and fully inspiring. I was unable to put it down and finished in a few days. I love learning about real people who have changed even a small part of the world. And this woman did so much for the Asian community in San Francisco at the turn of the last century. I thoroughly enjoyed this story!

Was this review helpful?

I was fascinated by this story about the Chinese slave girl trade in San Francisco, a topic I was unaware of even though I grew up in California and studied the early history of the state. I knew about the poor treatment of the Chinese in general, but this story came as a surprise. The author does a wonderful job of centering the story around Donaldina Cameron's work in rescuing these slaves during the late nineteenth century. The author also brings in a fictional character, Mei Lien, who brings in the point of view of one of the girls taken from her home in China and deceived into the San Francisco sex trade.

The story only captures a slice of Donaldina's life and work, but it is enough to build a solid story around. I highly recommend this book. Well researched and well written.

Was this review helpful?

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher, Shadow Mountain, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

This book is based on the true story of Donaldina “Dolly” Cameron and the Occidental Mission Home for Girls. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a book you should pick up. Dolly and the Mission Home rescue, aid and assist Chinese women in the San Francisco area who have been sold into slavery through deception. The parents of most of the women believe they are sending their children to a better life. The courage and stamina of Dolly is amazing. The trials and tribulations, mental and physical, that these young girls and women endure is horrific. “The younger girls were more prone to tantrums and arguing, whereas the older girls struggled with seeing the light through all the darkness they’d been through.”

Throughout the book, I found myself cheering for Dolly. The sacrifices she made endear the reader to her. The challenges she encounters with evil people and legal system are heart wrenching. The deep compassion and kindness Dolly and the Mission’s staff provided to the frightened girls was remarkable. As one character described Dolly: “…you are an avenging angel. You are the light among the darkness of Chinatown.” The challenges the Mission had to overcome and tremendous.

I highly recommend “The Paper Daughters of Chinatown.” It was well written and researched.

Was this review helpful?

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore was amazing. The main person Donaldina Cameron nickname Dolly goes out to California to teach Paper Daughters sewing. In result of the Chinese Exclusion act resulting in false papers a lot of women ended up in slavery situations where they were falsely lead to think a better life awaited them through marriage.
They were rescued through a Presbyterian Mission as Act of kindness and to stop this horrible acts. By risking their own lives also in exchange. However, the exchange was to let the women know there is a better life out there and to not get rid of hope. Donaldina Cameron was amazing to read about. Also I really teared up.

Was this review helpful?

4/5 Stars. When I was in elementary school, I read a LOT of books about missionaries, so "The Paper Daughters of Chinatown" was very much a blast from the past. (Considering that I would've been graduating from high school in two weeks were it not for COVID-19, that seems all too fitting.) I had no idea who Donaldina Cameron was before I read this book, nor did I know anything about the prevalence of human trafficking in Chinatown at the turn of the 20th century, so this one was an eye-opener. Its writing was a bit overwrought and clumsy at times, but its story had undeniable power and significance. This was an important story to tell, and I enjoyed it in spite of its flaws.

Was this review helpful?

Stop everything and slow your roll. This book is a must-read. Not because it is some love story that makes you feel good, but because it is a gripping story of a woman who devoted her life to saving Chinese girls and women from slave and prostitution trade. The emotional connection I felt to this historically based novel was unbelievable. I could not stop myself from reading it; I was so engrossed I found myself telling my family about it while reading it. Donaldina's story is one of heartache, love, service, and family. The people came to life and I felt each loss, each victory, each scenario Donaldina experienced. A lot of people may feel shying away from this story because it is a difficult topic. But Moore tells it in a tactful yet compelling way that keeps you reading until the end. And when I got to the end I wished there was more to read. To think that this is only a snippet of Donaldina's life and the impact she had on her Chinese daughters is mind-blowing. The Paper Daughters of Chinatown is moving and is something that everyone should read. Everyone. Bravo Moore for researching and sharing such an important story with us. I received a copy of this book for free; all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This beautifully researched novel introduced me to a time in history I knew little about. I had never heard of Donaldina Cameron prior to reviewing this ARC and I found her tale quite fascinating. I enjoyed the mixture of fictional characters mixed in with the historical characters. It really gave you a sense of what life was like for these paper daughters of Chinatown and everything they were put through. Heather did a fantastic job of introducing us to Donaldina and her life’s work of rescuing and bringing light to so many of these girls lives. Thanks to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain for sending me a copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I love learning about new-to-me aspects of history, so getting to read about Donaldina Cameron's work as portrayed in Heather B. Moore's excellent writing style was a pleasure. While thinking about the women and girls who suffered so horribly was painful, the look at Dolly's efforts to help as well as the way the girls and women who were rescued grabbed onto fresh hope, was inspiring and uplifting. The research that Moore did for this book clearly shows, and a difficult topic is written about so skillfully. This is an eye-opening book that would be particularly good for book clubs, as there is much that could be discussed.
4.5 stars.
I read an ARC provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
#Netgalley. #Heather Moore #paperdaughters

Was this review helpful?

We live under this belief that the sex slave trade is something newer to the history of our country. This could not be further from the true. The sale of young women into the life of prostitution is something as old as this country and beyond. This book tell just one part of the continual fight against sex slavery in this country. Set in San Francisco during the late 1890s-early 1900s, this book tells the story of Donaldina Cameron and her tireless efforts to free the sex slaves of Chinatown in San Francisco. This book as sorrow, heartbreak, forgiven and most of all the unwavering determination of doing what is right. You get caught up in this story and you want to go right in with Dolly to save these paper daughters. I highly recommend this book!

Was this review helpful?

This was really good. I knew the Chinese people were treated badly when the cane to the US but I had no idea this stuff happened. Now I want to look up
More info about it. This is not my typical lighthearted read, but well done Heather.

Was this review helpful?

This is a very very well researched book that I appreciate the author taking the time to research and write about. This is a sensitive subject but one that is still very much alive today.

Was this review helpful?

I thought this was a very well written story. The research that was done to write this novel about Donaldina Cameron was intense to say this least. The author, Ms. Moore, did a fascinating job of telling about the Chinese sex slavery trade in the 1900's of San Francisco Chinatown and how Ms. Cameron saved and help hundreds of children and young women get away from that life. The terribly sad part is that it was the country men of these Chinese children and young women that were buying, selling them. It was wonderful to read how a number of these girls turned there lives around completely. Marriage, children of their own, college. It just goes to show how strong we as women can be and that there are wonderful people in this world to help.

Was this review helpful?

A highlight of my reading year! Initially set around 1882 when “undesirable” Asians were banned from entering the United States unless they had family or were married to a citizen. To get around this Act “Paper Daughters”, wives on paper only, travelled by ship with instructions to memorise in fine detail information about their new families in order to fool the authorities. Unfortunately the only fools were they themselves, thrown into a life of slavery and prostitution. A Presbyterian mission home becomes a haven of safety for these women run by a Donaldina Cameron. Without fear for her own life, she responds to calls for help and with the help of her staff and the local police she rises up against the Chinese tong slave masters. Based on Donaldina Cameron herself, Heather B. Moore has given us a graphic tale of 19th century life in San Francisco.

Thanks to Netgalley the author and Shadow Mountain publishers for an ARC of this book.

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book! It reminded me of Lisa See's novels which I also love. I had no idea that Chinese girls were being trafficked in San Francisco at the turn of the century, and this story taught me about a brave, amazing, real life hero. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of this author's work. I received a copy of this book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest feedback.

Was this review helpful?

This book was an interesting and solid read about a piece of history that was new to me. For this reason, I liked it. It felt a bit like a teaching moment or young adult novel but I felt like I was learning so much by reading it that I found it to be compelling.

Was this review helpful?

