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Media Reviews

South China Morning Post, 10 December 2017
“Highly enjoyable … an engaging and entertaining saga.”
—Fionnuala McHugh, South China Morning Post

Asia Sentinel, Mar 2019
“At 88 years, Isabel Sun Chao steers her walker like a go-kart as her daughter and co-author Claire briskly keeps pace on high heels. What is her secret? Isabel confesses an aversion to workouts, avoids walking, loves fatty ham and enjoys home movies in laid-back comfort. The lady brims with vim and ready laughter.”
—Cyril Pereira, Asia Sentinel  

Honolulu Star Advertiser, 6 May 2018
“A multigenerational epic … written to make Chinese traditions easily accessible.”
—John Berger, Honolulu Star Advertiser

Asian Review of Books, Oct 2018
“What stands out isn’t the scandals involving the men, but the strength and independence of Isabel’s mother and grandmother … Isabel and Claire’s stories also shed light into 1950s Hong Kong, particularly the new communities settled by Shanghai immigrants … Few books have discussed this.”
—Susan B. Kason, Asian Review of Books

“Eye-opening … I love women and literature stories. I love mother and daughter stories. I love stories with the setting in China. This book had a triple appeal for me. I enjoyed reading every page.”
Impressions in Ink Book Reviews

China Insight, Oct 2018
“I loved the pictures that gave the reader a visual representation of Shanghai…if you closed your eyes, it would be like you were there. Beautifully written…definitely a keeper.”
Momskoop blog

yoshikoyamaguchi.blogspot.com
“It was a great pleasure and education to read the book … Their writing quality is superb! The book itself has such a high physical quality in its heft, photographs, color-plates, different typefaces, and illustrations.”
—John Shubert, yoshikoyamaguchi.blogspot.com

“A great book about Shanghai … full of beautiful photographs which, with the beautiful writing, goes a long way towards imagining what Shanghai was like at the time.”
—Fleur Huijskens, China 2025 blog

“In this elegantly written, intimate and compelling account spanning turbulent centuries, Remembering Shanghai’s authors, mother and daughter, have brought warmly and vibrantly to life their family’s extraordinary story of lowly origins, high office, austere scholarship, filial loyalty, scandalous betrayal and fabulous wealth. Absolutely gorgeous—the book is a visual delight with the turn of every page.”
—Martin Alexander, Asia Literary Review

Hong Kong Tatler, 25 May 2020
Tatler Reading List: 10 Books about Hong Kong by Hongkongers
“After Jung Chang’s Wild Swans, Remembering Shanghai is a fresh new addition to the thin collection of personal accounts of 20th-century China, and the journey of a Hongkonger retracing her roots.”
—Zabrina Lo, Hong Kong Tatler

Shanghai Daily, Oct 2018
Remembering Shanghai takes readers back half a century, pulling back the curtain on how people in Shanghai lived in a very different era.”
—Lu Feiran, Shanghai Daily

“Sadness, pain, turmoil, love, beauty, and strength, and that is just in the first few chapters … be prepared to cry and feel deeply.”
—Cassandra M.’s Place blog

chrismaden.com
“There are many things that set this book apart. The descriptions of Shanghai in the interwar period are spectacular. Much of the historical research was done by Isabel’s daughter, Claire … Mother and daughter adopt a ping-pong approach, with the main narrative written by Isabel and the family history inserted. This works well—it’s clear that Diedie’s literary gifts stayed in the family.”
—Chris Maden, chrismaden.com

Bookish Asia, Jun 2019
“Is there room on the shelf for yet another [Shanghai] title? Yes, if the book is of sufficient quality and it offers something new. Such is the case with this magnificent book, a feast of winning elements: it’s beautifully illustrated, well researched, written with charm, and the content is absolutely fascinating. The icing on the cake is its warm immediacy, helped by the authors’ sunny dispositions and their storytelling skills.”
—John Grant Ross, Bookish Asia

Fete Chinoise, January 2019
“It has been some time since I have found a book I truly could not put down—Remembering Shanghai is a beautiful narrative peppered with insights, illustrations, and commentary to paint a Shanghai that would otherwise be lost.”
—Jennifer J. Lau, PhD, Fête Chinoise

