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This book suffers, I think, from trying to do too much. Is it a mystery? Is it a family drama? Is it a portrait of life in China in the early 21st Century? The mystery is very weak, and probably won't satisfy readers looking for a new mystery series. The family drama is somewhat stronger, with the author's characterization of the relationship between her main character & that character's family forming much of the book. The overall feel of the book as being set in modern-day China is perhaps the strongest part, with the author providing glimpses of a China with which most of us in the West are unfamiliar. Liang's writing is beautiful, almost lyrical, and I enjoyed reading this novel from the standpoint of the way Liang strings words together. She also did an excellent job of creating a strong female character with plenty of depth. I think she shows a lot of promise as a writer, and that it's likely her future books will be stronger.