What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan | Book Review and Summary

What we Were Promised by Lucy Tan - Book Review Feature Image

Do you love your homeland? How does it feel when you leave your homeland for some reason and come back after some years? It isn’t always pleasant. The book “What We Were promised by Lucy Tan” focuses on immigrants who return to the homeland they had left.

Lucy Tan’s What We Were Promised opened in Shanghai in 1988. The Zhen family spent several years in the US, and now when they moved forward in time to Shanghai in 2010, Settling into a luxury hotel in Shanghai Wei, Lina, and their daughter Karen joined an upper-class committee of Chinese born and have returned to completely change the city of China. 

So this book is about the shift, coming back to their homeland and finding that it is very different from the homeland that they had left and had changed. This book not only shows family drama but you will also know more about the city of Shanghai and Chinese culture in this novel.

Let’s find out how this family has confronted the past and moved forward into the future.

What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan | Book Review

Tablet on the table beside pot of flowers.
Source: bornandreadinchicago

About the Author Lucy Tan

Lucy Tan is an American writer born and raised in Livingston, New Jersey, and currently lives in Seattle. She studied BA from New York University and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She was awarded the 2016 August Derleth Prize. What we were promised was her first novel. The book was published by little, brown, & company in 2018.

Book Overview| What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan

“What we were promised” is a contemporary fiction novel published on 10th July 2018. The book was long-listed for the center for fiction first novel prize and named the best book of 2018 by the Washington post refinery 29 and Amazon.

How did Lucy come to write this book? Lucy Tan calls this novel a reverse immigration story because it’s about immigrants who moved back and about reconciling your past and who you once were to who you are now. The story closely follows Lucy’s parents’ movement and their lives because they were born in China, moved to America, and then moved back to China. The story is not based on her parents, but she used their lives to inspire.

Book Summary: What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan 

The story of the novel What we were promised opens in Shanghai in 1988, as a young couple named Lina and Wei Zhen were born in China, but then they moved to America and spent their entire career and have a child Karen. There the story began when they have since moved back to China.

The country has changed a lot when they have been away, and they feel like they’re strangers in their homeland. The novel then moves to Shanghai in 2010 to the luxury hotel, where a hardworking woman named Sunny works as a housekeeper for the Zhen family when they return to China after 15 years in America.

Two events move the rest of the novel forwards. First, Lina realizes that her bracelet has been stolen by one of her two housemaids, sunny or rose. Second, Wei received an unexpected call from his alienate brother Qiang, who decided to see the world expo.

Wei breaks under the shame of not following a noble career and feels emotionally distant from his wife and daughter. Meanwhile, Lina, lonely in her new life of pleasure, assumes the modern moniker Tai Tai, a housewife who does no housework at all. She spends her day by the situation surrounding her arranged marriage to Wei and her remaining feelings for his brother.

Lina and Wei take pain to hide their anxiety, but on the other side Sunny, a hardworking girl with secrets of her bears her struggles. After decades on the loose with a local gang, when Qiang returns to Shanghai, the family must finally come to terms with the past.

Quotes from What we Were Promised by Lucy Tan

My Thoughts on the Book What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan 

The story shows a lot of self-worth in the Zhen family as they struggle to adjust in America and be on the lookout for new territory and help build a new life together. I love how she wove characters in this novel encourages readers to read the novel.

Rating of the Book What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan 

I would happily give What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan 4/5 stars!

Final Words

The book we were promised by Lucy tan depicts Chinese culture and the changes the characters adapt in the story. I would recommend this book to everyone interested in reading fiction novels based on the emotional, love story, and changes that occur in everyone’s life in one way or another.

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