“What distinguishes this story is the beauty of watching the bond between mother and daughter grow as they discover their often shocking ancestral secrets. The history, the culture, and the voice of this memoir will keep you reading until the very end.”
—Jamie Sumner, Literary Mama blog

Los Angeles Review of Books, December 2018
I recommend purchasing a physical copy: the vibrant illustrations and high-quality paper make this a volume that demands to be held and leafed through, and it will find a natural home on your coffee table.”
—Maura Cunningham, Los Angeles Review of Books

“A beguiling memoir of Shanghai.”
—Chloe Leung, Hong Kong Review of Books

“Unforgettable …The stories of Isabel Sun Chao and her family give us a unique point of view of Old Shanghai, a place that is long gone but still very vivid in the imaginations of a few.”
—Hugues Martin, Shanghailander blog

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society China, 2019
“An unexpected gem. A charmingly written—though sometimes tragic—story of a complex and illustrious family, it fills in details previously absent from English-language histories of Shanghai. A thoughtfully written story, accessibly and touchingly told—represents a valuable addition to the canon of accounts of life in Shanghai.”
—Duncan Hewitt, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society China

“You can hardly put down the book once started … such an engaging and intimate account of a prominent Shanghai family charted over five generations of change and turbulence.” —Cheongsam Connect blog

 

The China Press, Nov 2018
“Of the countless memoirs that describe old Shanghai, Claire Chao’s Remembering Shanghai is unique: The vivid descriptions transport readers to 1930s-40s Shanghai.”
The China Press

“Must read if you are interested in Shanghai.”
shanghai-today.com

“A story that is the stuff of novels …Isabel and Claire’s journey in divining their family history—which is also Shanghai’s history—is a well-told tale that is by turns jaw-dropping, exciting, touching, tragic, and insightful.”
—Tina Kanagaratnam, Historic Shanghai; named one of the Best Books of 2018

“I was transported … from the eyewitness accounts of the jazz era and long-gone bourgeois lifestyle to the wonderful photos of qipao. The historical background is also superbly documented. I highly recommend this book!”
—Didier Pujol, Hong Kong & Shanghai Tours blog

Author Reviews

“The sparkling prose, beautiful photos and illustrations, and enthralling stories will catapult you into the inner life and doings of Shanghai’s cultured classes. Exquisite detail, attention to historical accuracy, and talented storytelling. Remembering Shanghai is not only a book that is good to read, but it is lovely to hold and behold with such a high quality of design and production that I will want to keep and enjoy for a long time. Highly recommended and well worth buying.”
—Helen Zia, Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution

“Absorbing—an amazing family history filled with tragedies and triumphs—a story of resilience and valor told with candor and humor.”
—Nelly Fung, Beneath the Banyan Tree

“I was captivated by the stories from beginning to end, and thoroughly enjoyed it.”
—Dinah Lin, MBA, Daring to Dream Once Again—It’s Never Too Late!

“I enjoyed the details, the history and the delicate way this personal story was written.”
—April Holthaus, Bayou Roots, Legacy of a Louisiana Family

“Creative and engaging—I’ve read lots of memoirs on the period, but this one stands out for its creativity and artistry. The memories and impressions of the period are presented to make them accessible to readers without a deep understanding of Chinese history. You can learn a lot from Remembering Shanghai, but it never feels like work to read it.”
—James Carter, Champions Day

“A front-row-center seat through one of the most turbulent and extraordinary times in Chinese history. Gifted storytelling drenched in insight, wisdom and love.”
—Robin Stephens Rohr, Chicken Soup from the Soul of Hawaii

Remembering Shanghai is so dramatic it reads like fiction … providing valuable insights for western readers into Chinese cultural practices.”
—Heather Diamond, Rabbit in the Moon

“Reading this book during this time of panic and pandemic gave me a wonderful break. Each night after an overload of dreadful news, it was a relief to let this book sweep me away on a journey into an idyllic past … Adding to its delight, the book is lavishly illustrated with lovely portraits, historical scenes, and whimsical drawings that bring the past to life.”
—Dori Jones Yang, When the Red Gates Opened

“A beautiful and rich memoir, with fascinating details and myriad emotions. The design of the book—the illustrations, photographs, postcards, and so much more—help to transport the reader to Shanghai and Hong Kong and makes this volume a treasure to hold.”
—Lisa See, Shanghai Girls

“Mesmerizing … magnificent. I finished Remembering Shanghai in one sitting.”
—Betty Peh-T’i Wei, PhD, Shanghai: Crucible of Modern China

“A rich and compelling narrative … transports you to exotic and dramatic worlds. Yet touch the surface of an artifact or examine an anecdote, and there is so much more to discover via the turbulent past. This elegant family memoir transforms, transfixes, and educates.”
—Pamela Rotner Sakamoto, Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds

“Engaging characters, richly detailed descriptions, and exquisite illustrations … We mourn what might have been yet savor what Isabel and Claire have restored via memory and meticulous research. Long after reading their book, you’ll fondly remember Shanghai.”
—Debra Lee Baldwin, photojournalist and author, Escondido, CA

Reader Reviews

“I truly enjoyed reading Remembering Shanghai. It evoked Shanghai so vividly I felt I was there … and it brought tears and laughter to me for over a week.”
—Nicholas von Sternberg, cinematographer, Valencia, CA

“I couldn’t put it down, as I was drawn into the vivid descriptions of life in Shanghai. This book is a treasure.”
—Robert Adler, Rye Brook, NY

Remembering Shanghai is the most interesting and well written book I have read in recent years … Isabel will always remain my idol!”
—Julie C., Hong Kong

Remembering Shanghai is a memoir that reads like an epic novel and a poem at the same time. I was utterly hooked from the first line until the very last page … An astonishing story, the kind that stirs deeply and stays with you.”
—Sally Nhomi, Honolulu, HI

“Brilliant work to chronicle a mother’s life and share with the world an aspect of Chinese history. Talented piece supported by intelligent research. Definitely a ‘must read’ for the culturally curious.”
—‘English reader fanatic’, Amazon reviewer

“A masterpiece—a fascinating part of history, but also a fascinating family progression—truly epic.”
—Karen Thorne, New York, NY

“Such a vivid memoir with many well-drawn characters. An excellent format, weaving Isabel’s vivid descriptions and affectionate memories of life in Shanghai, alternating with daughter Claire’s background history and context. Beautiful illustrations and photographs really captured the age and added another layer of enjoyment as I read and re-read Isabel’s memoir.”
—Bee Robb, London

“Beautifully written memoir … As a non-Chinese and having never visited Shanghai, I appreciated the beautifully illustrated notes about the meanings of certain artifacts and customs throughout the book. As a daughter, it inspires me to sit down with my own mother and ask her about her story!”
—Kindle Customer, Amazon reviewer

“Beautifully written. Such interesting stories.”
—Dara Altadonna, Goodreads reviewer

“I thoroughly enjoyed every minute, especially the tidbits about old Shanghai … invaluable to the younger generation such as myself, and without which we’d lose a precious connection to our past.”
—Kenneth Y., Shanghai

“What a fabulous book! I love everything about it—the lively anecdotes, the evocative illustrations, and the brilliant way in which Isabel’s personal memories, Claire’s perspective, and rich historical and cultural information are blended. A wonderful read!”
—Carmen Chan, Tokyo

“Loved everything about this book! Fast-paced, exciting story, beautiful illustrations … even little cultural explanations after each chapter. It should be required reading for anyone looking for a great memoir about China.”
—Ai-ling, Amazon reviewer

Remembering Shanghai is a magical passport into a place and a life that was and is extraordinary. I don’t remember ever being so engaged by a personal history, so rich in detail on so many levels.”
—Linda Mettler, San Francisco, CA

“A fascinating story of how a family endures hardship, betrayal and separation…it left me with hope and excitement for future generations.”
—Cindy Schultz, Honolulu, HI

“Claire Chao writes with great accuracy and with vivid images of Shanghai. Her mom, Isabel Sun Chao created a historical base for a legendary family story rich with anecdotes.”
—David Au, Hong Kong

“An entertaining and informative version of ancient to modern China—a gem!”
—Jean-Luc B., Hong Kong

