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Peony in Love by Lisa See
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Peony in Love (2007)

by Lisa See

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,7831353,023 (3.58)196
  1. 51
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (emib, mcdougaldd)
    mcdougaldd: Both are about women's roles in 17th century China. The author is very good at describing the times and attitudes.
  2. 41
    Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (leahsimone)
  3. 41
    Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (leahsimone)
  4. 20
    The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Different premise but makes use of what happens to souls in the afterlife
  5. 20
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (leahsimone)
  6. 00
    The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (library_gal)
  7. 11
    Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Ghosts reach into our world to complete tasks left undone
  8. 00
    The Secrets of Jin-shei by Alma Alexander (Yorkist)
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» See also 196 mentions

English (135)  German (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
Not as wonderful as Snowflower...but still very interesting and engaging. Some parts dragged, some were repetitive, but it was still a good read. I liked it much, much more after reading the Afterword, where I learned how much of the story was based on real people and traditions! Read the Afterword first! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Read the first hundred small-print pages, skimmed the rest. Dreary. ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
Quick read. Wondering if some of the alluded-to verses are in my premodern Chinese lit books (though maybe not- is 1600s considered premodern?)A bit of a love story, a bit of a ghost story, with a root in historical fact. ( )
  Daumari | Dec 30, 2017 |
Listened to this book on CD...beautiful. ( )
  lissabeth21 | Oct 3, 2017 |
The author's research on these obscure and ancient subjects was amazing, as was the bounty of rich details in this book. The story takes place in 17th century China, around the fall of the Ming dynasty, during the Manchu invasion and into the Qing dynasty. I strongly urge readers to first read about this book on Lisa See's website before embarking on the story. The history behind the story will add a lot to the reader's enjoyment and understanding. I did this about halfway through the book and wished I'd done it sooner.

I listened to this book on CD and the reader was excellent. The historical information followed at the end and it would have been better placed at the beginning. At first, I wasn't sure what to think of the book, before understanding some of the history. Peony, the main character, dies and continues to narrate in ghost form. However, this is a significant part of the history, beliefs, customs, and rituals of the time and is a clever way to introduce and expound upon them.

The story won't go down as one of my favorites, but it may be one of the more memorable. It's basically a love story and also a coming-of-age and maturing story, but more than that, it's a historical account of what life was like for women in this era in China. I don't read love stories unless there's something else compelling about the book -- something more than another darn love story. This book is so much more. I learned a whole lot of history. The foot binding scenes are grueling and enlightening.

I understand the author likes to tell the forgotten stories, the ones that are little-known. I applaud her for telling the women's stories, many of which were destroyed over the centuries. She turned research material into a history lesson and a story. It's wonderful really, whether you like the story or not. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
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For BOB LOOMIS, in celebration of his fifty years at Random House
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Two days before my sixteenth birthday, I woke up so early that my maid was still asleep on the floor at the foot of my bed.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812975227, Paperback)

“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.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from a famed opera rumored to cause love sickness and even death. Peony attends the production, watching from behind a screen, but catches sight of a handsome man and begins a journey of love and sorrow.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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