I love a great historical fiction novel and The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore is a book I think you will love as much as I did. I appreciate a beautifully written story that entertains and teaches me something new, especially when it’s based on true events like this one. It reminded me of when I read about Georgia Tran, an evil woman who abducted children and sold them, a prolific child trafficker. When I learned about her, I listened to every podcast and read everything I could.

Now, learning about Dolly and her work, I am intrigued and need to find out more. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Take a look:

When twenty-six-year-old Donaldina Cameron arrives at the Occidental Mission Home for Girls in 1895, she intends to stay for only one year to teach sewing skills to young Chinese women. Within days, she discovers that the job is much more complicated than perfect stitches and even hems. San Francisco has a dark side, one where a powerful underground organization—the criminal tong—buys and sells Chinese girls like common goods. With the help of Chinese interpreters and a local police squad, Donaldina works night and day to stop the abominable slave and prostitution trade.

Mei Lien believes she is sailing to the “Gold Mountain” in America to become the wife of a rich Chinese man. Instead she finds herself sold into prostitution—beaten, starved, and forced into an opium addiction. It is only after a narrow escape that she hears of the mission home and dares to think there might be hope for a new life.

Before starting this book, I knew nothing about the trafficking of Chinese girls in San Francisco. Rich details plus facts, and excellent research make this novel an absolute must-read. As heartbreaking as it is, it’s important to learn about the history that wasn’t taught in school. Now I want to learn more about Donaldina “Dolly” Cameron.

Another excellent book! Be sure to read this when it comes out on September 1. Pre-order here!

Was this review helpful?

I think this book was the best book I have read recently. The story makes me want to continue. How she saved so many young women from abuse. I would follow this author.

Was this review helpful?

WOW!! This is a beautifully written heartbreaking story about human trafficking. It is a clean well written book that is full of emotions. If you like historical fiction you will love this book. It is a Must Read! Thank you Shadow Mountain Publishing via NetGalley for the ARC copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

It is the marker of a good book when one picks it up to read after midnight to relax, then turns the final page at 4am.

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown was that kind of book. The novel is based on the life story of Donaldina (Dolly) Cameron, who ran a missionary home in San Francisco at the turn of the century.. Her job was helping to rescue the young Chinese girls and women that were being held as sex slaves and prostitutes in San Francisco's Chinatown, after being brought over as "paper daughters" to get around the various immigration acts. The young women were abused, assaulted, and often addicted to opium, when they finally find refuge at the home. The novel tells of her journey from joining the home on a one year contract to teach sewing skills to becoming the director and chief rescuer to her role as a surrogate mother for the young girls and women in her care.

While I had hear the term paper daughter before, I had only known it as a means of bringing others to the United States, but not the conditions that were the result. The novel is well researched and allows the reader a deeper look at a much less well known time periods than most current historical novels. The story is definitely a page turner, as my one-night-read can attest to.

Was this review helpful?

This is one of those books that will stay with me for a very long time. I wasn't that familiar with the rescues that took place in the Chinatown section of San Francisco during the first hundred years of Chinese immigration. Thanks to NetG.alley and Shadow Mountain for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

San Francisco and the story of human trafficking. Believing that she is coming to America to become the wife of a rich chinaman, Mei Lien is sold into prostitution. An amazing novel of historical fiction that was only too real. Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This is a well written book on a difficult and heartbreaking topic. I'm aware of human trafficking, but I've never heard of Donaldina Cameron before. The book is based on facts with fiction woven throughout, creating a book that will stick with the reader after the final page. The excerpts from newspaper articles and Dolly's journal at the beginning of each chapter brought the book to life, sometimes in a shocking way.

Was this review helpful?

Thank. you for the advanced e-ARC win exchange for my honest review. I will post my review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Was this review helpful?

This book will linger in my thoughts for a long time. Never having heard of Donaldina Cameron and only vaguely aware of the human trafficking/slavery involved in Chinatown in San Francisco, I was both horrified by the concept of “paper daughters” and heartened by the strength and bravery shown by Donaldina. Seeing the journey from China and the expectations of a wonderful life ahead in Mei Lien’s mind was so well depicted that I grew to feel so fond of Mei, which strengthened my connection to the book. A few laughs, many tears, and a true respect for both the young women and Donaldina and her staff, especially Mei and Tien. I so appreciated the tremendous research that must have occurred to breathe life into the story. I read every word and learned so much about the infamous tongs and the power they held in Chinatown. This is my favorite genre, historical fiction, and this book is one of the best I have read. Many many thanks to Heather B. Moore for sharing Donaldina’s story, Shadow Mountain for publishing, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to read an arc of this unforgettable story, to be published in September.

Was this review helpful?

~ I received an ARC copy of The Paper Daughters from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~

As a student and teacher of history, I'm always hesitant to pick up the narrative of any figure that involves themselves in the work of aiding minority groups in the United States. I will say that the life and efforts of Donaldina Cameron were inspiring and reminded me of the hundreds of faces we don't see that are doing the hard work to ingratiate those who have suffered injustices into society and preparing them for a new life.

Was this review helpful?

This is a story that needed to be told. The subject matter is difficult, but anything worth exposing and correcting is going to be difficult. The handling of the subject of the trafficking of women and girls in this book was masterfully done. Heather B,. Moore showed it from the perspective of those fighting trafficking and one who was experiencing it.

I found myself intrigued by the subject matter and found it applicable today as people are still being trafficked. If we are going to talk about slavery, we need to talk about the abuses to these people that find themselves the victims of evil people.

This story was also about healing, not overnight, but a slow healing over time that can only happen through love and forgiveness, When I say forgiveness, I mean the victims forgiving themselves,. I was pleased that the format of this book was a. Novel. I find that I am able to better personalize history with a narrative and characters I can connect with, in this Heather B. Moore succeeded. The history was well researched and presented.,

While this wasn’t one of my fastest reads, it was definitely worth the read to learn a part of history that I had heretofore overlooked. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more of the sordid history that has gone too long overlooked.

I received and early copy of this book from NetGalley and this is my review.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book. I have never heard of Donaldina "Dolly" Cameron or the Occidental Mission Home, and was fascinated with her courage and with all the work she did to help the Chinese girls and women escape their horrendous circumstances. I especially loved that it was told in dual perspectives of Dolly and of a young Paper Daughter. The view from both sides of the story made it a well-rounded experience. The topics in the book are handled very tastefully. It could have been vulgar but it was not and because of that, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction, the history of the Paper Daughters, or anyone interested in stories about strong, influential women in history!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Amazing. Heartrending. Incredible.

It took me awhile to get into this book, mainly because the subject matter is so intense and quite heavy. But it is excellently written and brings to life real people that lived and fought for the freedom of others. Donaldina Cameron was a remarkable woman, as were the women she worked alongside and the daughters she rescued. She sacrificed so much for her girls, yet there was no resentment, only occasional sadness when she felt lonely, but also overwhelming peace with her choices.

Mei Lien amazed me. She was an incredibly strong young woman and this shone through in the book. She is truly an example to everyone, no matter the struggles and trials they have experienced.

I loved seeing Tien blossom and grow through her experiences, becoming another remarkable young woman as she learned to trust and to want to be trusted herself.

This was an emotional read. No question. But absolutely worth it to become more educated on the plight of women and children around the world - past AND present, because things like this still happen today.

Was this review helpful?

#ThePaperDaughtersOfChinatown #NetGalley

This novel based on a true story, was well written and I had a hard time putting it down. The Chinese law, up until 1911 forbade women emigrating to America, until a law was passed to allow them into the country under the pretense of labour laws. Chinese women were given forged paperwork to migrate and promised husbands or jobs. Once they arrived the women thinking they were to meet their new husband, were sold as slaves or prostitutes by the Chinese criminal tung. The story is told through two characters, Mei Lein a young Chinese woman and Dondalina Cameron.
Dondalina (Dolly), comes to work at the Occidental Mission Home, a home that provides refuge for Chinese women, taken from places of Iill repute. These Chinese women were broken and also addicted to opium. Some as young as six years old, were forced to work in abusive situations or sold as prostitutes. These Chinese women would contact the Mission Home through a code and the Mission Home, would come and rescue them from their deplorable situation. Dolly become an advocate for these Chinese women and worked tirelessly to make a better future for them.
Mei Lein, is one of the paper daughters, whose story we read about, from before her arrival in America. It was one that broke my heart.
The author did extensive research and told a well written story. Sadly this form of muliputive acts, are still alive today, in the big business of sex trafficking.

