Pearl of China
About the Book
Willow never dreamed that her childhood friend would become a world-renowned writer. In the impoverished Chinese village of Chin-kiang, a young pickpocket meets her match in Pearl Sydenstricker, the daughter of the village’s only white man, a Christian missionary named Absalom. Willow and her Papa befriend Pearl’s family to get a hot meal, but eventually Papa and Absalom become partners in recruiting the villagers to join the church. Meanwhile, Willow and Pearl strike up a friendship that will last a lifetime.
As Willow and Pearl come of age, their lives diverge: Willow is forced to become a concubine, and Pearl leaves Chin-kiang to study in Shanghai and America. When Pearl returns to the village, it is to marry Lossing Buck, an ambitious American agriculturist. As Willow and Pearl struggle with unhappy marriages, political unrest drives them out of Chin-kiang. The women reunite in Nanking, where Pearl begins writing fiction, determined to bring stories of the Chinese people to Western readers. Her talents draw the attention of Hsu Chih-mo, China’s preeminent poet, but the writers’ love affair is cut tragically short.
As Mao and his Communist Party take over the country, Pearl is exiled to America, never to return to her true home of China. And although Willow pays a steep price for her connection to the Western writer, she remains true to her friendship and her values