Peony in Love
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BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Lisa See's Shanghai Girls.
“I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.”
For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.
Peony’s mother is against her daughter’ s attending the production: “Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.” But Peony’ s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave–and is immediately overcome with emotion.
So begins Peony’s unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow–as Lisa See’s haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.
Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place–even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one’ s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa See’s new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
I wish I had downloaded the sample first instead of buying the book immediately. I'm a fan of the author so I thought I would really like this novel but was disappointed in the main character. I don't want to give anything away so I won't go into detail but I thought it was boring.
Intense and Captivating
The followup to "Snowflower" is different but does not disappoint. Another beautiful rendering by Lisa See which places you intensely in the world of the main character. My heart was pounding as Peony took me through her life and captivated me with her emotion, desire and passion. Another beautiful story leaving me wanting the next book!
One of my favorite books
The themes in this book are a little more complex than some of her others but I think that's what made this book special for me. It took the concept of love so much further than your ordinary story. As the Caucasian mother of four children from China I've always been deeply interested in Chinese culture and history and this book brought much of it to life. After reading Peony I also finally understand the Chinese concept of Hungry Ghost. If you like historical fiction and lots of raw emotion and struggle you will enjoy this book. The book moves similar to the emotions of the characters and is not for those looking for fast paced romance novel. You need to savor this one to enjoy it.