Lily is the daughter of a humble farmer in Yongming County, and to her family is just another mouth to feed until she can be married off. But, when she is six years old she is brought before the ambitious local matchmaker who delivers some startling news: Lily is no ordinary girl. If they are bound properly, her feet will be flawless. In ...Read MoreLily is the daughter of a humble farmer in Yongming County, and to her family is just another mouth to feed until she can be married off. But, when she is six years old she is brought before the ambitious local matchmaker who delivers some startling news: Lily is no ordinary girl. If they are bound properly, her feet will be flawless. In nineteenth-century China, where a woman's eligibility is judged by the shape and size of her feet, this is extraordinarily good luck. Lily now has the power to make a good marriage and change the fortunes of her family. But first she must undergo the agonies of footbinding, learn nu shu, the famed secret women's writing, and make a very special friend. A girl will be chosen as her 'old-same' which is a relationship almost akin to marriage and treated with as much seriousness. Her 'old-same', Snow Flower, is a wonder to Lily. She comes from a refined family and is elegant, educated, but cannot suppress her adventurous streak. Even though their worlds are far apart and they rarely see one another, the two girls develop a deep bond through their letters written in nu shu which they paint on fans and embroider on handkerchiefs. As the years go by, Lily and Snow Flower share the burden of being born female in feudal China and find comfort in their friendship until they come of age to be married. But a bitter reversal of fortune is about to change everything. "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" is a story of two extraordinary women surviving in a time of strict rules and ancient customs. With the eye of a historian and the vibrancy of a true storyteller, Lisa See has written a truly mesmerizing novel filled with colour, fascinating detail and heartfelt drama.Read Less
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Good read. Lisa See's always urging you to the next page. Her characters quickly bring you from chapter to chapter and --all too soon-- to The End.
Jun 14, 2012
This book delved into the relationship between two women as they grow from little girls to women & mothers. Even though foot binding is a known fact, the description of the procedure was excellent. The obedience of the girls, to accept the custom as a given, was food for thought. The girls, who thought they were so close, shared everything, didn't really understand one another. I bought copies for several life long friends as we think we REALLY know one another, but do we?.
Feb 26, 2012
AP World History Review: AMAZING
Lisa See did a great job creating this story. With a decent amount of knowledge of this era I found it to be factual and realistic. When it spoke of all the foot binding and the death that came to Lilly's sister from an infection from it, I felt as if I was seeing everything. The step by step description of events that occurred was phenomenal. The explanation of Lilly's emotions made me feel empathy for her and feel sorry for her. The book and the letters within it were so well written that I believed someone of that era actually wrote them at that era and time.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a book that will keep you wanting to read, and you will end up have knowledge of the era it took place in, in the end. There may be scenes that may bother people do to blood and deep description of severe injury. If the person has a tolerance for these things this book would be perfect for you. This book is a great read and very informative about the era.
Aug 19, 2011
Heart Warming story
The book made me realized the importance of friendship, love and sacrifice. It really touched my heart. Very well written
Jun 30, 2011
Insightful documentation, drama
Well researched, documented novel on a lost period in Chinese history. Well written with a taste of Chinese idioms.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-04-18 See's engrossing novel set in remote 19th-century China details the deeply affecting story of lifelong, intimate friends (laotong, or "old sames") Lily and Snow Flower, their imprisonment by rigid codes of conduct for women and their betrayal by pride and love. While granting immediacy to Lily's voice, See (Flower Net) adroitly transmits historical background in graceful prose. Her in-depth research into women's ceremonies and duties in China's rural interior brings fascinating revelations about arranged marriages, women's inferior status in both their natal and married homes, and the Confucian proverbs and myriad superstitions that informed daily life. Beginning with a detailed and heartbreaking description of Lily and her sisters' foot binding ("Only through pain will you have beauty. Only through suffering will you have peace"), the story widens to a vivid portrait of family and village life. Most impressive is See's incorporation of nu shu, a secret written phonetic code among women-here between Lily and Snow Flower-that dates back 1,000 years in the southwestern Hunan province ("My writing is soaked with the tears of my heart,/ An invisible rebellion that no man can see"). As both a suspenseful and poignant story and an absorbing historical chronicle, this novel has bestseller potential and should become a reading group favorite as well. Agent, Sandra Dijkstra. Author tour. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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