Snow Flower and Lily stay in touch and write to each other secretly about their husbands, their children, their mothers-in-law. And it is interesting. I love reading about the day-to-day lives of women from other times and places - the way they are required to pin their hair, what they eat, what they wear. (But oh - the footbinding! Gruesome and awful. I suppose it's more awful because it's all customary.) But even though I enjoyed the details, I did not seem to get as wrapped up in the relationship as I was supposed to. Maybe I have a cold, hard heart, or I just don't appreciate the gravity of certain 19th-century Chinese customs (I'll readily admit that), but I did not empathize with the DARK SINS they committed against one another in their later years. I saw no need for the rending of garments.
But overall I did like the book well enough, and I know my lukewarm reception of it is in the minority. I'm glad I read it, if only for the details on foot binding. Did you know the ideal was to mold a lady's foot so that it was no longer than 7 cm?! Seven centimeters is as long as my thumb. That is gnarly.
So this is a book in which basically our protagonist feels unhappy with her grown-up suburban mom life until one day she gets some insane massage which somehow sends her back in time (5 years. Not that far back.) to see if she should have taken a different path/different man. Okay, I'm game.