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The Ghost Bride

A Novel

Yangsze Choo

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

A startlingly original voice makes her literary debut with this wondrous coming-of-age story infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, adventure, and fascinating, dreamlike twists

One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride. . . .

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, traditional ghost marriages are used to placate restless spirits. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits, and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jun 10, 2013 – In her debut novel, Choo tells the unlikely story of a young Chinese woman who marries a dead man. No, this is not a tale of vampires or zombies, but of an ancient custom among the Chinese in Malaysia called “spirit marriage.” Set in 1893 colonial Malacca, the novel follows 17-year-old Li Lan, who, like other young women her age, hopes for a lucky and prosperous marriage. The wealthy Lim family’s proposal seems to be a great stroke of luck—until Li discovers that their son, Lim Tian Ching, is already dead, stricken by fever months ago. Li’s father refuses the offer, but even the prospect of marriage forces her to confront the fact that she and her father are in danger of losing the comfortable middle-class life they once enjoyed. Madam Lim presses her case during the day, Lim Tian haunts Li’s dreams from the afterlife, and she pines for another suitor altogether—Lim’s cousin Tian Bai. When Li falls ill, she plunges into the world of the Chinese afterlife, complete with ghost cities, servants, and its own bureaucracy. Choo’s clear and charming style creates an alternate reality where the stakes are just as high as in the real world, combining grounded period storytelling with the supernatural.

Customer Reviews

Great story

This is a fascinating story. It was an excellent way of explaining many Chinese customs surrounding death, funerals, and afterlife. Brilliant imagery, poetic descriptions, and growth of the protagonist. You are able to see the growth of a young girl into a young woman. Loved it!

Wonderful Read

I truly enjoyed this wonderful read. I basically couldn't put this book down I was too interested to see what was happening. I felt it bog down a little bit when the heroine was in the plains of the dead, but I was very interested of the characters and characterizations. This very different story is a wonderful look at Asian life at that time. The fanciful storytelling of the young woman about to be a bride the deceased bridegroom's ghost is most unusual. I truly recommend this book. My thanks to the author also created afterword so that I knew what the culture was like, how to pronounce names, and the lore behind this type of practice. I find it all very fascinating!

Wonderful and unique story

Enjoyed the author's creative interpretation of Chinese customs and believes. The best fiction I've read in recent years.

The Ghost Bride
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Aug 06, 2013
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings