The Mirror of Karma and The 4 Sisters

The Mirror of Karma and The 4 Sisters

by Alicia Hou

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The Mirror of Karma and The 4 Sisters
by Alicia Hou Visit the author's site at
When the Communists took over China and the strict implementation of the one-child policy was put to practice, the Chinese were greatly affected. Some of them were forced to commit abortion, abandon their daughters (because most of them prefer sons), and flee to other countries, where they were guaranteed with safety and a normal way of life.

Lotus Kingsbury, a Chinese woman, is married to Jim Kingsbury, a Caucasian. They live in Los Angeles together with their daughter, Mimi, and Lotus’s daughter from her first marriage, Gi-Gi. For twenty years, Lotus kept her secret that she, in fact, has three more children from her previous marriage with T. X. Chen.

Lotus’s secret has been revealed when Gi-Gi consults a fortuneteller. Gi-Gi meets her other siblings, but conflicts occur among them and their mother. With the help of the fortuneteller and the Chinese belief of karma, all the family members get through the turmoil of life.

Chinese tradition, customs, and beliefs—karma, virginity, reincarnation, etc. may be peculiar to some nationalities, but to them, they are unique, lifesavers, and lessons that should be taught in general.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781434958907
Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc.
Publication date: 12/08/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 248
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

About the Author
Born in China, Alicia Hou presently resides in Los Angeles, California and works for an insurance firm. Her grandmother, her Chinese upbringing, and her experiences inspired her to write this book, which focuses on the power of karma, family, and friendship. Aside from English, she is also fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and Spanish.

Per the author’s point of view, causing many new born girls missing in China is not the government’s fault; it is the consequence of the cruel son-preference culture. Very soon, 25% or more Chinese single male will face difficulties of finding a wife. The author hopes the Chinese parents learn to treasure their daughters from now.

