One thing I am super passionate about is learning. I want to know about everything. I am known in my family to have a little nugget of information about whatever topic happens to be in discussion. So, when a story has me scurrying to Wikapedia or the library to research a new topic, that story gets a gold star in my book. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was one of those stories that made me get out my trusty notebook and dive into some research about the women in 16th century China. I was immersed in a strange world of foot binding (they call their bound feet Golden Lilies), embroidery, secret languages, and homemaking. I was stunned at the things I was learning as I finished chapter after chapter of this book.
In this story you will meet a young girl named Snow Flower and her friend Lily. These girls were paired up by a match maker as special friends (loatong - translating to "old sames") during their "foot binding years" and the story follows their lives as female soul mates from children through their marriages and finally until death separates them. Because the two girls live in neighboring villages they can only see each other a few times a year but they correspond to each other by writing in a secret language called Nu Shu that is only known to women. Snow Flower and Lily write their little notes on the back of a fan that they send back and forth to each other during their times apart. Eventually, as girl friends often do, they have a tiff and they realize during their period of giving eachother the "silent treatment" how much they truly mean to one another.
My mother-in-law recommended this book to me after she read it for her book club. Since then she has decided that Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is her favorite book and I can certainly see why. If you want a beautifully written heartwarming story you are going to get it with this one. And while it isn't in my top faves I very much appreciate this book and would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to curl up with a good book.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
by Lisa See
If you liked this book also read: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory