Pearl of China, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


In the small southern town of Chin-kiang, two young girls from very different worlds collide and become inseparable companions.

Willow is hardened by poverty and fearful for her future; Pearl is the daughter of a Christian missionary who desperately wishes she was Chinese too.

Neither could have foreseen the transformation of the little American girl embarrassed by her blonde hair into the Nobel Prize-winning writer and one of China's modern heroines, Pearl S.

Buck. When the country erupts in civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists, Pearl and Willow are brutally reminded of their differences.

Pearl's family is forced to flee the country and Willow is punished for her loyalty to her 'cultural imperialist' friend. And yet, in the face of everything that threatens to tear them apart, the paths of these two women remain intimately entwined.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical fiction
  • ISBN: 9781408809792



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Born of missionary parents, raised in China during the early years of the 20th century, author Pearl Buck is the Pearl of China in Anchee Min’s semi-biographical story. As seen through the eyes of Willow, her childhood friend, we learn how this blonde American comes to see herself as “totally Chinese under the skin”.I found Pearl of China to be very informative and I was drawn into the story right from the start. Although her focus was on Pearl Buck, Willow led an interesting and varied life that kept the story flowing. I did find the book to be a little slow in the middle, but as there was so much true history to relate, it was understandable that the plot suffered in comparison. The end of the book touched me and I felt that we had come full circle in this friendship between these two remarkable women.Although Willow was a fictional character and was composed of several different people that influenced Pearl Buck’s life, I found the author created a character that rang true which I am sure was difficult as Willow was used to show how the political climate in China changed every few years.If you are looking for a true biography of Pearl Buck, this probably isn’t the book you want, but if you are interested in an emotional and moving look at the turmoil and strife that created modern China than this is a book that I would recommend.

Review by

Interesting, but the prose seemed flat to me.

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