I just finished reading SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN by Lisa See and WOW, what an amazing book! It seriously was one of those books that you just can't stop reading, even though you should be working on your own books. A fascinating and beautiful story. I'll admit, just looking at the cover the title was a bit odd to me and the fan image didn't draw me in. Had I just walked by it in the story I likely wouldn't have picked the book up. But it's a word-of-mouth type of book and I'm telling you, you've gotta read it. Here's a description from Lisa's Web site:
"A language kept a secret for a thousand years forms the backdrop for an unforgettable novel of two Chinese women whose friendship and love sustains them through their lives.