(2010, paperback, 248 pages

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The Mirror of Karma and The 4 Sisters 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Steve_in_China More than 1 year ago
The story is amazing and shocking. It totally blowed me out even though I have not finished reading it. It has a central point inside and we are valuing, verifying and testing this point all the time, on every character. Thus those vivid characters are brought to reader's faces, making the story look like a real world, like a documentary. Mom is the one I have more concerns. I always wanted to know why Chinese women can live or smile after give away or dump their child. I cannot image what I'll do if I am the Mom. Keep reading...
The_Publishing_Guru More than 1 year ago
Alicia Hou's The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters is highly entertaining; yet touching with its family drama that has two sisters pitted against each other as mortal enemies. Throughout the story, the girls' late grandmother lovingly provides moral lessons to her grandchildren, even long after her death. This drama is full of twists and turns that will keep readers fully engaged, and there are strong messages as well, that encourage readers to "believe in karma because what you give is what you'll get in return." Reminiscent of the Joy Luck Club, this tale teaches a number of moral lessons, including never to steal another woman's husband, never to be greedy, never to intentionally hurt anyone, and to refrain from all immoral activity. One overall important message that this book conveys is the value of adopting a forgiving and an accepting spirit regarding oneself and others. The story begins in 2002, recounting the birth of the oldest of the four sisters, Gi-Gi Chen. The sisters are separated for a time, but are later reunited in the U.S., where a love triangle of magnanimous proportions occurs between two women who do not realize that they are actually sisters. Mei-Ling is sweet, caring, and obedient, while Lily Kong is out for whatever she can get, even if it means marrying a man just to reach America. Once in the United States, Lily leaves her husband, Nicky, in search of more wealth. As fate would have it, Mei-Ling becomes involved with Nicky--and the love triangle begins. The truth about Mei-Ling and Lily's relationship as sisters only becomes known in 2002 when a fortuneteller uses the Mirror of Karma to unveil the truth of their lineage. The fiery Lily is intent on suing her little sister, while the considerate Mei-Ling attempts to make peace after the truth of their relationship is uncovered. Hou's use of strong dialogue and scenes are portrayed extensively during the dramatic courtroom trial. This is especially exemplified when Mei-Ling reminds Lily that they are sisters and asks if they could just sit and talk. Lily heatedly replies, "You stole my husband! How dare you come to see me? I am suing you. I'll see you in court. If you want to talk, talk to my lawyer." Hou does a fine job of developing her characters, keeping the reader enthralled with detailed character descriptions and plot progression. The author provides ample guidance for the reader amid the constant activity of the plot. Overall, The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters is a splendid story that is full of mystery, suspense, and moral lessons that will keep readers turning pages to the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Mirror of Karma and The 4 Sisters, published by Dorrance Publishing, is a sweet story of four sisters unraveling their histories. China's one or two child policies led millions of women to make very difficult decisions that affected them and their children. The secrets and lies that were told to keep illegal children alive were intricate and sometimes last for more than a lifetime. Many children never learn the truth. It is difficult to imagine how you might feel to learn that your parents weren't there for your birth and that your siblings aren't really related to you. Even more difficult to imagine the fragile discussions you might have with complete strangers who are your real family. The book's major theme of forgiveness is illustrated with all the frustration, hurt, anger, compassion and relief that it encompasses. While the story and characters were well developed, I felt the book needed much better editing. While I appreciate a writing style that allows the dialogue to take on local accents or broken English (Mark Twain's books are an excellent example), I felt that the faulty English grammar took more away from the book than it added. Alicia Hou has a wonderful imagination and is a skilled story teller, but had the book been edited for repetition, grammar and flow, I would have enjoyed it more. I also felt the illustrations gave the book a childish flavor that didn't fit the complex adult relationships they illustrated. I hope to read more from the talented Alicia Hou in the future and watch her grow as an author. I received a complimentary copy of (Book Title) as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore (dot) com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.
Zack_Anderson More than 1 year ago
Its a fascinating read and insight into a different culture, in spite of the difficulty of the prose at times(the author is clearly not a native English speaker). The way that dramatic cast was introduced in the beginning amounts to essentially a prelude, only far overxtended and not particularly necessary for the rest of the story. Nonetheless, the heart and source of the story manages to stand out strong enough that it was more than worth the time and the money put into it. Additionally, it has a beautiful cover that more than graces most bookstands.
sonyaa2 More than 1 year ago
