Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: Peony In Love by Lisa See

Peony in Love is filled with Chinese customs, beliefs and history. Lisa See wove this story together with a very different perspective than ever before and does an incredible job teaching us about the opera "The Peony Pavilion", the history of "The Three Wives' Commentary", the social changes that allowed it to be written and the desire of all women to be heard.  

Even though the majority of the book is told by a ghost, it is because she is a ghost that you learn so much about the Chinese customs regarding death.  Truly I found the book very interesting and really enjoyed it.  I cannot wait to discuss this novel at book club and hear their perspectives.

Lisa See is a great author and this is the fourth book I have read from her.  Read Peony in Love with an open mind and I think you will truly enjoy, turning the page.

SYNOPSIS by Barnes & Noble
“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.
RATING - 3 1/2 STARS - I Liked It

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