Was this review helpful?

This was a fascinating look at part of Donaldina Cameron's mission in life and the people she helped. Heather Moore effortlessly wove historical facts with a fictional story that was intriguing.

Tien Fu Wu stole the show as a secondary character. Her passion and determination were inspiring, as was her growth throughout the book.

This book discussed a lot of touch topics well, including prostitution, racism, abuse, drug use, and slavery. No graphic details were given, which is why I would rate this book as PG-13

Was this review helpful?

Moore delivers a tremendous read about an important part of California, San Francisco, and US history. The fight against slave trafficking of young Asian females during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, I had never heard of Donaldina Cameron. She was one hell of a woman. Decided, determined. Dedicated, and infatiguable she directed the Mission for close to forty years, battle she the sex traffickers, and was mother to numerous refugees. The author provides excellent background information, informative citations, and a good bibliography. This one is is not to be missed.

Was this review helpful?

Moore's story of Donaldina Cameron's work at the Occidental Home for Girls and its many Chinese residents is both dramatic and compelling. It covers a period of national shame--when Chinese immigrants were barred from entering the US, with an exception for Chinese women who were promised to be married to US residents. Fraud was rampant, and large numbers of Chinese women arrived only to realize they had been duped into sexual slavery. Donaldina Cameron came to work at the home for a brief period, but discovered she had a passion for the work of caring for and rescuing the Asian women who had been so exploited, and so worked there for many years. I was skeptical when I first approached this book because it seemed to have the stereotype of the Helpful White Lady all over it. And having finished it, I wonder if the story might have been better focused on the home and its Asian residents, rather than as seen through Cameron's eyes. That said, Cameron, along with her police contacts, many of the residents, and sympathetic San Franciscans of all races, did very important work in caring for and liberating exploited women and children. It would be a great disservice to discount that work--and this book--because of Cameron's race. Cameron is shown to be both compassionate and practical in her service, which may be why she was so successful and beloved. I was particularly drawn to Tien Fu Wu, who began the story as a damaged, troubled teenager, and grew to be one of the home's most valuable rescuers. Her growth within the story was a firm through point that carried the book to its triumphant end, even more so than that of the fictional Mei Lien. Readers should take particular care to read the excellent Author's Note before reading the novel so they can appreciate it in its important social and political contexts. I also very much liked the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter, and the corresponding notes at the end are not to be missed. Recommended for lovers of US history, immigration, and even crime stories. The prose is clear and direct, and definitely appropriate for YA readers as well as adults.

I was provided with a free copy of THE PAPER DAUGHTERS OF CHINATOWN by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

here is so much history in this novel I don’t even know where to begin. The author’s attention to detail, and countless hours of research is evident on each and every page. Yes, it was a hard read at times. But all history isn’t cheery and roses. It is tough. It is hard to swallow. But at the end of the day, it still provides hope, which is exactly what Moore has done here.

Donaldina, “Dolly”, is a character we can all connect with – a girl who wants to help out, thinking she is brave enough to handle it. A girl with a big heart, trying to make a difference. Sound familiar? Yeah, it does to me. As we often find in life, Donaldina found that the work she was doing wasn’t really what she had in mind, and was much harder than she ever thought. But that didn’t stop her. In fact, she found herself doing things she never dreamed of, and that in itself was inspirational.

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown is a poignant story that had me reaching for the tissues. The stories of the things these young woman (and girls) went through absolutely broke my heart. The addition of Mei Lien to the storyline was perfect. She provided a POV that I was nervous about reading, but found myself clinging to every scene. Again, it was hard to read, and I know there were women in much worse circumstances than her. It really makes you think about things, about life.

If you are looking for a historically accurate read that will open your eyes and take your breath away, I highly recommend this book. It is full of emotion, sadness, and darkness. But I find that you can always find a little light in a dark world, and that’s exactly what Moore does. She brings readers hope.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This story brought to life for me a world that I didn't even know existed. While I know that human trafficking is a problem in our world, I didn't know about the paper daughters in San Fransisco. At first, I didn't know if I would be able to handle reading about the subject matter. However, I trusted Heather B Moore to tell the story in a real yet non-graphic way. I learned so much!!! The notes and research are outstanding. These people came to life for me. The last chapter made me cry happy tears to see how far they had come. What an incredible journey. The depth of these characters and this story takes my breath away.

Was this review helpful?

This novel by Heather B Moore captivated me. I was honored to learn about the fearsome and dedicated Donaldina Cameron who helped so many Chinese women who had been sold into slavery or forced into prostitution when they came to the United States. This wonderful fictional story was based on the true events of Donaldina (Dolly) Cameron as she first becomes a teacher at the Occidental Mission Home for Girls in San Francisco, and then served as director for many years.

Under Heather B. Moore's talented writing skills, she brought Dolly's story alive, woven with the heart breaking stories of so many children and women the Home, under her direction, were able to rescue from the Chinese tong.. I cried several times during the reading of this novel! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel!

Spoiler Alert:

Dolly may never have married and had children of her home, but she had many "daughters" she had saved, and the tender stories she has woven about this girls and women really touched me.

Was this review helpful?

This is a story that stays with you long after you've read "The End" and closed the book. That's one reason why Heather B. Moore is one of my favorite authors. She did a lot of heartbreaking research to tell the story of Donaldina Cameron who started working as a sewing teacher (in 1895), and later became the director of the Occidental Mission Home for Girls in San Francisco (from 1900-1934), saving thousands of Chinese girls and young women from prostitution, slavery and abusive situations.

The author weaves the true story of Donaldina's (Dolly) work with the Occidental Mission Home with the fictional story (based on true events) of Mei Lien, one of the "paper daughters" brought from China, who thinks she's coming to America for an arranged marriage to a Chinese man already in the U.S. Soon Mei Lien finds herself being sold to the highest bidder, locked in a room, and addicted to opium.

Once I got into the story and was able to keep the characters straight, I was completely absorbed into the lives of these women. This book brought out so many emotions--fear for Dolly as she went on rescues for the young women who asked for help, and fought the powerful tong; sadness for Mei Lien and the other women as they discovered they'd had been lied to; rage that people (especially other women) could do that to their fellow human beings.

I admire Donaldina Cameron for dedicating her life to these girls and women who had been abused. She not only gave them an education, she taught them life skills, got them to trust again, and loved them as if they were her flesh and blood. They truly were her daughters. Hers is an amazing story and it couldn't have been told by a better author than Heather B. Moore.

I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley and the publisher, Shadow Mountain. All thoughts and opinions expressed in my review are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This story was so good! I didn’t know anything about the paper daughters before reading this, and it was shocking and horrifying to learn about. I found myself putting the book down more than once to find out more about things, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and foot binding. Donaldina Cameron was a saint, and I was continually amazed at her strength and perseverance, even when she was terrified.

I found myself wishing we could have learned more about officer Cook. He was such an integral part of the story, and I wanted to find out more about his background .

This is a book that I recommend to everyone, and I also recommend researching all of the things that you will learn about in this book. Sometimes history is ugly, but it’s still important to learn about it so we don’t repeat that ugliness.

Was this review helpful?