Alice Hou's "The Mirror of Karma and The 4 Sisters" explores the themes of family secrets and the strength of blood ties. The story is set during the 1970s in China, a period when the one-child policy was in full effect. It was considered an affront to one's ancestors not to have a son. After a Chinese woman, Lotus, had three girls in a row, she covertly gives away the second and third in order to stay within the parameters of tradition, ultimately having a son. This comes back to haunt her, though, when, after twenty years, a fortune teller uses his magic mirror to disclose her secret. Her biological daughters, Mei-Ling and Lily, meet their biological mother and have to deal with their feelings of abandonment and betrayal. The Dorrance Publishing release is solid young adult book written in simple, elegant prose and which thoroughly flushes out each character, in description and with a graph. The aforementioned themes of the book are also encouraging for youth to read about, particularly those who may have family rifts.
Suneetha More than 1 year ago
I am not one to be fatalistic but Karma is believed to be with us each breath of our life. The Mirror of Life tells us this very thing through an interesting, absorbing and shocking of four sisters in a Chinese family. The background is the one-chlld plicy of China which caused a havoc in very many personal lives. I like the characters, the pace and the narrative skills of the author too. The shock of governmant policies making new relationship equations among established and conventional relationships is balanced by the extraordinarily balanced way of narration. I reccommend the book.
Joanne_Isabela More than 1 year ago
The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters by Alicia Hou is the newest addition to the beloved genre of historical fiction that includes the likes of Isabel Allende and Amy Tan. This novel allows us to peek into a very strong family devastatingly affected by China's one-child policy. The Mirror of Karma's unique opening quickly entices you to enter this intriguing world of betrayal, abandonment, yet hope and strength. From the beginning, the reader is told what important lessons these ladies will learn through hard, up-hill journeys.
MizBanks More than 1 year ago
Love is an emotion so strong that even years and distance can't destroy its truth. It heals relationships, reunites lovers and brings good Karma to those who live by it. The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters by Alicia Hou is the love story of Mimi King's family. A story of perseverance, of betrayal and of trusting God to balance the good and the bad. It covers three generations of Mimi's family originating in China, and expanding in Panama and then the United States. As the story moves forward, Mimi and her sisters are constantly looking back to find the connections from the past that are destined to guide their futures. The Mirror of Karma is an enjoyable read that examines the complexities of familial relationships with great honesty and detail. It also contains a good mix of World History to complement the development of the characters. For any reader who loves diving into the lives and histories of other people, this book will fit perfectly into a personal library. The intermingling of cultures is especially interesting, although tensions that often exist between races aren't discussed.
DeanPF More than 1 year ago
This book is a delightful story of four Chinese sisters, all more or less victims of the One Child Chinese policy. Based partially on the author's true experiences, this is the story of four sisters lives and the different impacts the one child policy has on each of them. The language is very simple, which makes it seem like a children's story at times. The author also spends a lot of time explaining the characters and their relationships up front, rather than weaving those aspects into the story. If you can get past this, you'll enjoy the story.
magicepiffany More than 1 year ago
This book is heartfelt and touching on so many levels. When I picked it up, I was expecting a novel on the "chick lit" level. Something endearing, but fluff at best. What I received, however, was way more substantial and gratifying than I could have imagined. Set during the controversial One Child Policy in China, this story is as much political as it is social and cultural. I loved the character development via dialogue, a technique not widely used but still increasingly effective. The 4 sisters remind me of me and my own sisters, all very close but not without our faults. The only thing I disliked about the novel was the convenient plot devices employed by the author. I am always interested in figuring out how an author will create a story web that will leave the reader guessing, but the plot devices in this story made it entirely too easy and almost hard to believe. Regardless, this book is wonderful and to the point. The themes of love, family, and deception are entirely relateable, and the characters are very much a pleasure to get to know.
RicardoRD More than 1 year ago
Write what you know is a good adage to go by, and we find that Alicia Hou knows the content she writes about. Her own personal journey is just as compelling, if not more, than her work of fiction. Her personal experience with being a member of a child quota family lends itself well to this tale of betrayal and Karma. She clearly has a soft heart for families dealing with similar trials to her own, and she has a nice touch when explaining some of the traits we as humans have that often get whitewashed or ignored completely. Her characters flaws are on display throughout. Alicia speaks four languages, with English being her fourth. Her command of the universal language of love and family however is the one she speaks most fluently.
dylanFogle More than 1 year ago
Alicia Hou's The Mirror of Karma and The 4 Sisters is a gripping tale of old Chinese ways mixing with new world realities. The four sisters are brought together through luck and magic. An excellent fictionalization of the author's grandmother's rules of life. The "one child" quota in China has lead many unwanted children to wonder about themselves and how they fit into a society that does not want them. A wonderful story of karma, what goes around comes around.
Alicia_Reece More than 1 year ago
