The Valley of Amazement – Amy Tan

Fifty Shades of Shanghai. Two generations of feisty, independent (half-)American women in fin de si├Ęcle 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