If you are a lover of history or someone like me that is hiding behind a rock, this is a fantastic read! I did not know of the extent of human trafficking that happened in the early 1900’s. This book is the real life events of the “paper daughters” in San Francisco in the early 1900’s. Heather B. Moore has done her do do diligence in researching this subject and the life of Donaldina Cameron. One of the amazing women that helped bring attention, fight, and save so many young Chinese girls, from the depths of despair. This book is based on true historical events with fictional changes for the storyline. It is a raw look into the lives of these girls that were robbed of their youth and lives. There is no offensive language. It is a mild telling of the brutal attacks and the violent assaults of these girls. The mention of undressing and prostitution is also mild, but necessary to the story. I would rate it as PG-13 because the subject. I would recommend it to my teenage daughter and all adults. Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishers, Heather B Moore and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book!

Was this review helpful?

Normally, I would not have picked this book to read, preferring to read something more contemporary and lighthearted. But I have enjoyed this author's writing capabilities and decided to read and review this historical story of a remarkable woman named Donaldina (Dolly) Cameron. Dolly worked tirelessly to save as many Chinese girls and women caught up in the human slave trade in the late 1800s and early 1900s of San Francisco's Chinatown. This author turned a spotlight on the harsh reality of these young women without graphic descriptions of their abuses. Instead, she brings to life those captives with a compassionate (and passionate) story that will move even the most hardhearted person.
While the background setting of this novel is dark, the triumphs of this 1 woman is inspiring and should be an ensign for all Christians to "sow where one is planted".
Kudos Heather B. Moore for a story well told!

Was this review helpful?

Heather B. Moore craftfully wrote the story of the paper daughters of Chinatown. She shares the real life story of Donaldina Cameron in a way that I wanted to keep reading until I finished.

While being a hard story to read because of the very real tragedies that happened in California in the 1900s. The novel brings awareness to the history of sex-trafficking without being overbearing or too much. It brings hope by sharing the success stories of the women who were rescued from the criminal tong.

I would recommend this story to anyone who can handle reading the difficult stories present within. The book is meaningful and shares an importance piece of history.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

I love historical fiction and love reading about topics I don't know as much about. The Paper Daughters of Chinatown was an incredible read. I loved the authors note at the beginning which included some historical context and a little more on the real Donaldina Cameron and why she chose to only write this story based on a few years.

The description from the publisher is: A powerful story based on true events surrounding Donaldina Cameron and other brave women who fought to help Chinese-American women escape discrimination and slavery in the late 19th century in California.

This was a very well written historical fiction. I was drawn into the story and how much Donaldina did to rescue and help the Chinese women sold into slavery and prostitution. I definitely want to read more about Dolly and on this topic.

Was this review helpful?

I only have appraised words for Heather B. Moore’s book. Meeting Donaldina Cameron and her brave work against slavery, abuse against young Chinese girls is been an enlightened experience for me. It’s shame that this horrendous problem is still taking palace in our days even with the hard word that people like Ms. Cameron had done over the years. A great and must read book.

Was this review helpful?

This is a heartwarming historical novel of an amazing woman who braved evil men and women to save the lives of women who were deceived into a life of prostitution and slavery. Humans have been so evil to each other. Thankfully there have been many people like Donaldina Cameron. She risked her own life to save children and young women in San Francisco.

This is a well written account of her work along with other women and men who were a big part in saving so many women’s lives.

Was this review helpful?

This is historical fiction done well. It is the story of someone you've likely never heard of, Donaldina Cameron. In the late 1800's she worked at a home, where Chinese females were rescued from slavery. who began working in San Francisco in 1895 at a mission home that rescued Chinese women and girls from lives of slavery. This is a story and history I knew absolutely nothing about. What I admired was the author's ability to write a story that kept us reading, but she would add facts and information that left me thinking I'd follow up and learn more about this time period. I'm grateful I had the opportunity to review this book, as it's not one I might've initially reached for on the shelf. Definitely recommended. Thank you to NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. #NetGalley #HeatherBMoore #ThePaperDaugthersofChinatown

Was this review helpful?

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown is a compelling account of the plight of young Chinese women who were brought to the states under false pretenses and then trafficked. It recounts the true story of Donaldina Cameron and the many Chinese women who worked to free the girls and help them make their own way. It was heartbreaking, beautiful, triumphant, fantastic! It shows a side of our history that is not often looked at and reveals the many ways each person can make a difference and be a force for good. Seriously, this one took my breath away!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to the author, Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This was a compelling read, all the more so because it opened my eyes to a time, place and history I had been completely unaware of before. The author's meticulously researched account of the life of Donaldina Cameron, and the impact she had on so many young women whose lives had been shattered by human trafficking is fascinating and inspiring. Classified as historical fiction, and based on real life events and persons, the tone is precisely right for the time, and gives an authentic view not only of life in 19th century but also of an amazing woman who fought with determination and perseverance for the rights and dignity of others.

Was this review helpful?

First sentence: Donaldina Cameron leaned her head against the cool glass of the window as the train slowed to a stop, its whistle mimicking the call of a mournful dove—deep and melancholy—a fitting echo of her life over the past few years. With no husband, no employment, and no parents to watch over, she felt as stagnant as a warm pond on a lazy summer day.

Premise/plot: Based on a true story, The Paper Daughters of Chinatown is a must read. I'm not one to throw around the word must lightly or thoughtlessly. Nor am I one to toss around five star ratings. (Especially this year I've tried to be more mindful.) But this has to be one of the best books I've ever read...at least in the "based on a true story" category or sub-genre.

The book opens in 1895 and spans several decades as it follows the ministry of Donaldina Cameron as she serves as a teacher, rescuer, and guardian in San Francisco's Chinatown. She is trained to rescue young girls and young women--Chinese--that have been sold and trafficked. The Presbyterian Mission Home in which she serves faces much opposition. But their work changes lives.

“Rescued?” Dolly had questioned. “Yes,” Mrs. Browne said, lowering her voice, although only the birds and sunshine were within earshot, “from the brothels of Chinatown.” “Women and girls,” Mrs. Browne corrected. “Some of the girls are as young as eight or nine. They’re brought over from China by highbinders, promised a good life and marriage in America, yet the promises are lies. These young girls are sold as domestic slaves or forced into prostitution.”



Why the name Paper Daughters???

“The girls take on new identities in America, and their lives are controlled in every way. They’ve been reduced to what we call paper daughters. Without a home. Without care or love.” “Paper daughters,” Dolly whispered. These girls had become no more than documents with false names; they had given up not only their identities but their dignity.



My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved this one. It is easily one of the best books I've read this year. It is both sobering and inspiring. It is incredibly sad that humanity is so depraved that the selling of little girls is a recorded fact. But it is also incredibly uplifting that there are those willing to give their all to fight, fight, fight these wrongs. Dolly's life story is incredibly inspiring and beautiful. Her crown in heaven must be beautiful.

I know my review doesn't do the book justice. The book goes into incredible detail about the mission home, about the lives of those rescued, about the personal lives of the staff, etc. I just can't regurgitate that in my review. (That wouldn't be doing a service either.) Just know this is a beautifully compelling work.

Was this review helpful?

Truly one of the best books I have read this year, this account of the bravery of Donaldina Cameron and her stand against the brutal tongs of 1895 San Francisco's Chinatown. Girls brought from China that were promised happy marriages and stable homes were instead forced into prostitution and worse. Ms. Cameron's haven, The Occidental Mission for Girls, gave these girls another chance for a good life.

Was this review helpful?

I was so impressed with this book. It was thought provoking, emotional and engaging. I highly recommend it.

Was this review helpful?

I have been a fan of Heather B Moore for several years now. I was excited when I had the chance to read her newest release, The Paper Daughters of Chinatown. I was not disappointed. This one is probably among one of my favorite books I have read by her to date. The historical details were so vivid, I felt like I was transported back in time to late 1800s San Francisco. I was intrigued from to finish. I had no problem having the whole book read in one day. It was that good.
I am giving The Paper Daughters of Chinatown a very well deserved five plus stars. I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy and are fans of historical fiction.
I received The Paper Daughters of Chinatown from the publisher. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore is a fictionalized story about Donaldina "Dolly" Cameron. She was a woman in the late 1800s - early 1900s that fought for the rights of the Chinese women brought into America under false claims and then sold into human slavery. I haven't read or heard much about this topic in American history, and I thought this book was fascinating.

