“Absolutely gorgeous—so beautifully done—the book is such a pleasure to hold and a visual delight with the turn of every page.” —Martin Alexander, the Asia Literary Review

“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

“A rich and compelling narrative … From its opening pages, Remembering Shanghai transports you to exotic and dramatic worlds that bear little resemblance to those of contemporary Hong Kong and China. Yet, as Isabel Sun Chao and Claire Chai eloquently demonstrate, 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, author of Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds, Amazon review, January 2019

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

“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

"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 

“I’ve read Remembering Shanghai  twice. The first time was to see if it would be appropriate for the book club I facilitate. We normally read and discuss fiction, and because Remembering Shanghai was so novelistic in its structure, its presentation of place, and its character development that I thought we should risk it. I re-read it a few months later, and I enjoyed it even more the second time. The descendants of this family, in returning to Shanghai to uncover and recover through memory and research, the now obscured past, have found a new appreciation of themselves, their heritage, and their nation.” —Joseph H. O’Mealy, Honolulu, HI

“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

“This insightful memoir provides personal details that [serve] as living history to better understand China today and yesterday.” —Dr. William Zanella, associate professor of Asian history (ret.), Honolulu, HI

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

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

“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

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

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

“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

“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

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

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

“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

“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!

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

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

"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

“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.” —Alpha Zeta, Amazon reviewer

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

“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

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

“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 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

“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

“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

“I am so impressed by Claire’s ability to combine warmth and love for her family history within the context of Chinese history, especially art history. It is fascinating that Princeton’s art collection and her thesis topic brought to light a significant part of her grandfather’s art collection. Claire is such an engaging speaker.” —Mo Chen, following Claire’s 1 June 2018 talk at the Princeton University Art Museum

“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

“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

“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

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

“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

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

“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

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

“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, named as one of its Five Top Summer Reads

““Warmth and a close mother-daughter relationship is evident throughout the book, as well as fascinating ancestor stories. As a daughter, it inspires me to sit down with my own mother and ask her about her story!” —Amazon reviewer

“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

“Paint[s] 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

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

“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

“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

“An outstanding book.” —Larry Quek, Singapore

“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

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

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

“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

“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!” —Amazon reviewer, November 2018

“Beautifully written. Such interesting stories.” —Dara Altadonna, goodreads, February 2019”

“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, December 2018

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

“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

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

Remembering Shanghai is so dramatic it reads like fiction ... providing valuable insights for western readers into Chinese cultural practices.” —Heather A. Diamond, American Aloha: Cultural Tourism and the Negotiation of Tradition

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

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

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

“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

“Beautifully written and illustrated. I plan on sharing it with my friends, especially those who remember this time in China.” —Melanie F., 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

“Wonderful ... a great ride.” —Robert E., San Francisco, CA

“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

“A wonderful book that comes alive as you read it ... A must read for 2018 ... Fantastic!” —Suzanne Angelides, Solihull, UK

“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

“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 (translated from the original Dutch)

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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 (translated from the original Dutch)

“The perfect combination of historical fiction, memoir and novel. Informative yet personal and filled with wonderful descriptions. This is the best kind of historical account—one in which the writers have directly experienced—with just the necessary personal photos to complement the piece. Adding great flavor are the cultural sidebars that present topics such as foot-binding, Chinese letter writing, foreign influences, birth order importance and the art of mahjong to name a few. An extraordinary effort to present a significant piece of Chinese history that also tells a captivating personal tale. —Kimberly Luyckx, readerviews.com, February 2019