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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The third sister in the Tao family, Ailin is not quite five years old in 1911, a time of transformation in China, when Western philosophies are creating a wave of revolutions and the empire is crumbling. More spirited than her older sisters, Ailin rebels against the torturous age-old tradition of binding girls' feet. When the family of her intended husband breaks the marriage agreement because her feet are not bound, Ailin feels no remorse. But as she enters adolescence, her family is no longer willing to support her. She realizes for the first time just how powerless a girl of good family with no prospect of marriage is in Chinese society.
Ailin has no intention of following that society's traditions. Not only can she read and write Chinese, but she also learns English and seeks a way to make her own living. When she is offered an opportunity that shocks her already estranged family, Ailin faces a decision that may further alienate her from her familial duty and from her country.
Lensey Namioka has written an unforgettable saga of a girl who defies the ancient traditions of her class and heritage, emerging at last as a young woman with an indomitable spirit.