Things I liked: Each chapter has excerpts from actual logs from the mission homes, other testimonies from courts and receipts of sale of the women. I thought this really helped to solidify that this is based on a true story and show to what great lengths each side was willing to go to for the women, to either keep them enslaved or to free them. You could really feel how much Dolly loved the Chinese girls and wanted to keep them safe.

Part of the book is split between Dolly's happenings and a Chinese woman, Mei Lien who was brought to America and immediately sold into prostitution. I found Mei Lien's story more gripping; I would read really fast through Dolly's chapter(s) to get back to Mei Lien's story.

What wasn't my favorite: Dolly's story spans over a decade and I felt like there were parts where month's and years would pass in a couple paragraphs. I understand that there was tons of story to tell in a book, but I just felt like things were rushed at times.

This is a really great book and I definitely recommend it!

Thanks to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the ARC. This review is my own opinion and in no way biased.

Was this review helpful?

I was never a huge fan of history class but give me an immersive novel that puts skin on the people of a place and time period, and I am wholly engaged. In The Paper Daughters of Chinatown, Heather B. Moore sweeps readers to the turn of the twentieth century San Francisco and a little-known and dark part of America’s history.

Donaldina “Dolly” Cameron’s plan to spend a year teaching sewing classes at the Occidental Mission Home becomes a lifetime of sacrifice, heartache, and bravery. Moore brings to life the dangers, risks, fears, friendships forged, and sadness Dolly experienced with the Chinese girls she rescued from slavery from the tong.

Through the fictional character of Mei Lien, readers also get a small (and tasteful) insight into what life for these young girls was like. With no hope of escape from their captors, forced in to drug addiction and prostitution, these girls saw little hope for their future.

I could tell Moore did a load of research for this story and the author held it dear to her heart. I found myself tearing up through several parts of this book but am so, so grateful it was written—not only because it introduced me to a piece of American History I wasn’t at all aware of before but also because human trafficking is still happening. Evil people are still treating other human beings like possessions and slaves. We need more Dollys in this world.

Disclosure statement: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This was a wonderfully written book about a hero in San Francisco who helped so many. This book was very well researched and written. I had no idea that this went on in the US during this time period (late 1800-early 1900’s). It is sickening to see what people will do to hurt each other and equally uplifting to see the strength of people like Donaldina to help so many others. These poor Chinese women were treated as slaves and taken advantage of sexually as well as in other ways. I am so pleased that I received an advance copy of this book. I would highly recommend this to anyone! Wonderful read.

Was this review helpful?

If you enjoyed Before We Were Yours (Wingate), you’ll want to read this book. The Paper Daughter is exhaustively researched historical fiction dealing with human trafficking. In this case it is the Chinese girls who were brought to the US as “paper daughers” of people all ready living in the US. In reality they were being sold in to slavery. When Dolly Cameron comes to the Occidental Mission House, she thinks she is going to be teaching sewing. Instead she spends over 40 years there rescuing girls from the prostitution for which they have been destined. This would be a great book club selection as well as for young adults.

Was this review helpful?

Wow. If there is anyone out there that doesn't believe that books have the power to change you, they should read this book. I finished this book enlightened, in awe and also sad. I feel changed because I now know more. I'm a girl that loves fluffy romances and entertainment but I also love learning about events in time and people who made a difference. Historical fiction is a favorite genre of mine and Heather B. Moore is a master crafter, in my opinion. Her intense research shows as she brings this story to life.

This book is based on Donaldina Cameron who devoted her whole life to saving and caring for the young Chinese girls, stolen and exploited, in San Francisco. Donaldina (Dolly) started out thinking she would give the position at the mission home one year but that year turned into a lifetime. Her heart was so invested in saving girls sold into slavery and prostitution. I am honestly in awe of Dolly and the many people like her, who are so courageous and devoted. It inspires me to be better and do better.

This book isn't light reading. It is full of heart wrenching situations and brutal atrocities to young, innocent girls. I thought the author did a good job of balancing knowledge with details. She kept things tasteful given the subject matter while still allowing me, as a reader to understand and feel the magnitude of the situations.

While difficult, I am so glad I read this book. I can't stop thinking about it. This story is impactful and enlightening. What I know is that we, as human kind, need to take better care of each other and protect the innocent and helpless. Awareness is the first step to change.

Content: abuse in all forms, prostitution is frequently mentioned but no graphic details. Violence.

- I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I didn’t know anything about Donaldina (Dolly) Cameron until reading this book, and I’m so glad I know her story now. The Paper Daughters of Chinatown is the story of Dolly Cameron and her crusade against the slave trade in Chinatown San Francisco in the early 1900’s. “Paper daughters” refers to the young women and girls who were given fake documents to enter America, and therefore had no proof of their true identity.
.
Dolly worked and eventually ran the Occidental Mission Home for Girls (now called the Cameron House) on Sacramento street. She personally went on several missions to rescue girls from brothels and opium dens, earning herself the title “Fahn Quai,” or “White Devil.” I was so impressed by Dolly’s determination to rescue and care for these girls at all costs. She faced many challenges aside from rescuing the girls- enduring plages, earthquakes, fires, and through it all her devotion to the girls was her first priority.
.
Her story is told in novel form. It is very well researched and brings Dolly’s story to life. I loved the combination of a fictional character’s story, Mei Lein, and Dolly’s true life events. This is a timely book, and the message is critical- love, compassion, and equality. Always.

Was this review helpful?

This is a well research and well written book on a hard but very real topic. While it deals with horrible things the book itself does not get graphic. This would be a great book club book because it can lead to a great discussion.

Was this review helpful?

An incredible book! From the very first pages, I dived into the story and didn't want to stop reading. Although the main topic (slavery, abuse, human trade, prostitution) is not an easy one, Heather B. Moore wrote about it with a great sensibility, especially considering the aspect of race and racism in the US at that time. She managed to make the reader travel through time and continents thanks to her careful descriptions of San Francisco and China in the 19th-20th centuries, yet the dialogues make the story come alive. It was an honour to learn about the incredible life of Dolly and other historic characters, and I am glad I was introduced to this topic, place and time that I knew little about - slavery, abuse and prostitution are rarely mentioned in fictions.
Masterfully written - I would definitely recommend this book!

Was this review helpful?

I love history the good the bad and the ugly. It is apart of us. It may not be pretty but it is truly something we can learn from and grow from. This story shows a dark part of history. But it show the light that can come out of the dark.

Donaldina {Dolly} Cameron is the light for these woman and girls who have been victims of Human Trafficing, Prostitution and drug addiction that they have no control of. She in away is their savior from the dark. She helps them over come the unthinkable and find happiness. She is so amazing to sacrifice her own happiness and her life so others may have a better life and be happy. She will let nothing get in her from filling mission of protecting these women and girls.

This subject was a hard subject for me. But I learned to love each character and to share their triumphs with them. But I also mourned and wept with them and was even be a bit frightened for them. It is a book full of so many emotions and one you will not be able to put down.

What a time for Heather B Moore to write such a book. Especially with the big fit of Human Trafficing that is going on. To bring it out of the darkness and educate people more on it. She wrote such a beautifully compelling story!

*it is a very clean book

I was given a copy from Shadow Mountain via NetGalley. These opinions & thoughts are my very own.

Thanks for giving me this opportunity!

Was this review helpful?

