On a trip to Chinatown, thirteen-year-old Jasmine steps through a doorway back in time and finds herself in the 1880s.
Jasmine is not sure she likes the idea of being stuck in Victoria while her father goes to China. But on a field trip to Chinatown, she changes her mind. Passing through a doorway in Fan Tan Alley, she mysteriously finds herself in the early 1880s. Adventure begins with a new friend, a journey to the Fraser Canyon during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and a search for an ancient amulet. But Jasmine is not the only one searching for the white jade tiger…
The text is a traditional third person past narrative, usually focalized through the central character, Jasmine, but frequently interspersing sections involving not only Keung, a Chinese boy who comes to BC to find his father in the nineteenth century but also other Chinese characters connected to Keung, such as his ancestress Bright Jade, and ones describing the spirit of white jade tiger of the title–a piece of jade in the shape of a tiger, but representing something larger than that–the fortune of a village and a family, ruined because the white jade tiger has been stolen form its required resitng place. Most of these sections are separate, but there are a few places here and there where the focalization shifts from Jasmine to Keung within a section.