- Paper Wife by Laila Ibrahim
- Page Count: 293 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
- Pub Date: October 30, 2018
What I Loved: Paper Wife was a story filled with so much determination and pure resolve to make things work and I loved that! Mei Ling continues, time after time, to make choices that will take care of her, and her family. It was so amazing to watch her journey.
How I Felt: I was intrigued by a story of early immigrants to the United States and I loved that it was an arranged marriage. I had never heard of a paper family before this book, so I definitely learned something new! Mei Ling becomes a paper wife, leaving China and traveling to the US with her husband and step-son. I was fascinated by her journey, the customs she left behind, and the new laws and rules surround immigration to America. Once she was on US soil, she still had mountains of problems to overcome and her journey had me completely spell-bound.
To Read or Not To Read: If you enjoy Historical Fiction, this is a great book for you! Reminding me a bit of Memoirs of a Geisha, while this is absolutely a different story, the history and culture of Paper Wife reminded me of this previous book I had read.
Mei Ling is the second daughter in the family. Days before her sister is to be married to a widower, she falls ill and Mei Ling is placed into the arranged marriage in her sister’s place. Mei Ling is a dutiful daughter and intends to honor her family and make this marriage work. She packs her things and heads to the church to meet her new husband.
Married life starts out completely different than she expected. She is immediately a mother to a young son from her husband’s previous marriage and living in different conditions than she imagined. She must pretend to be her husband’s previous wife to gain entrance to the United States.
As they board the ship to embark on their journey, she is separated from her new husband and left with the two year old boy she barely knows. She rarely sees her husband the entire journey, but makes new friends and learns a lot about what to expect as she sets foot on American soil.
Can she remember all the details necessary to fake who she really is? Once in the United States, circumstances will continue to change for her, giving us a wonderful story with a quick pace.
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