Pearl of China by Anchee Min

In the southern town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the nineteenth century, two girls bump heads and become thick as thieves. Willow is the only child of a destitute local family. Pearl, the headstrong daughter of zealous Christian missionaries, will become Pearl S. Buck, Nobel Prize-winning writer and activist. Their friendship will be tested during decades of great tumult, by imprisonment and exile, bloody civil war and Mao’s repressive Communist regime. 

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