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47 Reviews
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love is of source unknown, yet it grows ever deeper
The old theme of star-crossed lovers takes an Oriental twist in this historical period drama about a love-struck young girl, an enamored poet, and the opera that not only brings them together but casts them apart.

This story is about Peony, a young woman and only child of a wealthy family. Set in seventeenth century China, when well brought up young women...
Published on 18 Aug. 2007 by Amanda Richards

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I'd expected
This is a really difficult book to review because it wasn't at all what I'd expected. The first third ran more or less true to form, following Peony as she prepares to turn 16 and leave her natal home to join a husband that she has never met. To commemorate a significant festival her father arranges a production of the epic opera The Peony Pavilion; an opera that Peony...
Published on 29 Sept. 2008 by DubaiReader


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5.0 out of 5 stars very thought provoking, 18 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Peony in Love (Kindle Edition)
For me this was a very thought provoking and disturbing read. It highlights a part of the female soul which has been persuaded that to be feminine we must be demure, restful and supportive of the man in our life. To express opinions of your own risks the label 'shrew' or 'butch'. Are we really free to be ourselves, even in these more enlightened modern times?
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3.0 out of 5 stars ok, 17 Dec. 2013
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Dimples (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Good story but too much waffle with the whole moping around after an opera character. First part was good but it lost focus
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5.0 out of 5 stars bookworm from tenerife, 2 May 2013
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This review is from: Peony in Love (Kindle Edition)
I absolutely loved this book. Made me cry quite a bit. I couldn't put it down at times ( Drove my husband mad!!!) Def recommend to everyone. I also loved 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' by the same auther. Bit gruesome at times when she talks about the footbinding, eeww,but a fab read none the less.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth a Look, 24 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Peony in Love (Kindle Edition)
This is the beautifully written tale of Peony, a girl who dies - rather pointlessly, I must say - for a romantic ideal of love which she is cherishing. The part about her dying by allowing herself to waste away because she does not believe that she can choose her own destiny and her own ideal mate occupies the first third of the book, and is probably the weakest part, in my opinion. I don't know if it was because I knew what was going to happen because of a review I'd read or if it was just a bit predictable. In my opinion, Peony's feisty Grandmother who she meets up with in the afterlife is correct on this score; that it was the women in the family who had always been strong and done the important stuff and not the men; and that Peony had been foolish to act as she did for a perceived idea of love.

Once you can get over this, however, Peony, as a ghost, really finds her voice, and the book becomes a celebration of early modern Chinese women writers. These writers, as the author argues in her concluding essay, were often dismissed "lost, forgotten, or deliberately covered up" and yet their works are an immensely important piece of Chinese literary history. Once I'd got over Peony allowing herself to slip out of life so easily (and it took me a bit to get over it - it was really only the author's ending argument that by permitting herself to die in this manner, Peony was asserting her right to choose her own destiny which consoled me on the matter), I could not put this book down. The insight into Chinese superstitions regarding the afterlife and the many ceremonies and festivals to be observed were absolutely fascinating and the progress of the women writers and their place in their society's history was absorbing. Women may have been seen as "worthless or [only] valuable as a commodity" and they may have "paid a high price" for "speaking" their "minds and baring their hearts", but "it was worth it, wasn't it...?" It certainly was. The imagery in the book is vivid and very beautiful. It is full of colour, light and magic. I read it whilst on duty in a call centre which no one would argue is a very depressing place to be - however, the magic of the book successfully removed me from my dismal surroundings and I managed to spend my shift in 17th Century China. The writer, I felt, did well to stick so rigidly to the Chinese interpretation of life after death - being as no one can really say what happens after we die, it seems like as good a place as any to start and the mystic elements of this folklore is a real treat to learn about. I loved the irony of the fact that the spirit was confined as much after death as they had ever been in life. I loved the fact that there was a strand of modern significance to this story - women and men use anorexia every day as a means of "control" over their own fate. This book is well worth a look.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasti read, 7 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Peony in Love (Kindle Edition)
enjoyed this book very much, after Shangai girls, this is the best yet from Lisa See...I love it very much
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant, 1 July 2011
This review is from: Peony in Love (Kindle Edition)
Wonderful insight into Chinese culture. If it was possible, I would rate this book with 7 stars. Lisa See is a wonderful writer. Stephen Spielberg should make a film of this. I have read Snowflower and the secret fan, Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love - all wonderful. Have just started On Gold Mountain. Am already glued to it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice read, 15 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Peony in Love (Kindle Edition)
The book was good and a very different style but without giving anything away it was a bit slow and muddling in places. I did enjoy the story and the setting. Some of the twists and turns were easy to see. Overall a nice easy read for a lazy afternoon
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 30 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Peony in Love (Paperback)
Again, a lovely book by Lisa See. I learned so much from this book. It's very different to Snow Flower and Secret Fan. I will say that it wasn't as good (for me) as Snow Flower and Secret Fan but it's still a very enjoyable and interesting book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great expectation, but not impressed., 8 July 2009
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I had great hopes for this book but found the story a little disjointed and depressing. None of the characters were particuarly likeable, and thus I found it difficult to understand why Peony was obsessed with this man. A bit of a let down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 12 Sept. 2013
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I love this book, its so unusual and her writing style is easy to get on with. I love the historical aspects of her stories and would recommend this to anyone that likes something a bit more unusual than Mills and Boon.
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Peony in Love
Peony in Love by Lisa See (Paperback - 7 July 2008)
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