I think the name of the book is perfect!I believe this book is a combination of the old and new ways in society today. It's formed around a dramatic outline of what goes own in the average home in today's society. Most are not as forth-coming, but if we have to think about the statistics of blended families, tear down of one another (family and non-family members), and the combination of cultures blended biologically presently in existence the percentages are over 50%. We can and should ALL take something from this book and learn to always treat other as you would like to be treated because things do have a way of resurfacing and most times at a very inconvenient time. More than ever I feel readers who have been a part of families that were separated, had children with different parents, abandoned, etc. would definitely appreciate this book because it allows the readers a sense of connection, at least it did for me!!
Julie-G More than 1 year ago
Heartfelt and touching , The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters by Alicia Hou, guides us through the lives of siblings torn apart by the One Child Policy in China. When two of the sisters - Mimi and Gigi - make an appointment to see a fortune teller to aid Gigi's "bad energy" , it is revealed that they have siblings they've never met in China and America . This starts the journey to unveiling their families past and healing bad karma that surrounds it. Ultimately, the sisters find love and work to heal past wounds inflicted. The story lacks realism in that they seem to accept and find each other a bit too easy. While majority of the story is all dialogue and doesn't have much details on their surroundings, the interesting plot will have you turning the pages. The author definitely instills in the readers the importance of karma , forgiveness and sisterhood.
TRW More than 1 year ago
The Mirror of Karma is a fine balance of drama, magic, and the page-turning surprises. Alicia Hou has thoughtfully, and gracefully weaved the wisdom of her grandmother into an engaging account of various social, moral, and demoralizing complexities faced by three immigrant sisters and their families. There is deception, there is love - and there is karma. In my opinion, this book would make for an excellent book club read.
Karin_Wooden More than 1 year ago
Ms. Hou's book deeply engages on both the personal and spiritual levels. She has woven the triumphant account of family and friends who become like family (godsisters, godmother, etc) in realistic color and warmth. In my experience, it is rare to find fiction so straightforward. In an age of post-modern form without meaning, this is a true cure. But don't imagine it to be boring: while the reader is told the cast of characters and their plights upfront, there is no shortage of plot turns or surprises. I loved the characters and learned a lot of wisdom from them. Set in time from Mao's reign up through the present with President Obama; this journey spans three countries and makes history personal. The only thing that needs polishing on this beautiful mirror of mankind is a little editing for English usage; but that is overcome by the shine of delightful storytelling and beautiful illustrations. I will recommend it to many of my own friends and family -- the Chinese-American "Chicken Soup for the Soul."
M_R_Shah More than 1 year ago
Alicia Hou's "The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters," touches on one of the most basic principles of life: what you give is what you'll get in return. The story is enjoyable, revolving around four sisters who grow up oblivious to the existence of each other. Two of the sisters, Gi Gi--the oldest--and Mimi--youngest and born in Panama--immigrate to the United States, where the story takes off. The other two sisters, in China, are intertwined by fate as a result of one man, Nicky. While the characters could be fleshed out a bit more, Hou's character sketches in the beginning of the book certainly help the reader follow along with who's who. Without giving much away, the court room scene is the most thrilling and fulfilling scene of the book. Themes of infidelity and greed, and the sisters code of honor are prevalent throughout the book. Hou's book is also interesting because of the political backdrop of China's one-child policy which essentially triggers the entire plot.
SassyCASsy More than 1 year ago
The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters tells a beautiful story of sisterhood and karma. Its gives the reader amazing life lessons and a fantastic frame of view for what happened in China during the cultural revolution, it's "one child" policy and the effect the Chinese culture and policies had on one family. However, some of the plot scenes were a little disjointed and made it harder to follow. While it was new and interesting to see character bio's at the beginning of the book, I was disappointed that there wasn't more shown about the characters. Each character introduction seemed to be a narrative reading of their bio without much more shown and while there were certainly transformations of belief and understanding, it was done quickly and without a lot of engagement on the part of the reader. For anyone wishing to see the life of a family that went through this period of time in China's history and how they dealt with all that happened, this book will give you that sense of history and tradition mixed with a person's ability to cope with certain situations.
Erin-Grady More than 1 year ago
Alicia Hou really brings to life the struggle of women living in Communist-controlled China. The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters is a poignant drama that absolutely blew me away! I couldn't put this book down, and I don't think you will be able to either!! The book offers great lessons about family, sisterhood as well as the importance of forgiveness and love. The way the author described the characters helps you feel extremely connected to them. It's a must-read for anyone who believes in karma!
Nicole8080 More than 1 year ago
