Monday, 29 October 2012

Book Review: Peony In Love - Lisa See

Synopsis - Peony has neither seen nor spoken to any man other than her father, a wealthy Chinese nobleman.  Nor has she ever ventured outside the cloistered women's quarters of the family villa.  As her sixteenth birthday approaches she finds herself betrothed to a man she does not know, but Peony has dreams of her own.

Her father engages a theatrical troupe to perform scenes from The Peony Pavilion, a Chinese epic opera, in their garden amidst the scent of ginger, green tea and jasmine.  'Unmarried girls should not be seen in public,' says Peony's mother.  Here, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man and is immediately bewitched.  So begins her unforgettable journey of love, desire, sorrow and redemption.

Review - A sad and beautifully poignant tale.  Classed as historical fiction from the history, customs of the time and the traditional beliefs held.  Chinese history is steeped in mystical beliefs, warding off spirits and of course their ancient traditional herbal medicines which are used today both in the east and west.

We see a young girl brought up to be so correct that it causes her distress, not allowed to see the man she is to marry she is unable to learn the truth about her husband to be.  The cousins and the young girl Tan Ze whose father is of such high power are at all the families pre wedding events and they are all so jealous making Peony's life difficult.  She has no friends and becomes dangerously ill but has no one to help her.  Her Mother is so steeped in tradition and locked down herself after all that happened to her earlier in life, that she can be of no help and even makes Peony's condition worse.

Have a packet of tissues handy, you will need them!  4*

ISBN 978-0-7475-9273-0

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