I could not put this book down. It is the story of 2 sisters in China, beginning during the war with Japan. Their mother has committed suicide and the sisters, Junan and Yinan swear to always be together. Junan has an arranged marriage but comes to love her husband, Li Ang, a soldier in the Chinese Army. They become separated when her husband goes off to fight against the Japanese. While China goes through the war with the Japanese, followed by the war between the Nationalists and Communists, there are tensions and betrayals in the lives of the sisters. The story is told by Hong, the daughter of Junan and Li Ang, who is trying to figure out what happened in the past to better understand why her family members are the way they are today. It's a story of betrayal and forgiveness, old China and new China, and what happens when a person doesn't forgive. It is a book of universal themes with a great deal of Chinese history intertwined. Once you start to read it is difficult to put the book down.