What Hou does in Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters is enlightening. The book deals with the Chinese "one child" policy, a mother's past life, a daughter's hurt, jealousy and forgiveness. While the last 4 points may often be seen in novels, Hou does the topics justice by giving her characters a thorough introduction and allowing the reader to believe they are truly involved in the dilemma. Told from every point of view, the reader is able to relate to a mother who must leave three children behind and lead a new life, a daughter who learns her mother's truths through a visit to a fortune teller and the "forgotten" siblings who's hurt and jealousy have been over shadowed by Communist law. Hou not only writes beautifully of the universal family issues but she introduces Chinese traditions to the rest of the world and laces them throughout her book. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who loves a sisterhood story.
UniquelyJoanna More than 1 year ago
The Mirror of Karma and the Four Sisters is a fascinating read, and one which draws the reader into a world where modern life and human dilemma merges seamlessly with Chinese culture and traditional values. Based on events stemming from China's one child policy (or, more specifically, the ingrained Chinese preference for male children) the story traces the lives of four sisters and their mother, who had abandoned two of her girls through the perceived need to have a son. Skilfully linking the threads of many lives and their individual stories, Hou's style is refreshingly different, with a detailed character introduction at the beginning of the book, a series of sketches depicting the characters at key points in the story, flashbacks, proverbs, emails and narrative. It is greatly to her credit that this story never becomes confusing and sweeps the reader along without once losing focus. The characters are finely drawn and well developed and the reader comes to know them intimately through their very human frailties, making them absolutely credible and leading us to care deeply about the outcomes of their trials and tribulations. The writing style is simplistic, almost childlike, with occasional breaks in the English, yet this just adds to its charm and increases the reader's awareness of being offered a glimpse of a culture that is a mystery to those who do not have deep connections with China. It is a deeply moral tale, and one from which we all have something to learn. Disturbing at times, yet ultimately a 'feel good' read, The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters is a book which deserves a place on anybody's bookshelves, and one to which the reader will return, again and again.
bwbatlarge More than 1 year ago
Alicia Hou's The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters details the story of four sisters: Gigi, Lily, Mei-Ling and Mimi. The story teaches important lessons of karma under a riveting plot of a mother who abandons two of her daughters in an attempt to fulfil her ancestral destiny and give birth to a son under the Chinese one-child policy. The secret she buried for twenty years comes to light and the sisters learn to treat all women like sisters (never steal your sister's husband), to never do anything immoral, to never be too greedy (you will lose it all later), to never intentionally hurt someone (you will end up hurting yourself even more), to give thanks to the one who tricked you (because you have learned to be smarter), to give thanks to the one who rejected you (because you have learned to do things better), and, most importantly, to believe in karma, what you gave is what you'll get in return. Hou interweaves the stories of many characters while keeping the plot understandable and organized; although The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters tells the stories of many characters, the characters are each unique and well-developed. Hou's story of four sisters is a great read for anyone who enjoyed The Joy Luck Club or appreciates the lessons of karma and sisterhood.
L_Brown More than 1 year ago
The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters is a story filled with lessons and reminders of how important family really is-especially the bonds of sisterhood. Jealousy, greed, hatred and anger are fueled and soon enough blossoms love, loyalty, and forgiveness. The story hashes a love triangle between two sisters and a man. Unfortunately, they had no idea they were sisters until the truth was revealed. It becomes a daunting battle-one that was not meant for intent, yet breaches a horrible war between them. Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters is a riveting story; one that teaches you about choices and the karma that follows.
RiniHP More than 1 year ago
The story mainly revolves around teachings of karma and human behavior. The novel is well written, which first starts off with character introductions along with pictures. Throughout the entire novel we see sketches that give life to the words and we get to see the character as the author intended them to appear. Greed, anger, jealousy, forgiveness, kindness, loyalty, love and hatred are the main emotions being displayed by the characters. Mei-Ling and Lily are like Yin and Yang, total opposites in character, and we see ourselves hating Lily instantly. As we read on, we see the characters raw emotions surface, and get to know why Lily behaves so. All in all it is a great light read that keeps you entertained thoroughly.
AmyU10 More than 1 year ago
The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters is a great story that teaches the reader a lot of different life lessons while also accurately portraying the one-child policy that occurred in China causing many families to give away their extra children. The author wrote the book with a different approach from other novels by starting out with a detailed outline of each of the story's main characters. This really helps the reader to identify with the characters and makes the story easier to follow and understand. A great book that the reader will not only enjoy, but also takeaway valuable lessons and facts about history in China.