Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
This takes place in nineteenth century China in a remote county. The main character is a woman named Lily. It's the story of her life. When she is seven she is paired with another girl (Snow Flower) in another village, this will be a emotional match to last a lifetime. It covers their friendship and their lives through Lily's eyes. It's a great story, but let's be honest, it's depressing. Life for women during that time in China was not good. Food binding is described (awful), arranged marriages are negotiated (cringe) and the reiteration that girls/women aren't worth much is non-stop. Hey, that was how it was. But it was still depressing for me (especially Snow Flower's life). Anyway, I love how Lisa See tells a story and this one is worth your time.
My other reviews of Lisa See books:
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - First of all I want to let you know that this book has a sequel. I say this so that if you read it, you won't get to the end and be all like "Hey, wait. Lisa don't leave me hanging like this!" Because the end certainly sets things up nicely for a sequel. That being said this is a sweeping novel about two sisters and their lives beginning in 1937 Shanghai and following them through some harrowing, gut wrenching, challenging times as they eventually make their way and establish themselves in Los Angeles finishing in 1957. Not easy, breezy reading that's for sure, there's some deep stuff in here. That being said I finished the book in less than a week. I really enjoyed the historical perspective and I'm getting ready to dig into the sequel.
Dreams of Joy by Lisa See - The sequel to Shanghai Girls. A sobering Mad Men. When you read this, compare the it to the show Mad Men and you actually will shake your head at how completely insane that feels that they take place in the same period of time in history.