In Shanghai Girls the reader follows two sisters, Pearl and May as they travel from Shanghai to the US as young women. Lisa See vividly describes life in pre-World War II Shanghai and takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the Japanese invasion of China and its aftermath. Even after leaving China, the sisters face many hardships in the United States. Pearl and May are detained on Angel's Island for months undergoing untold suffering. They finally meet their "arranged spouses', but life for the sisters has many more trials in store, and a secret shared between them threatens their future. The novel spans several decades and does end on a bit of a cliff hanger. . . On a personal note, I wasn't sure that I liked the characters although I most certainly empathized deeply with them. I greatly appreciated the author's writing and found myself learning about a time and place in history that I did not know much about. Also, I have not read Lisa See's prior novels so I don't have anything to compare, but I think this is a departure from her previous works.