Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Paper Wife by Laila Ibrahim

Her sister is getting ready to go to America.  Her parents and a matchmaker have found her a husband that she will meet as they get married.  Mei Ling has accepted the fact that there is no choice in the matter.  They are in bad financial condition and they need less mouths to feed.  But she's very unhappy when her sister gets ill and they send Mei Ling in her place.  She doesn't want to go but she must...

Lake Union Publishing and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

Mei Ling is a "paper" wife.  The man she is marrying has a small boy.  His wife has died.  He can use his wife's passport to get Mei Ling into America.  But she has to memorize all the details his wife had told the customs people.  They don't want Chinese especially, so if you fail to answer the questions the same, you are sent back. What Mei Ling finds is that there are several more "paper" people on board.  Even children.

The marriage ceremony goes well, they spend their honeymoon in Hong Kong, and then they are on their way.  The men are sent to one part of the ship and the women and children to another.  Mei Ling makes a few friends on the way.  One little girl takes care of their little boy and becomes part of the family.  When it's time for them to go through customs, Mei Ling must answer the questions right, be checked out out by a doctor and then wait to see if she's approved.  The facility she's in is more like a prison than anything.  She's also pregnant.  That makes the customs approval a little harder.

My grandparents immigrated from Czechoslovakia.  Grandma had a three year old girl with her and they questioned her a lot, too.  I think that's why these stories appeal to me.

Mei Ling learns things are different in the states and not everyone is a good person.  She's also afraid her husband might leave her over the baby since she's been told it's a girl.  She worries a lot, but all is not lost.

This historical read was very good and very authentic.  I'd highly recommend this one.

1 comment:

Carole said...

thanks - and I love the cover too... Cheers

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