Kim opens a window into a vanished world in this sensitively rendered homage to her mother's life. As Najin comes of age in early-twentieth century Korea, her father, an aristocratic calligrapher, is consumed with maintaining the traditional cultural and familial status quo, an increasingly difficult task in light of the oppressive Japanese occupation of his beloved homeland. When Najin's mother unexpectedly defies her husband, who has arranged a marriage for their daughter, Najin is sent to the royal court to serve as companion to the royal princess. When the royal house is toppled, Najin struggles to define her own destiny in an era characterized by ever-increasing confusion and uncertainty. Najin's harrowing personal odyssey reflects the tumult of an entire nation on the brink of major social and political transformations. Fans of Lisa See's recently published SHANGHAI GIRLS (2009) will be drawn into this achingly beautiful tribute to female perseverance and survival.