Mei Chen is the apple of her parents’ eyes. As she grows up in 1930s Dong City, China, she is loved, cherished, and spoiled by her parents who value education above everything else and hope their daughter will one day attend a prestigious university. Mei’s childhood is idyllic—until Japan invades China and sets both her and her family down an unexpected path full of obstacles.
As Mei matures into a beautiful thirteen-year-old, she becomes engaged to a thirty-year-old college professor with the hope that she can save her family from more heartache. After she and Linkan Wang eventually marry, Mei gives birth to twin girls, Xiaoluo and Xiaojia, in 1947 and does her best to raise them through turbulent, dangerous times. As destiny leads the twins to eventually immigrate to San Francisco without knowing the language, Shan Shan and Shui Shui must somehow survive the cultural revolution and a conflicting relationship between their native country and the United States to achieve their dreams.
In this poignant tale of love and loss, a mother and her twin daughters must rely on their inner-strength and courage to persevere through hardships within both China and the United States.