Hong Ying is a controversial Chinese author who is known for her honest work focusing on the sexuality of women in China, both the positive and negative aspects. In her new work, Ying introduces us the world of the concubine - the women who lived in brothels (many times because they have been sold by their families into sexual slavery) and were at the mercy of powerful men and brothel owners. Ying's heroine is a woman sold into sexual slavery to a Shanghai brothel; she finds herself in love with a powerful member of the Chinese Triad, a mob organization that controlled illegal activities in China. When her lover is killed in front of her, she is left out in the cold and must fend for herself. A strong woman who can only rely on her sexuality to survive in the China of the 19th Century, the story spans a huge historic period as the reader journeys through her life. Ying's beautiful, poetic writings keeps the reader intrigued and devoted. We want our heroine to succeed and overcome. This is a beautiful book with import that should be read by all.