Usually I'm a big Amy Tan fan but this book was a huge miss with me. While the stylist writing was occasionally a reason, it was more so due to the relationship(or lack thereof) between Olivia and Kwan.
Olivia treated Kwan horribly. While I understand that accepting the fact that your father has another child from a marriage that took place before he met your mother, especially when you're already the least favorite child, it hard to accept. I don't feel that justifies a lot of the stuff that Olivia did to Kwan. Olivia, even into adulthood, was kind of terrible to her.
Kwan, on the other hand, pretty much accepted all of Olivia's treatment. I wasn't really sure if this was because she saw Olivia as her sister and that bond between them was just that strong, or because she felt that she owed her in some way or another.
Fantasy and history play part into this book. Mostly in the form of ghosts/ghost-viewing/viewing past lives. Sometimes it was hard to tell when a character was still alive(and the characters were speaking to the actual person)or if they were dead(and talking to their ghost). For the most part, the transitions from present to past were smooth but there were a few times that the switch was hard to pin-point. For example, some of the chapters started in Olivia's perspective, switched to Kwan's, and then to the past character. It would take a minute to figure this out.
Again, I'm usually a huge Tan fan but this particular was a miss with me.