Snow Flower And The Secret Fan by Lisa See

In nineteenth century China, 7-year-old Lily lives among such traditions as foot binding, and match makers, where daughters are meant to be matched to men of power, as a daughter… is a lowly thing, where sons are raved on and honored and live in their birth homes forever.

Girls, such as Lily were paired with laotongs, “old sames” friendships that were meant to last a lifetime and Lily is paired with Snow Flower who is believed to come from a higher social standard which will be good for Lily’s eventual husband matching.

The girls quickly become the closest of friends, sharing messages of hopes and dreams sent to one another on handkerchiefs and within the folds of a fan. 

As the years pass and the girls grow to young women their times together change from girlish whispers and giggles to talks of their arranged marriages, loneliness, and motherhood.  As time passes, things change and Lily and Snow flower are torn apart.

Now, Lily, years later, as Snow Flower lays close to death – Lily recaps what happened, and how she can possibly ask for forgiveness from the one person who was always by her side.

It is not often I will say this, but if you have not read or listened to this book – I want you to drop everything and run to your local book store, or your favorite online ordering spot and secure a copy for yourself.  Trust me, you will be glad you did.  This is one of the best books I have listened to this year.
This was not the type of story that takes a while to get into… no, from the very beginning I entered nineteenth century China I was taken in by the sites, and by the traditions as Snow Flower and The Secret Fan is filled with tradition… painful images of foot binding, match makers, and most importantly… the laotong (a friendship that I will go into more when I post the movie review tomorrow.)
And really… that is what Snow Flower And The Secret Fan is about is friendship… a friendship that is more powerful than all the other relationships in Lily’s life…. and that… makes for an amazing story.
Normally when I am done listening to an audio it goes on my giveaway shelf as I know I will not listen to it again.  This time, I will be hanging on to this audio book as I know I will listen to it again someday and remember Lily and Snow Flower.
I bought this audio from

33 thoughts on “Snow Flower And The Secret Fan by Lisa See

    1. Linda you will love it! It has so much information in it that is outstanding! I am surprised the waiting list is so long.. it came out in 2005.

      I am giving a copy away tomorrow…. I hope you stop in 🙂

  1. I am in complete agreement here. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I can’t wait to see the movie either – should be out and available soon, I think.

  2. Snow Flower is one of my most favorite books ever. I just watched the movie the other night, which I wasn’t quite as thrilled about, but it did make me want to read the book again. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Sheila!

  3. Ack! I was unprepared for the photos you had of footbinding and had to quickly scroll down. I loved this book but was just sickened by the whole footbinding thing. I’d finally gotten the images out of my head when I Googled it after reading the book … but now they are back in! ACK!

  4. Fantastic review. Loved the graphics. I loved this book. I read it in print but would like to do a re-read in audio as I read it a long time ago. I remember when I was reading it I had to stop and put it down at some points over the foot binding. That really got to me. I haven’t seen the movie yet but haven’t read very good reviews of it. Looking forward to hearing what you thought.

  5. While I read this and didn’t listen to it, I had the totally same reaction as you. It’s really just one of the most beautiful, amazing, and profound stories out there.
    This book started my Lisa See obsession, and while her other books aren’t quite as good, they are definitely worth checking out!

  6. I really enjoy Lisa See’s books, but this one wasn’t my favorite (don’t get me wrong, I liked it), but I think that’s because I read it soon after Shanghai Girls, which is one of my all-time favorites

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