This was an unusual read with a highly moral message. I enjoyed the narration of the audio version by Kieren Metts but I wasn't so taken with the story itself.
Set in 1880 in Fresno, California, the narrative is based around an immigrant Chinese family. Topaz Woo is just seventeen when she dies in childbirth, leaving the newborn Jas without a mother. Topaz's spirit does not want to abandon her young daughter, so she is given the option of watching her child growing up in return for teaching her the ten commandments. Topaz is barely able to make her presence known but a guardian angel oversees the education of the commandments in the manner that Topaz decrees.
Implication of the initial commandments seems fairly innocuous but the later ones appear to have a more far-reaching effect. For example the commandment, 'you will not covet other people's belongings'. Topaz decides this will be enforced by only allowing Jas to use her own possessions, in response to which Jas starts labeling everything she deems belongs to her, including her new school friend.
Actually I found the ten commandments a bit irritating, especially when I knew that if we were only on number five, we still had five more to go.
One of my main problems with the book was that I was expecting historical fiction, but although it was ostensibly set in 1880, it could equally well have been a current story, there was absolutely nothing that fixed it in any time period for me.
Not a book I was tempted to abandon, but equally, not something that particularly grabbed me.
Beautiful cover though!