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The Concubine's Daughter
Pai Kit Fai
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The Concubine's Daughter

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  4,150 Ratings  ·  281 Reviews

An epic, heart-wrenching story of a mother and daughter’s journey to their destiny.

Lotus Feet. He would give his daughter the dainty feet of a courtesan. This would enhance her beauty and her price, making her future shine like a new coin. He smiled to himself, pouring fresh tea. And it would stop her from running away…

When the young concubine of an old farmer in rura

Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 13, 2010 Duckie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-lit
I probably would have liked this book better if it had been better researched, but I kept tripping over factual errors. The author claims his background in martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine gave him enough information to write a book on Chinese history, but he should have done more formal research if he intended this to be historical fiction. In the novel, he states that Macao was ceded to Portugal because the Portuguese defeated the pirate Koxinga, but Koxinga died in 1662 and Macao ...more
Aug 06, 2012 Dani rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So many complaints about this book:

1. This book is supposedly historical fiction, but it doesn't have nearly enough history. This story could have taken place in almost any time during recent-ish Chinese history. I picked this up because I wanted to read about Hong Kong in the 1900s, but this story really didn't have much to do with that specific time period (WWII is only hinted at becoming a threat) -- or Hong Kong, for that matter. And the ending takes this book into fantasy territory, which i
Apr 25, 2013 Buffy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 28, 2010 Dyana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow - this was a book I couldn't put down - it was one of the most consuming stories I have read in a long time - highly recommended. (Altho, I am always highly amused to read the posted reviews - anywhere from 1 to 5 stars - it's true that we all have different tastes!!!) Anyway, the story is about three generations of Chinese women (Pai-Ling, Li-Xia, and Sui-Sing) who are all raised in the male dominated society of China during the early 1900s where women are treated as casually as unwanted ki ...more
Jul 04, 2010 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fai’s novel presents us with three women: the concubine (who barely makes an appearance before dying giving birth), her daughter Li-Xia, and Li-Xia’s daughter Siu-Sing. Set in rural China from the early 20th century to 1940, these women lead the hard lives of the poor and powerless. Horrible people seek to control their lives; fortunately, good people shelter them, teach them, and give them hope. All three women are intent on becoming scholars, not the playthings of men. In this place and time, ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Marisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, i-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wan Ni
An epic tale spanning three generations of headstrong women damned to suffer the worst and most bizarre of fates. An Orientalist novel through and through, with requisite themes of foot-binding, human trafficking, prostitution, female homoerotic encounters masquerading as intimate friendship, geishas, kungfu and silkworms. The author is British, despite his Chinese name. His research involves travelling extensively to the Far East in his youth, and possibly entering teahouses where girls played ...more
Kathy Chung
Mar 28, 2011 Kathy Chung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life, asian
Reviewed At : Mama Kucing Meow : The Concubine's Daughter by Pai Kit Fai

Reviewed on : 13 February 2011

I love the first part of this book very much. Li-Xia's plight was very real and vivid. I was really depressed to read of the cruelty of the people against her.

But the same cannot applies to the part of her daughter, Siu Sing. It seems so far fetch and like a scene out of those Hong Kong TVB Kungfu Drama where one go to learn martial arts up the mountains. As suddenly as she was whisked up the mo
Dec 08, 2009 Stacey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that I struggled to make it through 50 pages of this book before I put it aside.
I’ve read and loved books many historical fiction books about the East including The Joy Luck Club, Tai Pan, Shogun, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, etc. but this one failed to engage me from the start. The characters were flat caricatures. I never felt I was fully inside any one before we switched to a different person’s POV. The historical details seemed to be jammed into the story,
First off, can I say I love Li Xia & Siu Sing's names? I am Chinese too and I think Siu Sing (a Cantonese name if I'm not wrong) translates into Xiao Xing in Mandarin, literally Little Star. :D

Anyway, I am very impressed by the quality of writing in this book. Pai Kit Fai has written a really spellbounding book, with detailed and beautiful (and sometimes ugly) descriptions of all the places and people, grand or dilapidated, beautiful or hideous, these three generations of strong women have b
Dec 12, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an epic story I couldn't put down spanning the lives of three generations of Chinese women. Pai Ling is sold to a spice farmer by a once prosperous family escaping Shanghai, but we barely get to know her as the story moves on to the life of her daughter Li-Xia. This part of the story at Ten Willows silk factory I loved the most and it really moved me, it could have been a book on it's own! The final part of the story sees the granddaughter Siu-Sing picking up the pieces to honour her fat ...more
Micky Sahi
Apr 15, 2012 Micky Sahi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I feel like reading this book again. It was one of my early deep stories.. so its very close to my heart..i remember I really liked the writing.. but then again it was post Enid Blyton and Dahl. So you never know. :p
Apr 27, 2017 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading Red Lotus how the Chinese people believe and worship the different Gods I felt was quite magical and have put this in my bucket list to travel to the far east and see some of the wonderful temples Pai Kit Fai describes. This book holds you to the end.
Ana Mardoll
Dec 27, 2009 Ana Mardoll rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
The Concubine's Daughter / 978-0-312-35521-0

I was excited about "The Concubine's Daughter" because the teaser write-up compared it to one of my favorite novels in recent memory, "Memoirs of a Geisha". Unfortunately, "The Concubine's Daughter" is not, in my opinion, anything like "Memoirs of a Geisha", and the best comparison I can offer is that it feels like a bare-bones, watered-down attempt at an Amy Tan novel.

"Memoirs of a Geisha", for all its faults, was populated by human beings, not carica
This book is historical fiction set in China, but there is really no indication what the time period is. The book has beautiful descriptions of practically everything. Most people may not enjoy this, but I did. The writing style was average, and there were some interesting things I picked up, like the century egg. With a different story, I might actually have got immersed in the book.

