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Chinese Cinderella is set in China during the Second World War. Adeline's family is wealthy and powerful; the story begins in Tianjin, but they later move to Shanghai and then Hong Kong.
Some details about the setting which make the times and characters seem real would include things from the Chinese culture such as foot binding and origami. The reader also learns about the status of women in Chinese culture at the time. Men were valued far more highly than women, and the treatment of women/ young girls reflects this.