Reminiscent in many ways of Memoirs of a Geisha, this sweeping novelization of the life of painter Pan Yuliang follows her life in early 20th-century China after losing her parents and being sold into prostitution by her uncle. Catching the attention of customs official Pan Zanhua, who buys her out of servitude, Yuliang studies painting in raucous prewar Shanghai and then in 1920s Paris. Celebrated in Europe for her sensitive post-impressionist nudes, she returns to her homeland only to be branded a pornographer.
"Convincing historic[al] detail is woven throughout and nicely captures the plight of women in the era. [Jennifer Cody] Epstein's take on Yuliang's life is captivating to the last line."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)