But in spite of good writing and some enjoyable descriptions, this book is not very believable.
I don’t believe t
This novel is my first goodreads giveaway win. I was very excited about this book arriving, however, I'm not sure it lived up to my expectations or the description provided.

The first part of the story, about Li Xia, the concubine's daughter, I very much enjoyed. I know that many of the characters lacked depth or were too black and white, but there were moments of nuance and insight that helped to progress the story and the development of the main character. I couldn't help cheering for her, feel
I wish I could have had more of some parts of this book and less of others. The fact that this book is split up between two separate stories (that of the mother and that of the daughter) resulted in somewhat of a disjointed feeling. I think the author could have combined the two stories together into a more dynamic story line. I feel like she rushed through certain parts, leaving them with a half formulated feel, in an attempt to cram in a whole lot of unneeded “stuff”.

With that said, there are
Mar 29, 2011 Alexandra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, ladypain
There was a lot about this book I enjoyed: it was well-written and fairly engaging, but ultimately I think it failed in a lot of ways. The author's distaste for ancient Chinese society is in some ways tangible: I thought it was pretty uncomfortable that almost every Chinese man is portrayed as in some way evil, but meanwhile the Western men are all kind, gentle and loving. Many of the twists of fortune both women experienced seemed implausible and unnecessary, their "strength" is always emphasiz ...more
Sara Beresford
I enjoyed reading this book because the subject of women/girls in China is really interesting to me. But I thought that, of all of the books I've read on this subject, this is the most poorly written. The characters are really one-dimensional, and there is a bunch of stuff that just doesn't make sense. The three generations of girls in this book speak/think in a manner totally inappropriate for their age. The author describes thoughts, conversations and actions of 7-10 year old girls that just w ...more
Marthe Bijman
Sep 21, 2013 Marthe Bijman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Three words for this novel: Over. The. Top. Fai (the psuedonym of Geoffrey Morgan Pike) is a scholar of holistic medicine and a martial arts master, so he should something about Chinese culture. He probably does, but that did not translate into good writing in this case. This novel deals with three generations of Chinese women and every conceivable facet of Chinese life from 1906 to 1941. Unfortunately, Fai chose to feature the details that Westerners would find most juicy, sensational and drama ...more
Aug 02, 2009 Lesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alissa, Julie, Diana
Shelves: first-reads
My first book won from Goodreads! (Yeah! Free book!)

I really enjoyed the writing and the descriptions of colors, sounds, and textures. The story itself was well written and kept my interest. There were peaks and valleys of emotions, which made the stories of the concubine, her daughter and granddaughter all the more dramatic and interesting. I did not like the character of Ruby and was put off by some of the scenes with her, they just seemed unlikely and sort of bordered on child abuse! But, hav
Mar 30, 2010 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: polygamy
Something about the book was too similar to the others in this category, Chinese historical fiction,the stilted way that its written , and the roles of women, which are confined by the context naturally.
Differences were that a female character becomes a martial art expert on a spiritual level with the ability to kick ass, but of course she ends up in a woman's establishment before she can use this higher power to solve her problems. often fascinating and easy to read but because i sometimes had
Aug 20, 2009 Diana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I definitely enjoyed the first half of this book as it dealt with Li Xia. I am was not so into the Siu Sing (Li Xia's daughter) half. I felt like a lot of the interactions were forced between Siu Sing and her enemy, and the story did not flow well. I am not sure why Ruby was even included in the story. I felt like the author was trying to write some mystical Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon scene with Siu Sing and I was completely bored by it. Pat Kit Fai should talk to his editor as there were so ...more
Jan 13, 2010 Anita rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Anita by: no one. looked promising.
Shelves: japan
What a waste-- this book had so much promise- I read through it quickly thinking the story just HAD to get better-- it never did! LAME LAME LAME!! This book technically should have been broken into two- perhaps that would have given them more time to weave the story in a less obvious manner and connect a few more points... Darn... such a good idea that could have been so much better...
Jim Galford
Jan 26, 2017 Jim Galford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting insight into early 20th century life in China. women are possessions and Xi-Lua is destined to become a concubine, like her mother. As the story unfolds, the reader sees inside the mind and soul of a Chinese woman, fighting for her very existence.
May 19, 2017 Twee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only finished the first part about Li-Xia's life. Nice plot for Chinese soap opera.
Sep 22, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with a love of Chinese culture and historical fiction novels
I've had this novel on my kindle almost since I bought it two years ago. I've never gotten around to reading it because there's been so many other books that I've wanted to read first. I've finally got the time to just pick some random books on my kindle (of which there are lots!) and read them at my leisure. I have to say I'm not disappointed with this one.

I actually decided to read this book rather than the others on my kindle because I loved the world of Eastern culture as shown in Memoirs o
I remember really enjoying this book but after reading the reviews I am not sure why
Jul 04, 2016 Beiyu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 16, 2009 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this novel difficult to read. In fact after 300+ pages I stopped reading. This is something I NEVER do. I struggled with whether to go on for the sake of completing it, but my desire to read something more pleasurable won out. I simply did not enjoy the novel and after 300 pages I simply was not invested in the story line. It was too wordy - desperately in need of an editor. But the main reason was a plot twist that removed the title character (the concubine's daughter) from the story.

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Pai Kit Fai is a pseudonym for Geoff Pike.

Geoff Pike is a British-born, naturalized Australian writer.

Born in Tottenham Middlesex, he took an all-consuming interest in art and writing from the age of 3. His early years were spent in the German blitzkrieg of London and as an evacuee in the rural county of Essex. His letter to President Roosevelt thanking him for 'Bundles for Britain', was chosen f
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