“This multi-layered story tells of an ancient past that we westerners can barely grasp; it carries us along as a visionary delight in word, picture, and the book’s layout which is truly a delight for the eyes, mind, and heart.”
—Hamil Jinal, Amazon reviewer

“I loved this book—an elegant companion to Gone with the Wind—a similar story at a different time and in a different place, but told with the same elegance and sensitivity at a very relevant time.”
—Tom Comerford, Peterborough, Canada

“So many touching stories … The family misery due to the unfortunate political turbulence in China brings up a pair of tearful eyes, yet the humanity demonstrated throughout the entire book gives readers hope with mankind.”
—Christie, Goodreads reviewer

“A Must RE-Read! This wonderful, wondrous book deserves a second read! There is poetry inherent in the flow of images, characters and tales in this beautifully written memoir.”
—Honolulu Gal, Barnes & Noble reviewer

“Elegant and wise. I loved every word of this fascinating family memoir. We usually see only drastic descriptions of suffering and tragedies of that era in China—and yes … those are stories that must be told. But this book is about a lucky escape, about the beauty and enjoyment of life, written with elegance and a great deal of humor. What I liked most about this book was the sense of continuity, the feeling that history has a way to come alive in unexpected ways in the future, and that despite human viciousness and evils of this world, some things will never die or be forgotten.”
—b2992, Amazon reviewer

“I loved it … very moving.”
—Diane T. Woo, New York, NY

“Claire and Isabel took me back together in their journey and it’s amazing! … Wonderful narratives so vividly written. The fact that mother and daughter co-wrote this is so touching and heartwarming.”
—Vanessa Hui, Hong Kong

“A remarkable true story that will be savored by any reader. … Like an exquisite silk fabric, the expertly crafted anecdotes, memories, illustrations, and photos are lovingly stitched together to bring this memoir to life.”
—Carol Braig, Longmont, CO

“A deeply personal and historical family saga … Isabel’s vivid re-telling of life as she lived it in Shanghai was fascinating and engaging, making the read warmly personal. The unexpected return of her father’s favorite artwork from the ruins of the Cultural Revolution was very touching, and Claire’s uncanny connection to her grandfather was simply incredible.”
—Mei Kwong Franklin, Hong Kong

“I just love this book. The intimate details drawn within the historical context of Shanghai at a crucial time for China made for a book I couldn’t put down.”
—Sarah Puhy, Westport, CT

“Ms Chao tells a powerful story that should encourage others to persevere. Mom and daughter narrative that came from their hearts without the bitterness one could expect.”
—vsmith, Amazon reviewer

“I re-scheduled work appointments because I was so captivated by this book. I could visualize, smell, and hear what the authors described so eloquently and passionately. I fell in love with Isabel as the unsung heroine—courage and strength that only now as an adult I can appreciate.”
—Ray Janssen, Miami, FL

“Engaging and enthralling. Following the lives of the Sun family through ancestral good fortune and misfortune was an insight into how we all face adversity. It’s been a very long time since I’ve enjoyed an author this much.”
—Joyce Baker, Amazon reviewer

“Terrific mother daughter memoir. Leaves the reader feeling that if one spoke the language you would be thrilled to go to their home—and covet the invitation! An amazing family of such intellect, appreciation of beauty, and perseverance. Loved every word.”
—GWTW, Goodreads reviewer

“Unique. Beautiful. Informative. Sad. Truth is always stranger than fiction, and this book proves that.”
—Michelle Rahal, Goodreads reviewer

“In a word—‘exquisite’: a masterpiece of literary and aesthetic craftsmanship; a memoir told in words and pictures, cadenced with Chinese culture and history lessons that give Remembering Shanghai its alluring momentum and playful rhythm. Best of all, this book inspires readers to appreciate their own ancestry as well as their own life journey with all its ups and downs, twists and turns.”
—Irene Chung, Hong Kong

“What a remarkable, wonderful and beautiful book. Wow.”
—Jamie O’Donnell, Hong Kong

“I absolutely loved this book…it is beautifully written.”
—Ann B., Mosman, Australia

“Extraordinarily well-written … I want to get more copies to give to those who want to know more about the history of Old Shanghai.”
—S.M.G., Hong Kong

