Pan Yuliang’s parents fall on hard times. At their deaths she goes to live with her uncle. He’s a man of intellect and something of a dreamer. He teaches her poetry, however, he’s also an opium addict. This addiction leads to his eventual ruin. In an effort to survive and pay off debts he sells Pan Yuliang to a brothel. She survives and we begin to see a natural gift for color and texture. She exhibits this in her choice of colors for scarves and dresses. While working in the brothel she meets Zanhua, who becomes her husband and savior. He teaches her to read and write. She finds herself drawn to the pictures in magazines and begins doodling. Jennifer Epstein takes the reader through these beginning stages in her development as an artist. We follow Pan Yuliang through the Shanghai Art Academy and then to art school in Paris. We learn of the controversy surrounding her art and see the turmoil her country is in throughtout most of the 20th century. This book is a learning experience and a wonderful read. I owe Ms. Epstein a debt of gratitude for sharing the story of this amazing painter with me. I hope you, too, will pick up this book and join Pan Yuliang’s journey.