The Valley of Amazement – Amy Tan

Fifty Shades of Shanghai. Two generations of feisty, independent (half-)American women in fin de siècle Shanghai. Daughter of American Lucretia and absent Chinese father Lu Shing, Violet grows up in Hidden Jade Path, the First Class Courtesan House run by her mother. A long standing American client turns out to be an unscrupulous con man, and Lulu finds herself on the month-long sea voyage to San Francisco, and Violet sold as a virgin concubine into a rival house.

Author’s webpage: The Valley of Amazement – Amy Tan
New York Times book review: Ladies From Shanghai – Lesley Downer, 08 November 2013