“I like how I feel as though I am in Old Shanghai when hearing about Isabel’s life as a child. Overall, the tale is told in an enchanting way, with two clear voices, Isabel’s and Claire’s.”
—Ccdemaio, Goodreads reviewer

“This book captures the atmosphere and rich life of Shanghai more than any other I have read.”
—Patrick Corcoran, Saugerties, NY

“Fascinating. The mother’s extraordinary life coupled with the daughter’s talent for writing makes for riveting reading. So much history that was new to me added to the enjoyment. I read each night until my eyelids dropped.”
—M. L. M., Honolulu, HI

“The book came alive for me. Certain scenes kept running in my head long after reading the book. What a truly incredible journey. I loved the revisit of Shanghai and understanding the heyday of those times and not just the hardships. I was so immersed in the book that I felt the pain and heartache.”
—Swee-ngor Killmann, Bispingen, Germany

“I am amazed at how nice the graphics (photos, design, paintings) are in this book. The story is well-written and fascinating.”
—Jojo, Amazon review

“This book is more touching than I could ever be able to describe in words. I am breaking into frequent tears of joy and jealousy; I want to have grown up in her family. The love, patience and joy they brought each other is wonderful to experience, even if vicariously.”
—Steph Fuccio, Instagram reviewer

“I will admit that when I first started this book, I was slightly skeptical. There are millions of Chinese families that lived through the Cultural Revolution (including my own grandparents and parents), and everyone thinks they have an interesting story to tell. I didn’t expect their stories to be interesting or outside the norm of what so many families lived through. But Isabel and Claire proved me wrong over and over again, each of their stories was more remarkable than the last.”
—Dianna Bruno, Amazon reviewer

“I’m not much into history, but the author wove her family’s history and the events happening in China in such an entertaining way, that I was hooked. The photos made the stories come alive and the stunning prints made a beautiful backdrop.”
—Betty, Amazon reviewer

“This is such a great read—an amazing and inspirational book on many levels—luxuriously colorful and detailed descriptions that made me swoon and laugh out loud, offering important insights that would otherwise be lost. … An enriching and gorgeous, tragic, victorious story that nourished my heart and my brain.”
—Bernice Kiyo Glenn, Lanikai, HI

“I finished Remembering Shanghai with tears in my eyes … Mother and daughter share a gift for storytelling that captivates and brings to life the rich history, culture, food, and everyday life of a time and place that most of us have little opportunity to learn about. They’ve created a treasure—a family history that is a gift to all.”
—Beth C., Brooklyn, NY

“Although it’s called a memoir, this book is also a work of art and a fascinating bit of history … a wonderful and highly unusual book, a valuable addition to the personal library of anyone who is interested in the history and customs of China.”
—Richard C. Reynolds, Amazon reviewer

“Paints a portrait of life in Shanghai in the 1930s for a privileged class. I’m thankful that they took the time to share Isabel’s story, and for the painstaking research. Looking forward to the televised treatment!”
—Peter Y., Stanford, CA

“The striking exterior of this book lured me in. Leafing through the pages, I was delighted by the exquisite drawings and curious about the people in the photos.”
—Lori Eldridge, Honolulu, HI

“From the minute I picked up this book, I couldn’t put it down. I felt as if I had been transported to the streets of Shanghai, and I was on Claire’s journey with her. An absolute must for anyone who is interested in the bygone era of Shanghai and all things Cathay—as well as those who aren’t.”
—Emma Hensby, Amazon reviewer

“A terrific book—the Sun family’s story seems like the stuff of fantasy and yet there it is, real, researched, documented, and told so well. I was amazed how everything tied together, culminating in the heartwarming gift of a grubby package. An incredible story!”
—Susan Essoyan, Honolulu, HI

“I love women and literature stories. I love mother and daughter stories. I love stories with the setting in China. This book had a triple appeal for me… I enjoyed reading every page.”
—Annette, Goodreads reviewer

“East meets West, communism and capitalism, clans and class distinctions, betrayals and heartbreak are all here. The beauty of China’s cultural arts historically shows that there is joy in respecting one’s family traditions… Truly a remarkable family memoir. I could not stop reading. Highly recommend.”
—Evelyn in Hawaii, Amazon reviewer