I highly recommend reading this book.
Based on a true story with some added friction this is a story you will be thinking about a long time after you finish the book.
With a subject that is hard to visualize it happening Heather has managed to write it in an easy to read style that will not let you put the book down.
I do not want to take away from Donaldina Cameron because by all means she was a great person who unselfishly risked her own life to rescue these girls. I do have a problem that religious and missionaries always feel the need to convert and make it a condition to be helped. These girls had lost everything, their family, their virtue and pride. The one thing that connected them to the past and helps them survive was their memories and believes. This is true of today’s missionaries and was true in the Eighteen and Nineteen Hundreds.
Our heart bleeds for the conditions these girls were kept in but we ignore the fact that some of these conditions still exist and not necessary in third world countries.
Have this book teach us a bit of history and make us more aware of today’s world. Heather Moore did a great job in telling the story.

Was this review helpful?

What an amazing book by Heather B. Moore! This book was wonderfully written and researched. I loved how Heather wrote about such a hard story. It was difficult to read about what these women and children went through but I was inspired by the way Donaldina helped these women get out of a horrible situation. This was a very inspiring book that makes me what to help change the world. I loved how tactfully Heather wrote about the situations the Chinese women were in and how she helped us to see them as victims needing saving. I thought this was a wonderful book and I am glad that Heather chose to write it.

I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I have read several books lately that depict events in history, and even though it is fictionalized, the books are based on enough facts to educate the reader (and me) about tragic events in the past.

We hear a lot in the news today about slavery, racism, and trafficking, but I was not aware of the Chinese women that were sold into prostitution and slavery in San Francisco (and other areas) in the late 1800s in the early 1900s. This book sheds a light on the events of that time and the work of one woman, Donaldina Cameron (Dolly), to rescue as many of those young girls and women as possible.

I was amazed at the amount of research the author did prior to writing this book. She shares that information at the beginning and the end of this book. Make sure to read those, especially at the beginning, because it will set up the story for you and perhaps give you an insight into this book while you are reading the novel.

This story weaves together both hope and tragedy. Not every rescue was a success but Dolly never gave up and continued to fight for these young girls to show them that life could be better for them outside of the brothels and opium dens. It broke my heart that some of these girls were as young as 9 (potentially younger) and in many cases, I do not think their parents knew what was going to happen to them when they sent them to the United States. The sad part is that it was their own countrymen that forced them into this life and sold them over and over again.

There are two storylines that are told, the one of the home and another of a young woman, Mei Lien. The story of the home starts in the late 1800s and Mei's story starts in 1903, however, we find the stories merging several years later. While many of the characters were actual people that were involved in the Occidental Home, Mei Lien is a fictional character. However, her story could easily be one of the many women that came through the home and was probably a combination of many of the women that did come through and were impacted by Dolly and the home.

Dolly was definitely a force to be reckoned with during her time at the home. Her bravery astounded me and gave me hope that there are those out there fighting for those that cannot defend themselves. She put herself in harm's way more than once and must have had angels watching over her as she rushed to extract those in trouble from their situations. She also gave her life to this pursuit and while she never had children, considered all of the Chinese girls her children and they looked fondly upon her as well.

This book could easily have been twice as long and gone into more depth of what Dolly did for the home and her personal life. While we see glimpses of her family, a man she loved, and some of her history, it was not the main focus of the book (nor should it have been). Her life, her calling, was the Occidental Home and she realized that and gave up any sort of life outside of the home because she felt this is where she needed to be. You have to admire those that realize their calling in life and go full force into that life.

This is a wonderful book and we give it 5 paws up. Anyone that is a fan of historical fiction based on actual events will most likely enjoy this book.

Was this review helpful?

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown is a powerful story based on Donaldina Cameron and Mei Lien’s lives. It is easy to care about both women and cheer them on. Dolly (Donaldina) takes a position at a Shelter for Chinese Women and Girls. We learn about her life, her family and how she works her way up to director of 920. Mei Lien is lured from her mother’s home in China to be drugged and forced into prostitution in Chinatown (San Francisco, CA).

Heather B Moore has created a work of historical fiction at the turn of the century (1900) in San Francisco, CA. The subject matter is heartbreaking but it is a story that must be told. Moore is a great writer, alternates the point of view and keeps the story moving with a quick pace. The subject matter, the racism and mistreatment of Chinese Immigrants was handled in a very caring way and I never felt there was a downslide into racism or a “white” savior point of view.

I was riveted and came to care for the characters. San Fransico’s Chinatown was home to criminal organizations called The Tong. Often the masterminds behind brothels and young Chinese women being sold as domestic slaves. I didn’t know about this dark history and it was very moving.

Come for the history. Stay for the amazing women whose stories need to be heard.

Was given an ARC by Netgalley for a fair review.

Was this review helpful?

You know when you read a book and you can hardly put it down? When the story is so compelling that you are drawn completely in. The characters become dear to your heart. The story is intriguing and very inspiring that it compels you to want to find a way to follow in the footsteps of the characters or the theme of the book. Well, that’s what this story was for me. I didn’t want to stop reading it until I was completely finished because I was completely drawn in. I loved the characters. They tugged on my heartstrings. I ached and cried for these characters. For their joys that turned to sorrow. For their hopes that shattered and were destroyed. And yet my hope was rekindled alongside many of these characters as I watched them be rescued and allowed the possibility of healing hope and joy and love in their lives.

Donalinda (Dolly) Cameron’s life didn’t follow the plan that most young women believe will happen. Instead she finds herself in her mid-twenties with a broken engagement. Looking for something that she can do to feel as if she is helping and not a burden, she finds herself joining the Mission home in San Francisco to teach sewing to the young Chinese girls who were rescued from slavery and sex trafficking. As she teaches and gains the trust of the girls, she is able to share her natural gifts of compassion and love with them. I really enjoyed the way the author showed the emotions of Dolly from her beginning days at the Mission home, to going on her first rescue mission, to standing next to a rescued Chinese girl on trial, to not backing down against those who were angry at Dolly for disrupting their source of income.

As we get a few chapters into the story the author introduces us to a fictional character, one who is meant to show us what a Paper Daughter of Chinatown would have experienced from being approached in China to become a bride in America, to arriving in San Francisco, to becoming a slave. Mei Lien is the young Chinese girl who’s fictional story we get to follow. I really enjoyed the alternating stories that were working towards converging together. Mei Lien’s story was a few years in the future compared to Dolly’s story. I loved how the two stories came together.

The rich history of this story was a reflection of the research and dedication of the author in trying to write an amazing woman’s story. And the many others who began the effort that Dolly and many, many others worked and sacrificed so much for. If you read one other book this year, let me urge you to consider it to be this one. It is an inspiring, beautiful, albeit at times heart wrenching, tale of human nature, compassion, sorrow, hope, healing, and love. Immerse yourself in Donalinda Cameron’s life story and discover the good of human nature. I highly recommend this wonderful story for you.

Content: Surprisingly with the story involving the history of human trafficking and prostitution in San Francisco, I would say that it was a clean read. I would recommend for more mature readers because of the nature of the story. The author wrote it in a very sensitive way while still portraying the gravity of these girls’ situations. There are descriptions for when the girls are rescued which show the living conditions of the small rooms many of the girls are kept in and the filth. There really isn’t a lot of description of the prostitution. More just knowing that they are enslaved in those situations. Some of the more high end courtesans are shown in banquets where men come to bid or pay for the women, and they leave the banquet, but nothing further. With Mei Lien’s story it is a fade to black scene. There is also talk of the use of opium which was a big issue in this point in history in San Francisco. Some of the characters are forced to take opium and it shows a little bit of the effects of opium and addiction. There is also talk about some of the Chinese girls being hurt or tortured as young slaves before they are/would be transferred to prostitution. Also some talk about kidnapping and forced marriages. But honestly, even with the above mentioned content, I really felt like this was written in a very clean way. I’m a pretty conservative reader as far as content and was expecting possibly more content due to what the story is about but I felt like it was kept very tame and sensitive.

I received a copy from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishing, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.

Happy Reading!!!

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book. I also liked learning about the brave men and women who saved these women and children.


I also appreciated the fictional Mei Lien . Expect to cry.

Was this review helpful?

