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The Last Concubine
 
 

The Last Concubine [Kindle Edition]

Catt Ford
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

When Princess Lan’xiu’s brother delivers her under duress into General Hüi Wei’s harem as a political offering, her only question is how soon her secret will be discovered. She is under no illusions: when the general discovers she is actually a he, death is his only future—though he doesn’t plan to make it easy. Lan’xiu has dressed as a woman all his life, but he is no damsel in distress. He can swing a sword with the best of them.

General Hüi Wei has everything a man could want: power, wealth, success on the battlefield, and a harem of concubines. At first, he regards Lan’xiu with suspicion, but he finds himself strangely drawn to her. When he discovers the beautiful young woman is actually a man, his first reaction is to draw his sword. Rather than waste such beauty, he decides to enjoy the spirited Lan’xiu’s submission—and ignites a passion and desire deeper than anything he’s felt with other wives. But court intrigue, political ambitions, and the general's doubts may be too much for their love to overcome.

A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 868 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (12 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008KUCDDY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #219,119 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure romance 16 Sept. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I'll admit this book is pure, rather sappy romance, but it's ideal if you want a pick-me-up read that takes you right away from contemporary problems of life in the 21st century. And we all need a bit of that at times.
It's not a setting or period I know anything about, so I can't comment on whether Catt Ford got it right from an accuracy point of view (within a romantic viewpoint, of course). But nothing struck me as jarring, so she convinced me.
Nicely written and edited, with a lovely cover too. What more could you want?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Romantic and faboulous ... 22 Aug. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this novel , unique , engaging and wonderfully written .....the romance is blazing hot , the sex was just to die for and the HEA was not only believable but very well thought out.....

The flawed villan , was the only gripe l had....BUT it's still a most enjoyable read....

FAB. FAB. FAB.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Overly romantic but a damned good read 16 Aug. 2012
By Erastes
Format:Paperback
Ok, I'll say it up front that this book is schmoopy. So if you like schmoop you are absolutely guaranteed to like this.

But it's also a damned good story, with wonderful characters, a good plot and an adventure to boot. So if you don't like the over-schmoopy, which I don't, much, then you won't be disappointed with the rest of it, so give it a go.

Oh dear, I seem to have done my summing up paragraphs at the beginning. You'll want a review now. Ok. Here goes.

I hadn't read the blurb at all when Dreamspinner sent me this book for review, and it was with a couple of other gay historicals so I was about three chapters in and I thought "Where is the gay in this gay historical?" I was getting sort of annoyed about having read something that I thought was het (nothing against het, it's just that I have such limited reading time) when all became clear and boy, didn't I feel stupid.

The description of a medieval Chinese society is well done. Ford is clever, having most of the action taking place within a palace and further in, within the locked and gated women's quarters where only enuchs, women, guards and the General himself can visit. With this device she can concentrate on the relationships within those walls, the paranoia and fear of the women and the way they interact without having to do much about the ever shifting allegiances within China itself.

I'm not sure when this is set-there's a mention of Sun Emperor Ju, and the only Ju I could find was around the 600AD time, so that would seem to work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Strong 4 Oct. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book just opened my mind. Lan'xiu is a beautiful character in both female and male qualities. Her being just reinforces the "be who you want to be" ideal we hope to teacher everyone. It is amazing to see her and Hui Wei overcome those who stand in front of them saying no. This book has passionate lovemaking, backstabbing wives, and sword fights that leave the reader in awe.

Have a Happily Ever After.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully not the "last" 9 Sept. 2012
By shacary - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was surprised, this novel turned out to be an interesting read. I learned about Chinese heirachy/ and segregation of the harems [ gilded cage? ]. The fact that the concubine turns up to be male is unique and intriguing. I loved the swordfighting, and the silky dressings.
THe intrigue and treachery inside the harem was tense albeit predictable. The sex was hot, but the romance behind it seemed a bit lacking imo. I did totally enjoy the novel tho, it was a fast read, entertaining and flowing well. I do however hope this is not the "last" of this author's writing. great stuff!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overly romantic but a damned good read 16 Aug. 2012
By Erastes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ok, I'll say it up front that this book is schmoopy. So if you like schmoop you are absolutely guaranteed to like this.

But it's also a damned good story, with wonderful characters, a good plot and an adventure to boot. So if you don't like the over-schmoopy, which I don't, much, then you won't be disappointed with the rest of it, so give it a go.

Oh dear, I seem to have done my summing up paragraphs at the beginning. You'll want a review now. Ok. Here goes.

I hadn't read the blurb at all when Dreamspinner sent me this book for review, and it was with a couple of other gay historicals so I was about three chapters in and I thought "Where is the gay in this gay historical?" I was getting sort of annoyed about having read something that I thought was het (nothing against het, it's just that I have such limited reading time) when all became clear and boy, didn't I feel stupid.

The description of a medieval Chinese society is well done. Ford is clever, having most of the action taking place within a palace and further in, within the locked and gated women's quarters where only enuchs, women, guards and the General himself can visit. With this device she can concentrate on the relationships within those walls, the paranoia and fear of the women and the way they interact without having to do much about the ever shifting allegiances within China itself.

I'm not sure when this is set-there's a mention of Sun Emperor Ju, and the only Ju I could find was around the 600AD time, so that would seem to work. I know absolutely nothing about the country other than from Pearl S Buck's books and the few gay historicals there are, but this reads every believably, but I assume
it's AU rather than historical as I couldn't find any mention of the General either, sp if that is important to you, you might want to avoid.

