The Language of Threads picks up right where Women of the Silk left off. Pei is on the ferry coming into Hong Kong, unsure of her future and how she will be able to take care of Ji Shen when she doesn't know how she will take care of herself. She was told that another former silk sister Song Lee has been living in Hong Kong for a long time and will take care of getting them accommodations and a job for Pei.
When they dock in Hong Kong they are met by various rickshaw drivers eager to take them to their destination. There is a teenage boy named Quan who is particularly persistent, and finally Pei agrees to let him take them to Song Lee. He makes sure they get in safely and checks up on them from time to time as they get settled.
Pei ends up getting a job cleaning for the Chens, an affluent Chinese couple. She is nervous as she has never held this kind of position before, but works hard. Unfortunately they do not let her bring Ji Shen along, so Ji Shen stays with Song Lee and goes to school. They see each other about once a month. The Chens have a full staff, some of whom are very nice to Pei, but there is one manipulative woman who ends up setting a trap that gets Pei fired.
She goes back to Song Lee and is given a job working for an Englishwoman, Caroline Finch. She is nervous at first as she speaks no English and never worked as a cleaning person before. Mrs. Finch is a widower who has lived in Hong Kong a long time and speaks Mandarin well. She agrees to take Ji Shen in as well. The three take good care of each other.
When the Japanese take over Hong Kong, British citizens are rounded up and brought to internment camps. Once again Pei and Ji Shen need to fend for themselves.
I'll stop there so as not to spoil any of the rest. I enjoyed this book much more than the first. I think you could easily read it without first reading Women of the Silk, as there are enough flashbacks of relevant information. It was the kind of book that when I got to certain points in the story I purposely put it down. It's silly but I do this sometimes when I'm reading a book where the characters are going through a lot of hard times. When they get to a happy part of their lives, I want them (and me) to be able to linger there for a while.
While I will take a little break before the next one, I will definitely read something else by this author in the future.