4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely loved it!,
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This review is from: The Secret Mandarin (Paperback)
I wasn't sure this book would be my cup of tea (buh dum tsshh) but I felt like I had to have it on the account of its absolutely gorgeous cover. I love anything Oriental (which led me to this book) and yet I also like some old Victorian things every now and again- the book brings those two together beautifully. It sparks the imagination and brings corsets and parasols and tea and silk under one roof.
I found myself hooked within the first few pages and immediately felt for the books protagonist; my sense of fury over what had happened to her was the first thing that snagged me. It makes me wonder how a woman like Mary Penney really would have existed/lived in those odd times, but she really is out of step with her era.
There is something blissfully simple and straightforward about the book, I'm not sure if that's due to the plot or Sheridan's writing style, or both, but I adored it. The characters are easily lovable and Sing Hoo and Wang, their squabbling Chinese helpers, add a bit of light comedy.
The romance aspect doesn't come into play until near the end you could say, I suppose I enjoyed the first half more than the second due to the tenseness. It felt too mean to give it four stars, but I guess if I had any criticisms they would be very petty things such as the ending being very quick and glossed over and perhaps some things in the novel could be explained in more detail (how on earth did the two main characters learn Cantonese so fast? lol). However I would recommend this to anyone, and it is a happy ending, albeit one with a moral twist.
In summary: A wonderful story, perfect for a sunny afternoon with a cup of green tea! x