Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Book Review : Peony in Love by Lisa See

A beautifully written love story. Sixteen year old Peony, arranged to be married soon , relishes in reading her collection of The Peony Pavilion.
Her father has directed a performance of The Peony Pavilion opera and has invited the family and friends to to attend, with the women sitting behind a screen as not to be seen by the men.
Peony is so excited , she actually gets to see the opera she so loves. As she is watching the scene, she closes her eyes to relish the sounds and to absorb the atmosphere, she has waited her whole life to see. She glances over to a man sitting in audience and wonders if he is feeling what she is feeling?
As she takes a break from the opera , she wonders the garden and meets a man . He is the man she saw in the audience and she was scared yet excited.
She meets him again, knowing that if she gets caught it would be the worse thing in her life for her and her family.
She falls in love with the stranger and cannot do anything else except dream of him and write her poetry . Peony eventually dies from lovesickness.
Since her tablet was not dotted by her father, her ghost remains on the viewing terrace and she tries to think of a way to get her tablet dotted
so she can finally be free.
I hope i didn't say to much, it was a beautiful love story, according to Lisa See based on at true story.
At the beginning of the story, i really enjoyed it but i started getting bored with it and hurried with the rest of it.
Just not my cup of tea but for someone else it might be awesome.

From Lisa See's Site:

Another Peony video can be found here.

I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to
passion; in autumn only regret.

For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, the lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amidst the scents of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing choice scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few girls, even women, have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony too is cloistered and from a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.

Peony's mother is against the production: “Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.” But Peony's father prevails, assuring his wife that proprieties will be maintained. Women will watch the opera from behind a screen to hide them from view. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave -- and is immediately overcome with too many emotions.

So begins Peony's unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow -- as Lisa See's haunting new novel takes readers back to 17th century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed. Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place -- even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence . . . a vividly imagined place where one’s soul is divided into three, ancestors are worshiped, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth.

Based on a true story, Peony in Love uses the richness and magic of the Chinese afterlife to transcend death and explore the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, it’s about universal themes: the bonds of female friendship, the power of words, the desire all women have to be heard, and finally those emotions that are so strong that they transcend time, place, and perhaps even death.

Best regards,


Diane said...

I liked this one too as well as her newest Shanghai Girls, but my fav is Snowflower & the Secret Fan--excellent.

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting, although I'm sure what dotting is. Guess I'll have to read the book!!

Anna said...

I've heard great things about this one, and I hope to read it at some point.

Diary of an Eccentric

Ti said...

I have this book but haven't read it yet. I am also half way thru with Shanghai Girls. I've been half way thru with that one for months now. I stalled. I need to start over again.

Bart's Bookshelf said...

Hi there. Great review!

Just dropping by as the host of the Aug 2nd edition of the Book Reviews Blog Carnival.

Thanks for submitting your review. :o)

Jeanne said...

I came over here from the Book Review Blog Carnival. I've read other novels by Lisa See, and had this one on my eventually-read list, but now I'm not so sure. She dies???