I usually like Farmer's works, but this story was just a miss for me. The heroine, Liu Meizhen, had a interesting back story but she acted too much like a giggling schoolgirl rather than a woman who journeyed so far to 1) find her brother (who is an asshole) and 2) be a mail order bride. Woody Burnside was a great beta hero who was a bit Dr. Doolittle but was very needed and wanted in the town for his talents with animals. The hens are Woody's pets and they were more of a help to him than the heroine was. The pacing dragged, especially in the beginning. It was just alright to me.