Donaldina Cameron was trying to find her place in life after a failed engagement when she arrived in San Francisco at The Occidental Mission Home for Girls. All of her sisters were married and raising their families and Donaldina (Dolly) wanted to know where she fits in. She had agreed to teach sewing for a year at a Presbyterian Mission Home. At first, all Dolly was expected of, was to teach the young girls and woman sewing to give them life skills. She never thought that it would alter the course of her life. In 1895, Donaldina started what would encompass her entire life. She loved her daughters.

This was a part of history that I had never heard of though I am familiar with slavery involving Chinese-Americans I had never heard of Donaldina Cameron’s work. It was very interesting.

I found the first half to be slow, but I liked the alternating story of Mei Lien and showing her life before in Hong Kong, and how she came into prostitution, and how she came to live at The Occidental Mission Home for Girls. I very much connected to her. I was also rooting for Tien and how Dolly showed her patience and compassion, and how it led to the strong friendship between the two. I enjoyed the second half and found it easier to enjoy. It was a tough reading because of the subject but it was well worth my effort.

My gratitude to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Although this book was tough to read in spots because of the cruelty some people forced on others, it was a very informative, insightful look at a very real part of our history. The author did an amazing job of giving the reader both the heartaches and the joys in the lives of the paperback daughters.

Based on the true life of Donaldina Cameron, The Paper Daughters of Chinatown is a must-read for anyone interested in the injustices done to Chinese women at that time or in the history of Chinatown in San Francisco in the late nineteenth century. Reading about the hard life that Mei Lien had to endure woven around the wonderful things that Donaldina did for so many women made this a very compelling story.

Was this review helpful?

I almost didn't read this book. I wasn't sure if I could handle the subject matter and I wasn't a big fan of the cover. I am glad that I relented and read the book. Not reading it would have been a big mistake. I knew going into it that Heather B. Moore was a wonderful author, she wrote this book with compassion and dignity for the women who were victims on]f the Tong.

Donaldina is a new hero of mine. The fortitude and compassion that she showed were nothing short of incredible. She helped save many young Chinese girls and women from deplorable situations. She is an example of rising up and helping. She sacrificed so much for them. She is a true example of a Christian woman.

I can not rave about this book enough. I would suggest that this is a book that should be read by many. It may trigger women who have been sexually or physically abused. This is a book of finding hope in the darkness.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

3.5
The Paper Daughers of Chinatown is an historical novel recounting the life of Donaldina (Dolly) Cameron, a woman born in New Zealand from Scottish descent, and who traveled at a young age to California where she grew up. By her mid-twenties, she is invited to join a mission who rescued Chinese girls who were brought to the United States and sold as slaves or prostitutes in Chinatown. Dolly remained there for almost 40 years and become and advocate for the rights of these girls and to try to end the inhumane trafficking of girls and women by their own people.

I had no idea who Dolly was, neither of the dark history of Chinese immigration to the United States. In this aspect, this book was eye-opening and it does an excellent job in depicting the realities of San Francisco in the early 20th century. Some parts of the story are hard to read, as the author depicts the horrors girls and women suffered after being sold to heartless Chinese men and also other women. They became slaves not only because of the debt they were forced to pay but also because they were drugged with opium and thus became addicts, to prevent their escape.

I believe the author did an excellent research and thus, it is very easy to be transported into that specific time period and learn of what happened, while suffering and feeling impotent at all the atrocities humanity can do to one another. I was truly immersed in the story and definitely this sparked my interest in learning more about the Chinese experience in the United States.

What I didn’t like about this book was that about halfway through the story I felt that it turned repetitive and it stalled, in terms of the narrative and writing style. I flew by through the first half but then –all seemed the same. The book explores life at the mission and how Dolly got more and more involved on her job, leaving her private life aside. Some chapters also focus a bit more on some of the stories of the rescued girls, particularly Tien and Mei Lein, who become close to Dolly and continue supporting its work through their lives. But, at some point I felt the narrative offered just a “formula” and became the same –Dolly going to rescue a girl with the help of the same policemen and one of the girls at the mission; the rescued girl briefly telling her story and trying to cope with trauma; Dolly facing the members of the tong, or Chinese mafia who threatened her until she was legally able to secure the girl, and then all starting again.

Also, even though we get a glimpse of the terrible things the girls go through, I think the book could have been enriched by a deeper picture on how the life in Chinatown was –what drove the mafia to act as they did and how they were able to build such a strong hold in San Francisco. We got bits and pieces but overall I felt it was just presented “good vs bad”. Obviously trafficker are bad people, but what prompt them to act that way with their own people?

Another aspect I did not like very much was the character development, which to me was basically non-existent for Dolly, the main character. We get a bit of background information on her life –her birth, the loss of her mother and a broken engagement, but I felt there was no real exploration of what drove her to commit to helping those girls. Sure, their situation was awful, but, what was in her life that led her to dedicate her existence to saving girls? I didn’t get the impression –at least from this portray- that she was a particularly religious woman or that something in her past drove her to protect others. I felt there was something missing in this aspect. Also, I found the relationship with Charles a bit random and too cheesy. I felt it added not much to the plot –I guess it was there to show that Dolly might have be tempted to leave the mission, as a woman and as a human being which dealt with many terrible things but it was a bit plain.

I appreciated this story in the sense that I learned of a historical period and of a brave woman I had no idea had fought for human rights. In terms of the story as fiction, I think it lacked a bit more depth in the characters and could have drawn more from Chinese culture and its good parts, in the eyes of Tien or Mei Lein, who were Chinese born and carried with them a whole world that was able to survive after they were rescued.

Was this review helpful?

What was I thinking when I picked this up to read ? I had just finished a book about the brutal treatment of women in British and Australian history and the horrific treatment of Aborigines, and I found myself reading another heartbreaking story. This time it was about human trafficking of Chinese women and girls held in slavery and prostitution in San Francisco in the late 1890’s through the early 1900’s. Another horribly shameful page in history that I knew nothing about. These women and girls were illegally brought to the US with false papers, thus the appropriate title, and sometimes force. Sometimes their captors got them addicted to opium to get them to be docile prostitutes, when they came here under the guise of promised marriages. Little girls whose families had been promised a better life for their daughters became indentured servants, sold to vile people, both Chinese and White men. Some were beaten or even tortured, when they were deemed not to be performing. Many of them were fortunate enough to have been found and rescued. In spite of reading back to back tough stories, I’m glad to have read this and glad to have learned about a truly remarkable woman in our history.

The story, sad as it was in part, is inspiring and uplifting, highlighting the life of Donaldina Cameron, a real historic figure who along with other women, put herself in danger to save little girls and young women. Selfless, she went on dangerous rescue missions down alley ways and to “cribs”, where women and girls were held in cages. She fought court battles to get custody at times when the system favored the vile men with money. At the same time these heroes cared for and educated those who had been rescued, keeping them safe, making a home for them, loving them. While this is a fictional depiction, it appears to be meticulously researched and reflects real people and events. Cameron in her time running the Occidental Mission Home for Girls, now known as the Cameron House, is credited with having saved 3,000 young women and girls. There are other notable real women here as well, in particular Tien Fu Wu, herself a victim, a child slave who as she matures, musters the courage to participate in rescues and becomes an integral part of the mission.

This is a difficult story to read at times, with details of abuse and violence. In an alternating narrative, we get to see the day to day life in captivity and the struggles one woman, promised a husband, but forced into prostitution. But it is also a story of courage, selfless caring and hope for those who were saved. A well delivered piece of historical fiction, focusing on Donaldina Cameron, a national treasure whose life deserves to be told and remembered.

I received a copy of this book from Shadow Mountain through NetGalley.

Was this review helpful?

This book is SO AMAZING! I loved every page. An incredible story to begin with but told so well you are drawn in and do not want to put it down until the very end. I learned so much about the time and events I never knew before. I am in awe that these things happened and honor the woman who gave her life rescuing these precious Chinese girls. I am so grateful these words have been recorded. I highly recommend this book.

