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The Ghost Bride [Paperback]

Yangsze Choo
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Aug 2013
Seventeen-year-old Li Lan lives in 1890s Malaya with her quietly-ruined father, who returns one evening with a proposition - the fabulously wealthy Lim family want Li Lan to marry their son. The only problem is, he's dead. After a fateful visit to the Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir. At night she is drawn into the Chinese afterlife - a world of ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, monstrous bureaucracy and vengeful spirits. Enlisting the help of mysterious Er Lang (a dragon turned clerk) Li Lan must uncover the secrets of the ghost world - before she becomes trapped there forever. Drawing on traditional Malayan folklore and superstition, The Ghost Bride is a haunting, exotic and romantic read perfect for fans of Empress Orchid and Memoirs of a Geisha.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hot Key Books (1 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471400794
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471400797
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Yangsze Choo is a fourth generation Malaysian of Chinese descent. Due to a childhood spent in various countries such as Germany and Japan, she can eavesdrop (badly) in several languages. After graduating from Harvard University, she worked as a management consultant before writing her first novel. THE GHOST BRIDE, set in colonial Malaya and the elaborate Chinese world of the afterlife, is about a peculiar historic custom called a spirit marriage.Yangsze lives in California with her husband, two children, and a potential rabbit. She loves to eat and read, and often does both at the same time. You can follow her at or on Twitter: @yangszechoo.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
'The Ghost Bride', by Yangsze Choo, begins as though it were a piece of historical fiction. However, like the characters involved in the story, it soon begins to cross over between the worlds of the living and the dead, between history and fantasy. Yangsze has blended a well-researched background in the Chinese community of 1890s Malaya, with equally convincing portrayals of parts of the world of the dead, as conceived by the people of that place and time.

As she explains in the author's note, these beliefs about the dead differed in certain respects from those held in mainland China, and did not comprise a consistent "theology". Rather like the ancient Egyptian ideas that I am more familiar with, there was a collection of disparate tales and images. These provide windows of insight into a vivid and credible world of experience, but not a systematic attempt to catalogue it. Indeed, I was struck by the many ways in which the Chinese images dovetailed with the much older Egyptian ones: no doubt there is a fascinating field of study there!

Back to the story. This combines elements of several different genres, all told in first person perspective. The main character is centrally involved with a detective mystery, a coming of age tale, a gently-sketched romance, and a spiritual hero quest. Of these, I personally found the whodunit aspect the least convincing, and it seemed to rely rather too much for my taste on coincidental discovery and good fortune rather than skill. But in contrast, the personal and spiritual explorations were riveting, and at times beautifully lyrical in their descriptions. I was completely captivated by the images and concepts presented.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed! 30 Aug 2013
By Ali78
Format:Kindle Edition
I was so excited about reading this book, that I raced through the book I was currently reading in order to start it.
I was lead to believe that if I liked Arthur goldens Memoirs of a Geisha than I would also love this.
It started so well, it is beautifully written, and I was intrigued about the story and how it would develop. However I found the middle section of the book frustrating and far too long winded and unnecessarily descriptive.
I actually found myself shouting at the main character Li Lan!
I can't say it was a bad book it was ok but not as good as it wAs hyped.
I was left racing through this book in order just to get it over with!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book 27 Aug 2013
By nichola
Format:Kindle Edition
From the minute I started reading I was hooked and just couldn't put it down. The best bits are all the small details of Chinese superstition and the way the author sucks you in to another world with a story of the Chinese afterlife. I really hope that the author indulges us in a sequel haven't enjoyed a book this much in a while brilliant .
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4.0 out of 5 stars absorbing 2 July 2014
By Jane H.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story takes you on its journey through the real and spiritual world of an old but relevant Chinese culture, the plots only flaw is that much of story is blind luck yet it is Still absorbing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful ghostly tale... 10 Jun 2014
By Yaomei
It didn't take me long to barrel my way through this captivating tale of love, mystery and fantasy cast between reality and a supernatural realm. The book took many surprising turns from start to finish, much of which I found very engaging as I was carried along Li Lan's journey into the unknown. What might have started out as something of a very straightforward tale, quickly plunges you into something otherworldly and layered in intrigue. At first, I found early in the story that it shared some slight similarities with another novel, 'Peony in Love' by Lisa See - but of course, the situations born of Li Lan's struggle is a far different tale not solely based on love, and instead follows Li Lan's development as a woman as she learns about freedom, death and truth. Nothing is ever so neatly packaged in this story, and it was nice to see there was a lot of thought and depth given to characters, situations and the world beyond the living. What you might expect to happen, doesn't always follow through. Li Lan's character showed the vulnerabilities of a sheltered young woman venturing out into the big, wide world alone, as well as her keen intelligence and strength of will to push forward even though adversity - though she does get some helping hands along the way, whose presence strengthen her journey of independance.

