In The Courtroom Sisters Fight by Todd Rutherford

Shows such as Judge Judy have made courtroom fiascos famous. The astonishing fact is that many of the cases involve bickering between friends and family members who, for various reasons, have failed to solve their problems outside of the courts. Alicia Hou’s The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters, in similar tradition, pits two sisters against one another.

The story revolves around four sisters who have been kept in the dark about the relationship they share with each other. Gi-Gi Chen, the oldest, is influenced greatly by her grandmother’s teachings, and is much more interested in uniting lovers rather than searching for her own soul mate. Mimi is the youngest of the four sisters. The middle sisters, Lily and Mei-Ling, are victims of China’s one-child policy-and much more. Fate ties them to the same man, however, who is an American-born Chinese man named Nicky.

The situation around the court case is tender and emotions run high; however, Mei-Ling is fighting for her son and is completely genuine, while Lily is conniving and intends to leave Mei-Ling’s reputation in shambles in the process.

As Mei-Ling narrates her side of the story, she states, “Three weeks before my child’s birth, Lily showed up abruptly, saying that I stole her husband and slapped me on my face. Lily ordered me to move to the small backhouse, and she moved in with Nicky. She prevented me to speak a word to Nicky and bid me to keep my distance from him.”

When Mei-Ling’s attorney and friend, Kerry Morrison, asks Lily penetrating questions, Mei-Ling jumps to Lily’s defense and requests Mr. Morrison to, “Please, stop that! She is my real sister. She would kill herself if she is convicted. I know her very well. Sometimes, she is very strong but, sometimes, very weak. I don’t want her to die.”

Beneath the courtroom chaos, genuine feelings of care and concern are apparent between the two sisters. Upon the conclusion of the case, Lily sheds her “witch” coat and asks Mei-Ling to be friends. Mei-Ling, perhaps from the joy of having her son back, accepts, strengthening the bond between the sisters.

Alicia Hou’s The Mirror of Karma and the 4 Sisters is a wonderful story of the loyalty of sisterhood, despite conflicts and misunderstandings. Anyone who has a sister or is part of a family can appreciate the themes of betrayal, deep devotion, and forgiveness in this book, showing how the strong bonds between siblings ultimately stand the test of time.

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