I wasn't expecting this book to be such a heavy read, but despite it's flowery language and lush setting; it's really pretty bleak. Set in nineteenth century China; Lily is born into a house that is neither wealthy nor extremely poor. When Lily is young it is determined that she will have the smallest and most gorgeous bound feet so she will be able to marry up and change her future (and her families) for the better. In the process she is given a pen pal of sorts, a laotong. Snowflower is the same age but from a more prosperous family; from the age of six til their death they will be "old sames" closer to each other than with their husbands. They undergo foot-bindings together, they learn the rites of womanhood, and they share all of their secrets. This book follows their childhood all the way through motherhood and beyond. But even though they have each other, things aren't always easy. They suffer unbearable tragedies and only have each other to rely on. Very bleak, somber, yet beautiful and educational. I highly recommend the audiobook!