The characters, as I said were pretty great all round. There's a rather unfortunate Dragon Lady stereotype and perhaps I'd like to have seen more motivation for her general evilness than simple jealousy and obvious madness, but First Wife Mei Ju, Fifth Wife Bai and all the other concubines and wives we meet are individual and interesting in their own way. The deference and customs are shown gently and without tub thumping exposition and I really did fear for Lan'Xiu's life, both before her denouement and afterwards. It also shows a good blurring of genders, as Lan has been brought up one way and prefers to act and dress like that, and Ning, her eunuch - who I would really like to have seen a lot more of, because I think he may have a fascinating back story, and we were teased with it, and then it was snatched away-is referred to as the third sex, but is really not that at all, but perhaps something else. It makes you think, which is a good thing in a book.

The uber-schmoopyness comes in after Lan and Hui Wei have consummated their relationship. There's instant lust and instant love for both of them which I could easily believe from Lan, because she had been starved of physical contact and affection, but I wasn't so convinced as to why Hui became quite so besotted quite so quickly. He had one night with Lan, and then stayed away for quite some time, so it didn't seem very realistic. Plus of course he really should have questioned why he was in love with Lan when for so long he'd been heterosexual and (as far as we are told) has never fancied men, despite being surrounded by them 24 hours a day. He does question it a little, but it's brushed aside. The sex scenes are rather over-blown because of this over-romantic, lovey-doveyness, and although I could understand the use of the "mine, mine" "yours yours" claiming trope because of the nature of literal ownership of women by men at the time, I can't say I'm won over by it, however true to the time.

The parts I liked the best were the action scenes, one of which is towards the beginning and the major one towards the end. I could really see this as a Chinese action film, one of those legendary ones where everyone jumps impossible distances, hair flying in the wind and gorgeous costumes. Oh yes, and for costume buffs, the descriptions of the Chinese ladies' outfits are to die for.

So yes, to sum up again, thoroughly enjoyable and I recommend that you give it a go. I could have done without the over-lovey-dovey, but it fitted the story.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid MM romance in the East! 15 July 2012
By R.Parklane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Catt Ford has written a fascinating and most enjoyale mm romance tale in ancient china. I could not stop reading as I have to find out what happen next to our cross dressing hero, Lan Xiu. His adventures as he struggles to fit into the life of a concubine is highly entertaining and I have to say realistic too. As an Asian who have watched quite a lot of ancient Chinese drama, I am pleased with the pretty accurate description of the way the wives/concubines of the rich and powerful live. Their individual abode within walking distance of each other in a closely guarded compound, a prison with all the luxuries of life but no freedom. The only thing they live for is whether her lantern is the one lighted for the night. The jealousies, the competition, the pettiness, the rivalries, the sisterhood, an environment, poor Lan Xiu is thrown into. Lan Xiu is a very likable character and it is easy to understand the way he is from his background. The other character I like who is just as important in the story is Lan Xiu's faithful protector, the eunuch Ning. Their "mistress/servant" bond is a highlight of the story. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy LAN Xiu's romance with his general too as this is formost a love story with a cinderella flavor as our cross dressing princess rises from the ashes and becomes his general's only consort. But the romance is expected whereas the bond between princess and servant is not. And when the princess/servant bond is so well weaved into the story, it certainly is a wonderful bonus in the plot. General Hui Wei is likable enough as the powerful warrior and he does paint an intriguing figure in the beginning. But this character does fade slightly in the first part of the story as the plot focuses on LAN Xiu's highly entertaining interaction with the general's wives/concubines. And when he finds himself besotted by the "princess", the general does seem to lose some of his aura. But then, this is foremost a MM romance! The secondary characters is as much the strength of the book as much as the fascinating plot and the two mains. And how could I resist such a brave crossdresser who loves his colorful gowns as much as the freedom to swing a sword, rides his horse and fights besides his lord. Very enjoyable indeed.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and sweet 18 July 2012
By Nikyta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
4.5 stars

This story had a lot of elements that I enjoy reading about. For one, it's set in historical China (there just aren't enough Asian books out there, IMO), there's the whole arranged concubine theme, the deceptive secrets and the fact this Princess kicks ass!

Honestly, I loved this book. It's not perfect, I will admit that. The MCs, Hüi Wei and Lan'xiu, are instantly ensnared with each other. It's essentially love and lust at first sight even with all the chaos surrounding Lan'xiu's arrival. I enjoyed the story because I found the love they develop for each other sweet and intense. What Hüi Wei struggles with in regards to his position and how enemies could take advantage of his feelings for Lan'xiu was sad but interesting.

I've always been a sucker for stories that have a character pretending to be someone else and the fact Lan'xiu is disguised as a princess when he's really supposed to be a prince was intriguing for me. Especially when Lan'xiu actually enjoyed dressing in silks and satins as a woman as opposed to a man's clothing. I also liked the way Lan'xiu's identity was such a closely guarded secret and the way Shu Ning (Lan'xiu's eunuch) was so protective of Lan'xiu even though Lan'xiu was so fierce he was an ass kicking warrior.

As I said, though, this story isn't without its faults. For one, I know Lan'xiu was a princess to the outside world but even he considered himself as a 'she' in his own POV. I found that odd and he's not the only one that did that. Hüi Wei and Shu Ning did that, too, even though they knew the real Lan'xiu. Also, while the beginning was pretty good, the ending tended to have more scenes with head hopping.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It doesn't have much outside conflict but there are a few suspenseful parts. A bit too much sex at times for my tastes but the characters and their love story were fascinating to me and I had a hard time putting the book down.

*****SPOILER*****

And for all those wondering about the harem element to the story Hüi Wei doesn't sleep with any of his other 'wives' from the moment Lan'xiu arrives. So there is no 'cheating'. Hüi Wei only ever has sex with Lan'xiu.
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