Was this review helpful?

One of the best adult books I've read this year. Heavily resourced historical fiction which draws the reader into the lives of Donaldina Cameron, a teacher at the mission house at 920 Sacramento Street, and Mei Lien, a young woman who travels from China to the United States under the impression there is a groom and happy life waiting for her in San Fransisco. Unfortunately, she has become a victim of the Chinese slave trade and is destined for a life of prostitution, addiction, and misery. The work of the mission house was to rescue the girls and young women, bring them to safety within their building, and heal their emotional and physical wounds, with the Police always on call to assist in the rescues, as the Chinese Tong had no intention of giving up any “assets”. Plot driven with each chapter beginning with an entry from her diary or a legal statement. In 1895, when Donaldina rode the train from her quiet home into San Francisco, she had no idea of the number of lives she would save, or the love she would have for her Paper Daughters. Highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

What a beautifully written, heartbreaking story that few people know about in history. Hearing the story from the perspective of the workers and of the rescued women presents a well-rounded, informative, and riveting narrative.

The way the author transformed a real-life event into historical fiction was impressive and seamless. The story is very realistic and believable, and it's also fascinating to read about the challenging experiences of the Chinese people in America at the turn of the 20th century.

It's crucial that the stories of these victims are being told, and the impact is tremendous.

Was this review helpful?

Would you be surprised to learn that slavery actually continued well into the 20th century? More than 1,000 young Asian women were illegally brought into the United States, enslaved, and forced to serve in brutal and abusive situations as domestic help and prostitutes. Traffickers would routinely visit poor villages in China and Japan and promise families that their daughters would be married into safe, prosperous families or that their daughters were going to find reliable employment in large, wealthy households. Since immigration laws forbade Chinese and Japanese women to enter the country without a direct family connection, young women were coached to remember false family lineages. Since these young women were not actually daughters or wives they were referred to as "paper daughters." In many cases, girls as young as eight or nine years old were forced into deplorable situations.

Donaldina Cameron was a young woman determined to make a difference. She went to San Francisco to work one year in a mission home serving rescued Chinese girls and women. After a year, she knew that she had found her calling in the mission and went on to work there for the rest of her life. Through her efforts, hundreds of young women were rescued from lives of degradation, abuse, and pain. This inspiring and engaging story would be an excellent choice for high school students and up.

Was this review helpful?

I had never heard of the trafficking of Chinese girls back in the late 1800s. This was such an eye-opening read. Based on true events, the story of Donaldina Cameron and other ladies at the Occidental Mission Home for Girls is amazing. They risk everything to rescue and protect these girls who have been taken from their home to a life of slavery and prostitution. It's just heart-breaking. But the courage and determination of those involved is inspiring. This was an enlightening read and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the history.

Was this review helpful?

A historical fiction based very largely in fact as Donaldina Cameron is a historical figure who fought the slavery of young women in San Francisco. She entrenched herself in the middle of Chinatown in San Francisco and rescued young women from horrible lives and gave them skills in hopes to ensure better futures for each of them.

My favorite thing about reading historical fiction is when I can read about a new time and place and learn things in an interesting way. Before reading this book I knew of human trafficking and knew that it had a long history, but I was so unaware of the amount of Chinese women who came to America with their families believing they were doing the right thing for them and their children and instead they were sending them to a horrible life.

There are so many success stories in this book which helped when reading the horrible rescues and the situations these girls lived in. The fact that there was hope if they could get out of the situations they were placed in then through the mission and Dolly Cameron their lives could go in different directions.

I would love to read more books in this time and place as it felt unique compared to the many World War II books in this genre!

Was this review helpful?

I cannot begin to tell the way The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore affected my heart as I read this story based on the true account of Donaldina Cameron. This book was truly one of the most compelling and beautifully written books I have had the privilege of reading. The care that the author took with researching the characters and their lives and trials was easily seen throughout this well-written story. It was heart-rending, but joyful in a way that can only come with seeing the goodness and strength of people who care more for the lives of helping others than they do for themselves. I knew nothing of the human trafficking that existed in California during this time, so I enjoyed learning more of the history of San Francisco and Chinatown. What amazing people Donaldina Cameron and the many who helped rescue these girls and women were. I definitely recommend this book. It is very inspiring!
I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions are my own and are expressed voluntarily.

Was this review helpful?

As I read the first few pages of the novel I worried that the writing was simple... but this turned out not to be a simple story at all. Reading the shocking tales of Chinese girls forced into slavery and prostitution, I had to remind myself over and over that this is based on true events! At the center of the plot is Dolly Cameron, a selfless missionary whose life’s purpose is to rescue and heal the young traumatized women of Chinatown’s brothels. I read this book in 5 hours, that is how desperate I was to know the whole story!

Was this review helpful?

As a New Zealander, I was once again thrilled to learn of another heroine born amongst us. Although she only lived here for three years, Donaldina Cameron (wisely known as Dolly) was as heroic as Nancy Wake in the second world war. Dolly's war was against the criminal Tong of San Francisco's Chinatown, who effectively imported young Chinese girls to USA, under false pretenses, for use in their brothels for prostitution and slavery.

Dolly ran the Occidental Mission Home for Girls nearby and saved hundreds of these girls from cruel physical, sexual and emotional abuse. These “paper daughters,” so called because fake documents gain them entry to America but leave them without legal identity. The Occidental Mission Home for Girls is their safe haven from the shame and hardship, with Dolly and her staff putting themselves in great personal danger to liberate these girls.

A separate story line that ultimately unites with Dolly’s, is that of Mei Lien, a naïve young woman who was brought to America from China, with the expectation she’d marry. She leaves her mother behind in China, heading for this better life. Instead, she is cruelly kidnapped and forced into sex slavery, quickly becoming addicted to opium.

This is a novel but based on true life meticulously researched, Heather B Moore's book had me riveted from the first chapter. I loved to read of this heroine way ahead of her time in attitudes and actions. The house founded in 1874, still runs in San Francisco. Its mission is to empower generations of Chinese-American individuals and their families to fully participate in and contribute positively toward a healthy society. They put Christian faith into action to help people learn, heal, and thrive.

Thanks to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain for the chance to discover this history.

Was this review helpful?

#netgalley #thepaperdaughtersofchinatown

This book was so heart wrenching good, it was hard to put down. it was terrifying to read the horrors that these young girls went through, it shed light on the horrific history of china town. I'm so glad that there were people that were helping to combat the evil practices that were going on, this is an eye opening historical book for sure!

Was this review helpful?

This book was excellent. I don't even know where to start with praise. Heather B. Moore handled a tough subject with such finesse as to bring the reader into the story and feel the characters' pain, shame, and sorrow without detailing the abusive scenes so even the most circumspect of readers can read without the graphic detail one might expect on the topic of human trafficking. It was one of those books I couldn't put down. I belive she did the real life people she portrayed a great service by telling their story. Donaldina Cameron is one of my new heros for her tireless and dangerous work she did saving the Paper Daughters of Chinatown. I highly recommend this book.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Most definitely, THE PAPER DAUGHTERS OF CHINATOWN is one of the more powerful stories I've read in all of 2020. This book describes the pain and horror that girls in Chinatown experienced during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Unfortunately, these horrors still occur today. It's a hard pill to swallow, knowing that human trafficking has been a blight on society, perhaps since the dawn of time. It's a fight that we will continue to fight, and heroes like Donaldina Cameron will emerge to help fight this terrible fight, and bring peace and safety to women and children all over the world.

I was impressed by the care Heather B. Moore took to tell this story. She did not go into detail about the horrors experienced, rather, focusing on the triumphs, and how even the darkest, most evil things we may face in life—we can still overcome them. It's a story of heroes and most importantly of hope. This is a story that needs to be told, and needs to be read by all. We can make a difference.

Was this review helpful?