I have read and loved Lisa See's novels Snowflower and the Secret Fan (my review) and Peony in Love (my review), so I was really looking forward to Shanghai Girls. This is the story begins in the 1930s with two sisters, Pearl and May, whose perfect life in Shanghai takes and abrupt turn when their father announces that he's gambled away all their money. He has arranged marriages for them with Chinese-American brothers; and although initially they refuse to go to America with their husbands, they eventually must escape when the Japanese attack.
The first one-half to three-fourths of the book was fantastic. I was totally wrapped up in the story and the characters. It was the kind of book that I couldn't wait to pick up and read in the evening. But the last quarter completely lost me. This was a rather odd experience for me. I started out absolutely loving the book and ended up feeling a little empty and annoyed. It was all so rushed at the end, and yet it dragged on and on. I felt myself saying, "Oh, come ON!" in my head a lot.
There was a climatic scene between the sisters nearly at the end that was completely forced and unbelievable. There was no closure. I could think of a dozen places where the book could have ended acceptably, but this ending was the worst possible. The reader is left dangling, feeling certain that there must be a sequel coming up. But honestly, I'm not sure I would read the sequel. By the end of the book, I didn't care about any of the characters anymore.