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52 Reviews
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book giving an insight into a secret world
Violet is the half-American, half- Chinese daughter of Lucia Minturn, the owner of a prestigious Courtesan house in Shanghai (The Hidden Jade Path) at the turn of the 20th Century when it is a difficult time to be a foreigner in Shanghai let alone a person on mixed race. When the revolution comes a terrible deception separates the young Violet and her mother and forces...
Published 8 months ago by E Thomas

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dreary and too long.
I was really looking forward to this book arriving. I have read The. Kitchen Gods Wife, The Joy Luck Club and The Hundred Secret Senses and loved them all. However this book is becoming a chore to read...I am on page 256 of 589 and on the point of abandoning it. The characters aren't warm or real enough and the life of a courtesan was really pretty dreary...just tea...
Published 7 months ago by J. Holmes


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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book giving an insight into a secret world, 6 Nov 2013
Violet is the half-American, half- Chinese daughter of Lucia Minturn, the owner of a prestigious Courtesan house in Shanghai (The Hidden Jade Path) at the turn of the 20th Century when it is a difficult time to be a foreigner in Shanghai let alone a person on mixed race. When the revolution comes a terrible deception separates the young Violet and her mother and forces Violet into the world of the Courtesan.
"The Valley of Amazement" tells the story of Violet, Magic Gourd (a Courtesan at the Hidden Jade Path) and Lucia Minturn over many years during which they suffer passion, tragic love affairs, betrayal and reconciliation. Amy Tann also explores the characters past, helping the reader to see how they ended up in their current situation.
This novel was a superb read and gave an exceptional insight into the world of the Chinese Courtesan. The book also expertly re-creates the atmosphere of turn of the century Shanghai with all of its tensions, hustle and bustle.
A perfect book for those who like an insight into a previously unknown world and who want an intelligent book which explores the importance of female friendship, loyalty, love and betrayal. The book, although a very long book, kept me gripped from the start. Having never read any of Amy Tann's work before, I will definitely be reading her other novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - loved it, 12 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Valley of Amazement (Hardcover)
The book arrived promptly and well packaged. I couldn't put it down. It was a great story and really well written. I think it's the best one Amy Tan has written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic Amy Tan, 1 Feb 2014
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I waited a long time for this book to be published. It was worth the wait. The history was an interesting back drop to a story of love and survival.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dreary and too long., 27 Dec 2013
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J. Holmes - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Valley of Amazement (Hardcover)
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I was really looking forward to this book arriving. I have read The. Kitchen Gods Wife, The Joy Luck Club and The Hundred Secret Senses and loved them all. However this book is becoming a chore to read...I am on page 256 of 589 and on the point of abandoning it. The characters aren't warm or real enough and the life of a courtesan was really pretty dreary...just tea parties, sex and receiving gifts over and over until you grew too old to be attractive. The setting is very narrow with not much mention of happenings outside the courtesan house at what was a very exciting period in Chinese history. The story could have been condensed a whole lot more and moved along a bit faster. Not my cup of tea.... Disappointing.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I really liked the earlier books, 21 July 2014
I really liked the earlier books. This one has a cheap touch to it. Amy Tan lists all the research she has done for the book, I wonder what for. 80 % of the book are endless and repetitive descriptions of interiors, clothes, jewellery, awful sex scenes on and on... The protagonists remain flat and unsympathetic. All that dishonesty and scheming may have been necessary for a courtesan at the time, but do I want to read about it again and again on nearly 600 pages? China and especially Shanghai and the International Settlement remain dull and uninteresting in this book. What a pity.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping story., 14 Jan 2014
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Beautifully written and very dramatic. Brings the `old China` into focus and takes us down pathways which I never knew existed. Amy Tan is a consummate writer, I was sorry when I reached the end.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last!!, 19 Jan 2014
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8 years too long. Another blockbuster from Amy Tan. It was an absolute joy to read this latest addition to the author's literary repertoire.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 18 Dec 2013
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Kathryn Lindsay Morris (Billericay, Essex, GB) - See all my reviews
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Started well but did not hold my attention. Violet was not that likeable and so not that concerned with her fate
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good but maybe a little long, 15 July 2014
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Alexa (East Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Valley of Amazement (Hardcover)
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I've read every book Amy Tan has written so suffice to say I am a fan of hers, so I was really exited to see this new book of hers. From the start it was a bit different than the other books of hers I have read (which you can see from looking at some of the other reviews about the story line). It is also considerably longer than her other novels. I don't have an issue with long books but I feel there needs to be a good reason for a book to have such a weighty length. The Valley of Amazement seemed to get a bit caught up in detail and made the book longer than it needed to be.

As with other Tan books The Valley of Amazement explores the theme of relationships, especially between mothers and daughters and delves into Chinese culture and history.

I love the book, and any Amy Tan fan will enjoy it, but I feel it could do with being cut down just a little.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good - But Should be Shortenned to be Excellent, 6 Jun 2014
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HJK (Gomersal UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Valley of Amazement (Hardcover)
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I have read 4 out of 5 of Amy Tan's other Novels - not read The Bonesetter's daughter - will read so soon. I loved all of them.

This book is set mostly in Shanghai & also San Francisco from 1897 to 1939. It is about the lives of 2 women: Lucia & Violet, mother & daughter. Most of the book is from Violet's point of view - we get to hear Lucia's version very near the end.

The book starts in 1905 in Shanghai and is very good at the beginning - it is just under 600 page - and starts to get bogged down in too much detail - I found myself skipping quickly through details of courtesan rituals & poetry - all interesting in themselves but did nothing for the novel.

However even with the slightly dull bits it was a very good story - I think with better editing & shortening of the book by about 100 pages (without shortening the actual story - it would have been a 5 Star - excellent book.

I did shed a tear at the end for what could have been ...

The book is very open ended - at the finish it is just before the start of World War 2 - so there are many possibilities for what could happen next ...
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The Valley of Amazement
The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (Hardcover - 5 Nov 2013)
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