Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

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Happy Chinese New Year! I thought it would be great to review a Chinese historical fiction novel today.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Clues to describe this book: Female Friendship, Betrayal, Strength, Reflection

Review: This was the third book I read from Lisa See (the first two were from her Shanghai Girls series). I had pretty high hopes for this book and overall, it was a great read, but it didn’t pique my interest as much as Shanghai Girls did. This is such a sad yet beautifully written story about the relationships between women in 19th century China. A seven-year-old girl named Lily is paired with a laotong, “old same” in a match that will last a lifetime. Lily and her laotong, Snow Flower, grow up together sharing their successes and hardships through life. The author provides such through research about footbinding, family dynamics, and ‘nu shu’ the written language Chinese women developed to communicate exclusively with each other. The way she explores these topics in the novel are very descriptive and insightful. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical fiction, Chinese culture or learning more about 19th century China.

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