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Empress Orchid by [Min, Anchee]
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Empress Orchid Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Length: 356 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product Description

Review

"A fascinating novel, similar to Arthur Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha . . . A revisionist portrait of a beautiful and strong-willed woman."

New York Times

‘A wild, passionate, fearless American writer’

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 795 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0747568332
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (4 April 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004ZP4OYY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #103,053 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I picked this book up at the airport and read the back while waiting for my husband to buy some magazines. I hadnt even finished the back cover and knew i had to have it.
The storyline centres around Orchid, a young Chinese girl in the 1800's who is chosen as one of the Emperor's Concubines and becomes one of the most powerful women in Chinese history. It follows her life from enterting into her marriage and gives you a real insight into the Forbidden City and life as a concubine.
This is an extremely enjoyable read which is written in an easy to follow style. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author has written it, her style is fresh and keeps your attention constantly.
The character of Orchid and that of her head Eunuch are both interesting and very likeable characters. The voice of Orchid is truthful and entertaining with a hint of every emotion possible. There are tearful moments and laugh out loud snippets.
I would recommend this book happily, and would have given it 5 stars but for the fact i felt the ending was a little frustrating. The author finished on what she believes to be a high note and a good ending, but part of her writing style is to tell you parts of the future throughout the book in a casual manner (for example from the beginning Orchid tells us about being the most powerful woman in China by becoming the Empress, you dont have to read past the first chapter to see she will survive through all death threats etc in the book). However at the end i felt that a few of these casually mentioned parts of the story were not finished off and i found that frustrating. I really needed to know more! Its almost like there was going to be a second part, you were left really wanting more.
I am a big fan of Memoirs of a Geisha and Geisha of Gion, and although a totally different subject manner, i found this book equally fascinating.
Happy reading!
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By Skelf TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 April 2008
Format: Paperback
I loved it. The story of a girl overcoming hardships, set in the Forbidden City. She goes from nothing to becoming one of the most formidable women in China at the time. It's a work of fiction but is based on a real character, the Empress Dowager. This book only takes us through her early life though, before she becomes the Dowager empress and the story continues with the sequel. It was wonderful to soak up the atmosphere, pomp and ceremony from the pages and I can't wait to read what happens to her next.
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Format: Paperback
anchee min has produced a magnificent book on a not so distant history that potrays the difference in our societies. just under 150 years ago this truly remarkable story happened, but with anchee's excellent potrayal of life under an emperor you feel like you are living the times of not just the emperor and his many wives but as his eunuchs as well. an amazingly written book that i couldn't set down until i'd finished the final chapter.
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By A Customer on 21 May 2004
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was excellent. I read it in a day, from the first page you just can't put it down. Annchee Min writes superbly. The book is factual so you gain not only a fab read but also a history lesson!
The plot is excellent, gaving the reader insight into the life of china with emperors, thousnds of concubines, the colonialist rampage, corruption, the whole system and values of the people...
Through Annchee Mins writing you really associate with Orchid, how she comes from nothing to becoming a wife of the Emperor of China. But once attinting this highly sought after position she realises her life is now within a golden cage, lined with flawless diamons! Every step she treads must be with upmost caution as she could get her head chopped off or worse. With her prowess Orchid competes with five other wives and thousnds of concubines to gain attention from her Husband. The story continues with the downfall of china, the opium wars, and seizing or Hong Kong. Can Empress Orchid keep her head on her shoulders (literally), produce an heir to the throne, battle with the other wives and eunuchs.
I can't recommend this book enough, it is a MUST READ!!
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By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
I was drawn to this book as I have read a few others which are similar. I came to the book having quite high hopes for it, and I have to say, I was disappointed. For me the beginning was far too drawn out. While I understand that Min wanted to convey the longing and the loneliness of Orchid as she waited to be summoned by the Emporor, for me it just went on for too long. It got to the stage where I found her main character a bit whiny and irritating. This is something I do not say lightly - I have read many early Japanese memoirs by court ladies, and fiction such as THE SECRETS OF JIN-SHEI which is set in medieval China, and I have loved the way the authors expressed their loneliness and isolation living within a world dictated by ritual. Personally, for me, Min did not achieve the delicate balance of mixing despair with beauty and hope.
I think one of the underlying problems is that Min did not develop certain aspects of the story well enough. The plot seemed to jump from one situation to the next with little or no explicit progression. For example, I think the collapse of China around Orchid was not developed well enough - that part of the story seemed rushed and slightly forgotten, it just seemed to appear from the page when you least suspectd it. It could have been a fascinating and heart-rending description of a forgotten world and how it met it's demise, with comparisons of how life was and then what it became, yet I don't think this is what Min did. Likewise, she did not truly develop Orchid's longing for another man. Until the very end of the book, I don't think she concentrated on it enough - again it could have been a fabulous opportunity for a stark contrast between Orchid's feelings of obligation and her heart's desire opposing this.
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