Book Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Title: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Author: Lisa See
Series: None
Publisher: Random House
Released: February 21, 2006

Book Summary:

In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Fabulously written but heart-wrenching. One of those haunting books that make me shake my head and wonder what posses people to carry on traditions that are wrong on so many levels. This book was really quite depressing. It captured so many emotions and painted such vivid pictures in my mind. Some of those pictures are beautiful but others are horrific.

This was the selection for my book group this month. It’s a great choice for a book club, I’m sure we’ll have some very interesting discussions next week.

This beautifully written book is one that lovers of Historical Fiction should pick up. I felt transported back to a time period that I am extremely grateful I do not live in.

Rating: 4.5 Stars – Highly Recommend to Adults

Content: This is historical fiction and has many details that are far from pleasant to read about from physical and emotional abuse to the breaking of bones during Chinese foot binding. Some language, sex, abuse and implied lesbian relationship.

Source: Library

Also by Author Lisa See