Would I recommend this book? Highly. If you love Asian culture stories of times gone by and/or supernatural tales, this is a suitably enjoyable tale to get your teeth into.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bought to review 31 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this to review for a new literary magazine and absolutely loved its Eastern magicalism. Well written, with an unusual romance, I would really recommend this, especially as a summer read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious and Beautiful 25 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Part-history, part-fantasy, this is a beautiful tale about tradition, family loyalty, jealousy and ghosts. Li Lan is a young woman growing up in British Malaya as part of a Chinese community. She is surrounded by superstition and traditions of the ways of the ancestors and the way things should be done. Yet her father hasn't raised her to be a good young bride - he's educated her and given her a taste of the wider world.

So when he offers her the chance to become a ghost bride to the recently deceased heir of a rich house, it's understandable that she doesn't believe him. At least, not at first. But as Li Lan is slowly drawn into the dark world of the Lim family, and the mad obsessions of the ghostly Lim Tian Ching there's little her education can do to protect her.

Beautifully researched, yet full of incredible imagination, I really loved how this story unfolded. On the surface it might seem simple - young girl is promised to one son, but falls in love with another, with the added twist of ghosts - but it's so much more than that. The dreams, the ghostly world, the Plains of the Dead and the ever-mysterious Er Lang see to that.

True, at one point I felt rather disappointed at the way I thought things were going. I couldn't understand some of Li Lan's decisions and choices, but I should have had faith. Nothing in this story is anything like as straight forward or expected as it first appears.

If you're interested in other cultures and love to delve into mysterious fantasy worlds, then you should enjoy this. Be prepared to be enraptured, surprised and entertained in turn. Beautiful, clever and mysterious, an excellent debut.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An enchanting read!
The Ghost Bride is a magical story of self-discovery, love , family loyalties and otherworldly experiences. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Puddlyduck
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual fantasy story
The Ghost Bride is a historical fantasy novel set in a Malaya ruled by the British Empire. Li Lan is a member of the Chinese community there, the daughter of a once prosperous and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sam
4.0 out of 5 stars Debut novel explores new territory
A cross between Dennis Wheatley's Ka of Gifford Hilary and Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy with a south East-Asian twist. An unusual read but strangely riveting.
Published 5 months ago by Gabi
3.0 out of 5 stars Let down
I was so looking forward to reading this book and felt really let down. The hype suggested a paranormal love story but it turned into a book about dreams and a history lesson. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. Gail Brewster
4.0 out of 5 stars A Chinese ghost story with romance in Malaya.
As someone who is very aware of colonial Malaya and Chinese superstition I was very much taken with the interweaving of this backdrop into the story. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jack Chakotay
3.0 out of 5 stars Descriptive but slow
Li Lan's family has a tragic past: her mother died when she was a baby and her father barely recovered from smallpox. Read more
Published 7 months ago by AR
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning debut novel
Wow. I don't know where to begin on this book. I came across it purely by accident, but once I'd started reading it I couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Victoria M
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable debut novel
As a reader I like novels that take me outside of my own time and place. Different cultures, different eras are so rewarding to read about and so it is in this case. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Hamstead
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