The epic love and sacrifice of hard working, loyal people is a beautiful story to read, but it is not pretty and is ugly to think about.
Forced prostitution of young girls by family members, abandonment of female babies, abuse of the poor by the community and government, all very hard to think about.
This story draws you in with the little details of daily struggles to survive and makes you want to root for a happy ending for everyone of the characters. Life is not a fairy tale and for every silver lining there, unfortunately, is a deep, dark cloud. Loving grandparents, aunties, friends, ghosts, mental patients, cruel and harsh prison guards, beggars, thieves, sweet babies all join forces to make for an interesting saga.
I have an interest in Chinese culture and the storyline of how Falun gong is addressed was of great interest to me. I don't know anything at all about the practice, but I do know that people were very afraid to be associated with it. On a trip to China in 2004, our bus was held up for hours on a county road. We, 14 foreigners, stepped out of the bus to stretch and practice some qigong and tai chi. Our driver got very upset and begged us to stop because he did not want officials to think we were Falun gong practitioners.
The glossary was a big help, as I do not speak any Chinese, but I am starting to absorb a few words , here and there.
I was given this and Tangled Vines to review as a Vine reader. I will now backtrack and buy the first in the series, as well as other tomes by Kay Bratt. She is now on my favored list, along with Lisa See, Matthew Polly and Deng Ming-Dao.