Tan Yunxian was born into an aristocratic family in 15th-century China. She lived a sheltered life within her family compound. After having her feet bound, she was raised to marry and give birth to a son. But once her mother died, she was sent to live with her paternal grandparents, both doctors. Yunxian had a unique opportunity to learn and discovered that she had a great talent for healing. Her wise grandmother paired her with Meiling, the daughter of Midwife Shi. Meiling was training to be a midwife. And while their friendship was not proper, based on their stations in life, the two became as close as sisters. Once both girls married, they were separated and Yunxian was forced into a life that did not allow her to practice medicine. Male doctors would only treat women by talking through a curtain. Yunxian could not accept this practice and found a way to serve other women even though she was forbidden by her strict mother-in-law.
In Lady Tan's Circle of Women, author Lisa See has taken the real-life Tan Yunxian and has brought her story to life as there was little information about her other than the case studies in her book Miscellaneous Records of a Female Doctor. In a time when women had few freedoms, it was enlightening to learn about Yunxian Tan as well as the women who supported her and helped her to rise to greatness. Get ready to be transported into a way of life so different from our own. However, the importance of female friendship is one that has endured throughout the ages. There's a lot to absorb in this book making it a relatively slow read but it is worth taking the time to savor it.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: June 6, 2023.
Please "like" this post if Lady Tan's Circle of Women sounds like a book you might like to read. I'd love to know. Scroll below the photo and click on the red outlined heart on the lower right-hand side of the page. Comments can also be left below.