Lalu Nathoy’s father calls his thirteen-year-old daughter his treasure, his “thousand pieces of gold,” yet when famine strikes northern China in 1871, he is forced to sell her. Polly, as Lalu is later called, is sold to a brothel, sold again to a slave merchant bound for America, auctioned to a saloon keeper, and offered as a prize in a poker game. Complete with photographs and documents, this biographical novel is the extraordinary story of a legendary pioneer’s fight for independence and dignity on the American frontier.
“A story of struggle and survival as a woman-and slave-in China and the American West . . . Fast-paced and entertaining-packed with adventure, drama, and inspiration.” —Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, San Francisco Chronicle
“From Shanghai to San Francisco, Lalu Nathoy's courageous journey is an important contribution to the history of pioneer women.” —Ms. Magazine
“This biographical novel has plenty of suspense and a strong story line. Reading it is a liberal education in one phase of pioneer life in the West.” —Lucille McDonald, Seattle Times
“A valuable book that gives Chinese Americans another true heroine.” —Maxine Hong Kingston
“Ruthanne Lum McCunn has woven an enthralling work of fiction from the true-life story of Lalu Nathoy.” —Elena Brunet, Los Angeles Times