“I simply loved this from the first to the last. An intimate family memoir spanning five generations against the great sweep of Chinese history. Family relationships, art, culture, gangsters, wealth: it has it all. A wonderful read.”
—Gina, Goodreads reviewer

“An absorbing true tale of Old Shanghai, beautifully written and illustrated.”
—Genevieve Young, book editor, New York, NY

“This is the best book I’ve read in years! The writing is exquisite. The illustrations and photos bring the story to life. It will touch anyone who has wished to understand the lives of their ancestors.”
—Kathy Jimenez, Norwalk, CT

“A tapestry of sheer delight … a narrative that’s enjoyable, enlightening and compelling.”
—Shirley Chen, Hong Kong

“Cover to cover, I could not put down this beautifully illustrated gripping account of the Sun family’s evolution from accidental wealth and privilege through the cruelty of Mao to the modern generation.”
—Barbara Stehouwer, Honolulu, HI

“An incredible 200-year journey that is much more than a memoir—a beautifully detailed recounting of the lives and places we need to hear about in order to better understand ourselves, and help untangle the complex strands of Chinese history and culture.”
—Susan Paolini, New York, NY

Remembering Shanghai transports one almost magically through the unforgettable events of Chinese twentieth-century history. Isabel and Claire capture the voices, the moods, and the motivations of their family members … The resulting beautiful book rings so true that one can hear them speak. Close your eyes, and you’re in old Shanghai.”
—Diane Hastert, Honolulu, HI

“This is a truly beautiful book with a mysterious, exciting story about family, ancestors, customs, culture. There are some very sad moments and some frightening times that surprise and disturb. But overall there are beautiful times, happy memories and you will be glad that you chose this book as it will leave you intrigued, curious and wiser about culture in Shanghai. A rare jewel.”
—Amy, Amazon reviewer

“What a great read this is! The authors have a great story to tell—and are terrific storytellers … Oh, but you can’t make up these characters! The traitorous sons and their breathtaking double-cross, the gentle, Confucian scholar and the socialite mother, and the waves upon waves of history that consume them, even as they’re foxtrotting at the dance halls. The story stands out, too, for its unflinching look at post-revolution Shanghai, and what happened to the families who were divided; and—rare in the old Shanghai memoir genre—is a story by and about Shanghainese.”
—Tina M., Goodreads reviewer

“Isabel’s family epitomizes a type of upper-class … family of Old Shanghai, and the theme of the family’s decline mirrors that of the old city—and that for me was the most interesting part of the book. A thrilling mix of parties, musical soirees, romantic affairs, uncles squandering the family fortunes, gangsters, kidnapping—across a couple of centuries, the Sun family had them all … I enjoyed reading it very much.”
—Laura Longrigg, Literary Agent, MBA Literary Agents

“I particularly appreciated the two distinct voices … each independent, yet they strengthen each other. I enjoyed the family saga via the lens of an innocent girl so much that I almost forgot the wartime setting, challenging my usual perception of historical unrest. I cherished the forgiving tone throughout the book, as well as the lovely illustrations and reader-friendly chapter breaks. Admirable work indeed!”
—Nianci Li, Shanghai

“Positively riveting—a real gem!”
—D.L., Hong Kong

“…an engaging generational story that draws the reader into the lives of this amazing family and focuses on the consequences of an era that still affects society.”
—Sharon Fairbanks, Honolulu, HI

“This is a very evocative memoir with pride of place in my library. Isabel’s stories of her youth, family, school and home, bring to life layers of history in pre-war Shanghai.”
—Ann Cody White, Hong Kong

“Beautiful … touching … like a dear friend who I wanted to keep talking to about our lives.”
—Frances Hallonquist, Honolulu, HI

“Eminently readable mother and daughter autobiography that pulled me in from the beginning. It’s warm, engaging and intimate story of five generations—love, betrayal and unexpected discoveries!”
—Rory Hayden, New York, NY

“Beautifully written, historically educational, and a fascinating story.”
—Laura W., Honolulu, HI

“A gem of a book. It’s not often you come across a book completely by accident and stumble upon a wonderfully memorable read. This is one of those books. The beautiful storytelling is a vivid enough description of old Shanghai, but the old photos and hand paintings really add another dimension and help the reader visualize the settings and the era.”
—B, Amazon reviewer

