This story is an ancient Chinese re-telling of the story of Cinderella. Xing Xing is bound to her dead father's second wife and her daughter Wei Ping. It is a life of servitude and tied by bonds of family and culture. Girls in this position can expect nothing and are treated little more than slaves.
Wei Ping's feet were bound immediately after her father's death and are extremely painful. Her father did not agree with this practice but her mother wants to negotiate a good marriage for her and sees this as a necessity.
Wei Ping is not an awful step-sister but one the reader feels a great deal of sympathy for. She can not do much for herself and has terrible ordeals because of her feet. The step-mother on the other hand is greedy and very desperate for her daughter to marry before all their money is gone.
The Prince part of the story was almost an after-thought and very little of the story was devoted to this. I felt it could have been fleshed out a little bit more. I loved the historical part of this book and was very interested in the foot binding.
First Line: "Xing Xing squatted by the water, silent and unmoving."