A Chinese doctor in a southern English town, Lin Ju's solitary life is transformed when Lucy walks into her acupuncture clinic, and opens her heart. Lin Ju is in England to escape a failed marriage and the memory of her unwitting betrayal, as a child, of her beloved grandfather during the Cultural Revolution. She is also haunted by thoughts of her daughter, Tiantian, who has returned to China with her estranged husband. Lucy is a woman who has everything Lin Ju could wish for: a loving husband, a beautiful child, and a supportive extended family. Their friendship becomes a lifeline, but it also unlocks in Lin Ju the memories of the past she has strived so hard to bury.
Liu Hong was born in 1965 and grew up in the north-eastern province of Liaoning, near the Chinese-North Korean border. She studied English language and literature, before going to Beijing to work as an English teacher and translator. She came to Britain on an academic scholarship in 1989, and took an MA in social anthropology at Oxford. Since then she has worked as a Chinese teacher and as a translator. Liu Hong now lives in Wiltshire with her husband and their young family.