Four Girl is unwanted and unloved by her family. Seen as a demon-child, her family practically gives her up as a lost cause. Four girl, searching for acceptance discovers catholic missionaries near her small Chinese village. After one exceptionally harsh experience with her grandfather, Four runs into the forest and sees a vision of Jeanne D'Arc. As Four distances herself from her family, and grows closer to the missionaries visions of Jeanne come more often, offering peace and guidance.
When her family discovers that Four plans to convert to Catholicism, the beat her, and Four, now christened Vibiana, runs away to work at the Catholic orphanage. Mostly lost in a sea of tales and saints, Vibiana doesn't understand most of her new faith, but she understands the acceptance she feels. Visions of the Maid of Orleans continue and Vibiana decides they are a sign she is supposed to be a woman warrior like Jeanne and convinces another convert, and former bandit to teach her the sword.
As the Boxer Rebellion rages in China, hunting down Christians and foreigners, Vibiana fears for the safety of her adopted family. Yang has a simple illustration style that keeps the reader visually engaged with bold lines and eye-catching use of color.
The story is a bit confusing, and feels disjointed at times, but picks up after Vibiana leaves her family and becomes easier to follow. Short and bittersweet this book leaves the reader wanting. Perhaps reading the companion novel Boxers will fulfill that need.