If you want to read/understand about China without it being 'helped' (all pun intended towards "The Help") along by strange, stilted "orientalist" notions of how it used to be in the old times, this would NOT be the book/series to read.
As an articulate asian (from Singapore), it pains me to read such trash passing off as historic fiction/filtered through what are very much western eyes (doesn't matter if the writer knows Amy Tan or has See as a surname) and targeted to what are clearly western notions of how people behaved in China. This novel just brings back horrible memories of watching Pearl S Buck's "The Good Earth" acted by actors forced to be asian when clearly they're not.
Likewise, this novel is written in such a crude/sing-song fashion as to mock the very people it is trying to depict.
If one is to choose a clothing analogy, it's like Shanghai Tang trying to represent Chinese fashion.
This novel is a pastiche/travesty and shame on Bloomsbury for allowing such rubbish to be published.