Remembering Shanghai is a total delight … far more than the adventures of one family. It is truly both a work of art and a work of love. It is educational as well as enjoyable. But it is education made effortless. I recommend this book highly . . . particularly to bright and curious folks who love a good story.”
—Margie Smith, Honolulu

Remembering Shanghai is masterful, intriguing, and delightful—a labor of love.”
—Priscilla G., Honolulu, HI

Remembering Shanghai felt like a visiting friend and companion whom I was sad to say bye at the end of the book. Heartfelt and engaging, it is a wonderful read.”
—Debbie C., Mountain View, CA

Remembering Shanghai had me totally hooked and fascinated … this beautifully written memoir will touch many.”
—Jackie Hui, Hong Kong

“This family story is one for the ages, with unexpected twists and turns—a treasure and a labor of love. Fate had a hand in this drama being told. I want to read it again!”
—J. B., Honolulu, HI

“Isabel is one of those women who to me are the unsung heroes of today, someone I’d love to sit down have a chat with over a glass of wine.”
—J. Paton, Amazon reviewer

“If you read one book about China, make it this one. It gives you a bit of everything in a compelling, easy-to-read package—history, culture, traditional family dynamics, food, fashion … woven into the stories of an amazing family.”
—Saverio, Amazon reviewer

“Extraordinary in every way. The family story is fascinating, well organized and colorful—a great legacy.”
—Adam Inselbuch, Litchfield, CT

“Through the story of this family you live through beauty, imperfection, more beauty, the evil of Mao’s revolution … and finally victory through carrying on constructively and discovering/re-discovering filial ties that bind. A profound and beautiful book.”
—Jeff Jentgen, Amazon reviewer

“A terrific story and a book that every genealogist would aspire to write.”
—John Ellis, Goodreads reviewer

“Beautiful family memoir. Loved the visual elements. Loved Isabel’s bittersweet account of being raised in ’30s-’40s Shanghai with rich detail and then the mother-daughter return to Isabel’s Shanghai home in more recent years. A wonderful gift to her descendants and to any reader.”
—Pansy, Amazon reviewer

“An absolute must read! This is so special it is hard to describe. It is more like a scrapbook or a weekend spent with dear friends as they tell you what they remember and have discovered about their family and their past. I have never read anything so intimate and loving. One of a kind!”
—Carol, Goodreads reviewer

“A delight from cover to cover, I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the story of this very intriguing family. I truly did not want this book to end!”
—Kathy C., Sarasota, FL

“This absorbing tale is more than a memoir. Author Claire Chao deftly weaves insights into Chinese culture throughout this exquisitely crafted book … as colorful and detailed as the richly textured embroidery, which borders its pages.”
—SMS, Amazon reviewer

“Absolutely spellbinding—a chronicle of tragedy and hardship, leavened with a persistent optimism and endurance. It is a triumph of the human spirit, conveyed compellingly.”
—Bill Clark, Marblehead, MA

“The embodiment of family, strength, love and scandal … The book reads beautifully, evoking vibrant visuals in my head of a time gone by … an exploration into generations of family history that truly embodies the notion that often, truth is more unbelievable than fiction, but it is real, raw … an alluring book, difficult to put down, and I know I’ll read it again and again in the years to come.”
—Anita L., Amazon reviewer

“The most readable book on China I’ve ever come across—fascinating, illuminating, and written in a Western voice. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.”
—Old China Hand, Amazon reviewer

“If I had to pick a family solely on the level of interest they’d generate if I ever wrote a memoir, the Sun family with their colorful past and array of interesting characters would certainly be high up on my list.”
—Kenzee, Goodreads reviewer

“Historically interesting and very engaging. At the top of my list of favorite memoirs.”
—Dale M. Kramer, Goodreads reviewer

“This was the most unusual book I’ve read in regards to the wonderful drawings and illustrations throughout the book. I wish more authors would do this. It adds so much character and flavor to the story and allowed me to really picture in my mind where the characters were. What a fantastic story of courage, love, and ultimately acceptance of where you land in life.”
—Jayne Hayes, web reviewer