YOUNG XING XING IS BOUND. Bound to her late fathers second wife and daughter. Bound to a life of servitude as a young girl in ancient China, where a woman is valued less than livestock.
Bound to be alone, with no parents to arrange for a suitable husband. Xing Xing spends her days taking care of her half sister, Wei Ping, who cannot walk because of her foot bindings, the painful tradition for girls who are fit to be married. Even so, Xing Xing is content to practice her gift for poetry and calligraphy, and to dream of a life unbound by the laws of family and society.
But all of this is about to change as Stepmother, who has spent nearly all of the familys money, grows desperate to find a husband for Wei Ping. Xing Xing soon realizes that this greed and desperation may threaten not only her memories of the past, but also her dreams for the future. In a novel based on Chinese Cinderella tales, fourteen-year-old stepchild Xing-Xing endures a life of neglect and servitude, as her stepmother cruelly mutilates her own childs feet so that she alone might marry well.