This, much like many of the other posts, is long over due.
There is something about unraveling a mysterious past, discovering the origin of seemingly inexplicable habits and finally getting all the answers, that I find incredibly appealing and irresistible. Plus, the telling of a story within a story within a story, and the completely satisfying wrapping up and tying all loose ends by the conclusion - I have not a single complaint about this book.
I cannot decide if the main protagonist should be Ruth, the typical modern working woman with a live-in boyfriend and his two daughters from a previous marriage, or LuLing, her immigrant mother with a seemingly closed mind and strict adherence to Chinese tradition and superstition. The title, however, really refers to the enigmatic Precious Auntie, LuLing's disfigured nursemaid, who, within the first few pages of the book, is revealed to be her mother.
The story begins with that of Ruth - her busy days managing her work, family and her mother's increasing forgetfulness suggesting of dementia. Flashbacks include scenes from her childhood with her mother as a single parent and her mother's many peculiarities which she couldn't understand nor accept. These are eventually explained through LuLing's telling of her story growing up in Immortal Heart, a small village in rural pre-WWII China. Within her narration, the heartbreaking tale of Precious Auntie is unfolded.
Thereon, the dots start connecting, and there was no way I could put the book down till the end...