I used to go to the San Francisco Chinese community center named after Donaldina Cameron, the inspiration of this story. I mis-read the synopsis and thought this was a loose biography of Donaldina Cameron. I was disappointed to find that this story is only a historical fiction tale.
From Publishers Weekly
Inspired by the life of a real Scots-Presbyterian missionary, Carroll's touching debut brings fin-de-siecle San Francisco's Chinatown vibrantly to life. Lovely, naive Thomasina McIntyre never conquers her frail health as she matures into a capable director of the Presbyterian Occidental Mission organized to save Chinese women from prostitution and the slave trade. Thomasina struggles against racism, oppressive legislation, city corruption and her own lack of knowledge of the women's culture?all with a strong Christian faith and dogged endurance. Loved by four men, she marries none (though not for lack of desire); her children are the women she rescues from prostitution (she is called Lo Mo, the mother of 100 girls). Carroll is sometimes heavy-handed with background exposition, and readers may wonder about several plot developments (especially why Thomasina's trusted attorney deserts her to work for the enemy in the middle of a heated court battle), but she does capture the pain of sexual self-abnegation and the uncertainty that haunts the steps of generous but ordinary people. Her skillful interweaving of the era's social and historical events adds color and depth to an uplifting story.
From School Library Journal
YA-Based on the true story of a Scots Presbyterian missionary in San Francisco's Chinatown at the turn of the century, this novel details Thomasina McIntyre's evolution from a timid grade-school teacher to the director of the Presbyterian Occidental Mission, dedicated to rescuing Chinese girls sold into slavery or prostitution. What began as a one-year appointment as the assistant to the Mission director becomes a lifetime career. Thomasina follows Miss Culbertson into brothels to rescue girls who get word to the authorities that they are being held against their will. She teaches them to read and write, and about American life and customs. She learns about opium addiction and the pain of withdrawal. She becomes involved in raising money for the Mission, a constant responsibility. Most of all, she comes to love her young charges, and they give her the name Lo Mo-One Hundred Girls' Mother. Thomasina comes to life in these pages as she struggles with her own prejudices, learns to love the sometimes unlovable children, and becomes a pioneer in the field of social work. An inspiring story of a woman who devoted her life to helping others.
I could not read this because the writing was so dull.