Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: Peony in Love

I love Lisa See. I was addicted after I read Snowflower and the Secret Fan and I've read nearly every novel she's written. Usually they're tragic {but sometimes happy} and hold deep meaning, journey, and adventure.

Peony in Love was no different. We follow Peony, the only daughter of a wealthy landowner in ancient China. She is 16, betrothed since birth, and about to watch an opera called the Peony Pavilion. Her mother is not convinced that this is a good idea; women should never leave the women's wing of the house, and should never be in the presence of unrelated men. But, her father knows that she loves the opera, and overrides her mother.

Seems her mother was right to worry. She ends up meeting a stranger, a poet, and falls in love. This is the beginning of the end for Peony. Her marriage is announced, she becomes heartsick, and dies. We follow her through her death, her journey through the afterworld, watching her poet as a ghost, and her struggles to become an ancestor.

See has done an excellent job of having us live out Peony' story. I listened to this on audiobook and I'm sure more than one driver in the car next to me saw me with tears streaming down my face. It was only about 5 discs, which means it will be short, and characteristic of See, relateable and easy-to-read. It doesn't hurt that there is a distinct feminist voice in this novel. Peony is a girl/woman/ghost who wants more for herself and for women.

Just the kind of book I love.


  1. Sounds great, I will put it on my list!

  2. Interesting. I was thinking about it until you mentioned she died. Not sure i'd be a fan.

  3. I've read at least 2 of Lisa See's books that I've really enjoyed. And while I haven't picked this one up yet, it's definitely one I plan to.

  4. I have a couple other of See's books and look forward to reading them but this one was sort of so so to me. I just couldnt get passed the death and afterworld stuff, but I trudged through and was glad I did. I loved the history aspect as well as the afterworld beliefs. Interesting.