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Peony in Love by Lisa See

Peony in Love (2007)

by Lisa See

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4721172,481 (3.56)191
  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
    Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (leahsimone)
  3. 41
    Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (leahsimone)
  4. 20
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (leahsimone)
  5. 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
  6. 21
    The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan (loriephillips)
  7. 00
    The Secrets of Jin-shei by Alma Alexander (Yorkist)
  8. 11
    Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Ghosts reach into our world to complete tasks left undone

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» See also 191 mentions

English (117)  German (1)  All languages (118)
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
Picked up at a thrift store to bookcross and share. Trade paperback with bent corner from careless shelver.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Peony is a young girl growing up in the sequestered world of her father's house in 17th century China. On her 16th birthday her father arranges for her to see a performance of her favorite play the Peony Pavilion. It is a controversial play because its subject is a young woman who chooses her own course in love.

Peony is inspired by the play's movements because she also longs to make her own love choices. She is shortly to be married to a man that she has never seen or met. Then something amazing happens: she meets a stranger in her father's garden. Both she and the young man have stepped away from the performance and they continue to meet in secret to discuss their personal thoughts on the play. Peony is in love, but cannot be with her chosen one. Love and obsession consume her.

This is unlike any love story I have ever read. Everyone agrees that death cannot stop love, but this novel actually takes us into the afterlife. We are plunged deep into the world of ghosts, where feelings in life are even stronger and more ravenous. A beautiful story about love, feminine strength, and the deep relationships maintained between mother and daughter. ( )
  Juva | Apr 7, 2015 |
I almost didn't finish this book; the first part was really tough to get through. I was surprised because I like Lisa See. I read a few other reviews to see if my judgment was way off the mark, and several others commented that it got much better after part 2. I completely agree with that - it was almost as if another author wrote the first part.

I'm glad I stuck with it though. The novel as a whole was a very informative review of ancient Chinese culture and told in a very refreshing manner. I enjoyed it. ( )
  carebear10712 | Dec 31, 2014 |
Peony in Love is one of my favorite novels of the last decade. It’s a poetic, beautifully written journey; a Chinese ghost story that draws you past the thin veil between life and death into the Chinese culture of ghosts. With passions that transcend time and death, Peony in Love is poetry. I was sad when I finished it because I didn’t want to leave the story. ( )
  mindyshalleck | Oct 29, 2014 |
3.5 stars

Peony is only a few days from her 16th birthday when she meets the man she falls hard for and he for her. Unfortunately, this is 17th century China and she is betrothed (as is he).

I didn't want to say too much in the summary so as to give anything away. Overall, I liked the book. It wasn't fast-moving. I was a bit bored with all the comparisons to the opera, but I liked the rest of the story. It was interesting to read the author's note (and interview) at the end of my edition to find out that this story was based on real people. ( )
  LibraryCin | Sep 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 117 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:39 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In seventeenth-century China, three women become emotionally involved with "The Peony Pavilion," a famed opera rumored to cause lovesickness and even death.

» see all 5 descriptions

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Average: (3.56)
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1.5 7
2 57
2.5 22
3 190
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