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PEONY IN LOVE by: Lisa See August 20, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.

     This is a very unusual historical novel about a man and his three wives set in 17th century China when the Manchus seized power. The story is borrowed from PEONY PAVILLION, an opera first produced in 1598, and a 1694 book, THE THREE WIVES’ COMMENTARY, but blended with folklore so the first wife narrates the story from beyond the grave as she wanders forever, a hungry spirit not being fed by her family. The book is executed magnificently, as are all of See’s works, and there is much in this novel to teach the reader about Chinese history and tradition.
     Lisa See, the daughter of American missionaries, was raised in China and her books are wonderful sources by which to study the Chinese culture. This novel is more fantastic in nature than any of her other books, which, except for her biography, are classified as historical fiction. She is a talented writer and I’ve found every one of her selections to be a delight. So if the thought of a ghost narrating the story turns you off, by all means try another of See’s unique, intelligent and fascinating works .



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