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My Fair Concubine by Jeannie Lin

My Fair Concubine

by Jeannie Lin

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848143,474 (3.42)3



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To truly enjoy this novel to its fullest, you have to not just like the time it’s set in, but you have to love it, or at least be intrigued by it. The setting is a character in itself. China’s Tang Dynasty is a period regarded as a high point in Chinese civilization: a golden age of cosmopolitan culture and was largely a period of progress and stability.

Ms. Lin has this wonderful way of taking you on an adventure you’ll be hard pressed to leave at the end of the telling of the tale. And that’s only the beginning! You’ll love the characterization of not just the main characters but all the people that come in and out of their adventure.

For a fun, clever and sweeping romance, this one is a must!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
( )
  bookworm2bookworm | Mar 30, 2017 |
My fair lady set in China. Meh. I didn't really get into it. Fei Long hides everything. He can't let anyone in. I liked the resolution at the end ( )
  nx74defiant | Jul 25, 2016 |
I liked this one for the simply reason that it was so different from the historical romance that I have read before. I loved going back to China 800 AD and experiencing something totally new. The clothes, the manners everything needed to transport me there.

The story is a take on my fair lady as Fei Long needs a"princess" and fast. So he takes on Yan Ling and tries to teach her etiquette and everything else needed. She is to be a peace bride and sent away to distant lands. The whole princess part is not really true as the Emperor has found ways to cheat sending his own daughters and instead he can make a high ranking nobleman's daughter a princess. Still Yan Ling has a long way to go, or at least cheat her way through as what would her family know in the end.

Yan Ling saw a way to a new life and who can blame her. She is also strong and speaks her mind. Even if she tries her best not to. While our hero Fei Ling is quiet, strong, proud and wants to the best for his family so they will not be ruined.

And of course they fall in love, but slowly, and it takes time as they are from two different worlds. They are careful about their true emotions as they should be. It's a delicate dance as they both have their duty to fulfill and that is not to love each other.

I really must read more by her after this. I wish all historical romances could be this different, new and wonderful. I fear I have been stuck in regency land way too long, or playing with Highlanders.

A wonderful story in a rich setting. ( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
Two things about this novel caught my eye when I saw it on my Goodreads friends list feed. First, it's set during China's Tang Dynasty, around 800 AD. It's a period I have some fondness for, having imprinted as a teen on Van Gulik's Judge Dee mysteries set in that place and era. And to my mind far too few works of historical fiction available here in America are set outside the Anglo-American world, never mind Asia. Second, it was reviewed by a friend of that friend who is very picky. Indeed, she's notable for often being scathingly, often hilariously, acerbic in her reviews. So when she gave this book five stars my eyebrow went way up and I hunted this down.

I don't rate this as highly no. I did very much like the way Lin evoked the place and time, at least in terms of physical details. I don't know though that the culture felt foreign enough though given the distance we're traveling to a China of the eighth century in the way of the best historical fiction I've read. It doesn't for me distinguish itself in style, which is not elegant, even if readable, in characters, which are likable but not to my mind distinctive enough to linger in my mind, and I found the plot predictable--I saw the resolution coming miles away. There were no passages that evoked writer's envy or tempted me to mark pages. Compare that to Crusie's Bet Me, the prize among books I've read in the romance category, with lots of elements and lines that linger in memory, which made me laugh and made me cry: that I rated five stars.

Mind you, given this is a Harlequin Romance imprint, never mind genre romance, I'm tempted to give My Fair Concubine five stars, because grading on a curve, this would be one of the best books I've read in the genre. I'm a sap that relishes a good love story, but it's rare that I've ever found anything in the romance aisle that I haven't found gag-worthy. And because I think there are good stories in every genre and I do enjoy love stories--the ones I love generally being found in other areas of the store--I have tried, going through more than one romance recommendation list. Other than Jennifer Crusie, I have yet to read a living romance author I'd be tempted to read a second time. Given the too-many-books, too-little time principle, I'm not sure Lin is another exception, which is why four stars feels too generous, if three stars given how much I enjoyed it a bit stingy.

But I did tear through the story and I did enjoy the ride. So if you think you'd enjoy a solidly written romance set in a far off time and place, yes, I'd recommend this novel. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Mar 30, 2014 |
Reads like a romance set in the world of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the like, entertaining version of a world that probably never was but is entertaining and feels fairly authentic (not being a scholar of that area in that time I can't absolutely vouch for the accuracy but it doesn't feel full of modern anachronisms). This is a story of a brother who, out of love, lets his sister stay with the man she loves rather than force her to marry, however this leaves him with a problem, if someone doesn't go who appears to be his sister he will lose face. The Tea Girl at the inn he stays in appears to be very much like his sister and in a Pygmalion/My Fair Lady moment he decides to transform her into a lady and save face. He doesn't expect that love would complicate things, nor does she.

I liked it and did figure out the twist from fairly early on, and liked how it all worked. A nice story with characters I enjoyed spending time with. Like some other reviews I've seen I don't understand the title, it has no real association with the story. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Nov 26, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0373296940, Mass Market Paperback)

THE NOBLEMAN WHO TURNED A TEA GIRL INTO A PRINCESS...Yan Ling tries hard to be servile - it's what's expected of a girl of her class. Being intelligent and strong-minded, she finds it a constant battle...Proud Fei Long is unimpressed by her spirit - until he realises she's the answer to his problems...He has to deliver the Emperor a 'princess'. Can he train a tea girl to pass as a noblewoman in two months? Yet it's hard to teach good etiquette when all Fei Long wants to do is break it, by taking this tea girl for his own...'Beautifully written, deliciously sensual, and rich with Tang Dynasty historical and political detail...Exceptional.' - Library Journal on The Dragon and the Pearl

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:52 -0400)

"Yan Ling tries hard to be servile-it's what's expected of a girl of her class. Being intelligent and strong-minded, she finds it a constant battle. Proud Fei Long is unimpressed by her spirit - until he realizes she's the answer to his problems. He has to deliver the emperor a "princess." In two months can he train a tea girl to pass as a noblewoman? Yet it's hard to teach good etiquette when all Fei Long wants to do is break it, by taking this tea girl for his own"-- Cover verso… (more)

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