Peony in Love
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Peony in Love

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3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  29,319 ratings  ·  3,562 reviews
“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, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic...more
Paperback, 297 pages
Published February 19th 2008 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2007)
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Wild Swans by Jung ChangThe Good Earth by Pearl S. BuckSnow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa SeeThe Joy Luck Club by Amy TanBalzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Best Books About China
14th out of 384 books — 301 voters
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Asian American Books
13th out of 146 books — 132 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kay
5/1/14 EDIT: Sooo I stopped checking comments for months, and I come back to either rage or agreement with regard to my review. All I have to say is THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD. Also, if you're on the fence about whether or not to continue reading this book, don't read this review unless you're set on quitting.

Okay? Okay. Onwards to the actual review!

*************

I just couldn't finish it. And I tried. Really, really tried. Even after studying Chinese history extensively in college, I'm usually not...more
Becky


Set in 17th-century China, See’s fifth novel is a coming-of-age story, a ghost story, a family saga and a work of musical and social history. As Peony, the 15-year-old daughter of the wealthy Chen family, approaches an arranged marriage, she commits an unthinkable breach of etiquette when she accidentally comes upon a man who has entered the family garden. Unusually for a girl of her time, Peony has been educated and revels in studying The Peony Pavilion, a real opera published in 1598, as the r...more
Eleyna
Apr 16, 2008 Eleyna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book is amazing!!! It is beautifully written (lovely descriptions and intricate details), well researched, and unbelievably touching. There were moments where I feel I can't read anymore because I am so overwhelmed with emotion, but I can never put the book down for any real length of time. I have become completely engrossed. The summary of the book is a little misleading. It describes the book as a love story. I do not find it to be one. Peony in Love is a romantic and tragic story. Love p...more
paris

بعدَ أن انتهيت من قراءة هذه الرواية ، لا أعرف كيف أشعر ،
ولا كيف أشرح أحداثها ولا حتى كيف أصيغ عبارات هذه المراجعة ..
مع التركيز على الأخيرة !

منحت الرواية خمس نجمات ..
(أربع للكاتبة والقصة والفكرة ككل و أوبرا حديقة الفاوانيا - ونجمة للترجمة الجميلة جداً و المثالية والخالية من الأخطاء )



تدور هذه الرواية في الصين وفي زمن لم يسمح فيه للنساء بالخروج من المنازل حيث هنَّ حبيسات الغرف الداخلية ، ولا يشاركن بأي شكل في الحياة العامة ،ولا يجب أن يتحدث أحد عن إنجازات إمراة أو يحتفل بها .

إنها عن مجتمع إمتلأ با...more
Caroline
Peony is a 15-year-old girl in Manchu China who falls in love with the opera The Peony Pavilion, a love story in which the ghost of a girl is brought back to life by the man she loves. Peony's father hosts a production of the opera (which Peony assumes is for her, rather than to impress the powerful men that her father has visiting), and Peony meets a young man three nights in a row. She falls in love with him, but at the end of the third night they know they both must go on to their arranged ma...more
Stacy
This book sucked....it was trying to hard to be existential and had wierd poetry and the story went nowhere, but pretended that it would.
Sharon
Apr 16, 2008 Sharon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Historical Fiction and Romance - it's a perfectly harmonious blend!
Occasionally, rarely, I read a book after which I need to take a few days to come up for air, so to speak. A book that moves me so deeply and which leaves me thinking ...and thinking. Peony in Love is just such a book. A true work of art. Amazing, beginning to end. As I told a friend, I CARED so much about what was happening with the characters, I was literally losing sleep. I wish I could add an extra star to my rating - this is a six-star novel. Kudos to Lisa See for knocking another one out o...more
Ruba AlTurki
زهرة الفاوانيا العاشقة
رواية تتحدث عن شابة صينية في القرن السابع عشر وقصة عشقها البريئة وأحداث حياتها ووفاتها وعجائب اخرى على مدى اربعين عاما واكثر
للمرة الاولى اقرأ عن الصين وفي الادب الصيني واتعرف على تراث وتقاليد وشعائر وخرافات مبهرة لهذا الشعب العظيم
رغم غرابة واختلاف العديد من الامور والثقافات والاديان والمجتمعات في الرواية عن كل ما اعرفه الا ان اوجه التشابه كانت عديدة ووجدت نفسي في كثير من الافكار والمشاعر ربما لان الرواية تتحدث عن الروابط السرية العميقة بين النساء ارتبطت بها ولكن مما لاشك في...more
Nojood Alsudairi
فجعني الموت ولم أعرف أنه البداية لعالم غريب من الأسلاف والأشباح الجائعة. كم هو قاس الشرق على المرأة وكم أجرمت الصين في حقها حتى في المعتقدات والأساطير. المرأة التي تموت عند الولادة يحكم على روحها أن تذهب إلى بحيرة تجميع الدم عقابا لها على تركها لطفلها وزوجها وكأنها اختارت الموت بنفسها؟! والمرأة التي ينسى اهلها -أو يتعمدون- عدم وضع نقطة حمراء لها في لوح الأسلاف عند موتها تهيم روحها كشبح جائع لا يتذكره أحد، وكذلك المرأة التي لا تقدم لها القرابين. المضحك في الأمر أن الأسلاف الذين يتحكمون في المصائر...more
Julie Ekkers
I just didn't like this book (though I did like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan). To be fair, I didn't expect to like Peony, but one of the reviews said it "belonged in my beach bag,' which sounded like what I was after at the time. I just couldn't get into it. I think because there's SO much exposition of this Chinese opera in the background, and too little (for me anyway) about the main characters. it's also one of these books where everything is set in motion by a COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE misunder...more
Marissa
I really enjoyed reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Peony in Love has a few of the same elements but is, nicely, a different novel. Peony is the only child of a wealthy couple who experienced some hard times during the Manchu raids. Peony, encouraged by her father, loves to read. She reads extensively but her favorite work is the Peony Pavilion--an opera. Her father stages the opera at her home and the women are allowed to watch through a screen. Peony meets a boy, falls in love, and begins...more
YoSafBridg
As i was making my way through the first section of Peony in Love, i was beginning to think i should have paid more heed to the valentine heart on its spine (my library system's way of signifying that it was of the romance genre) because Peony was mooning like a lovesick girl who knew not enough of the world and it was all just a little overmuch for me.

But then she died, and it got so much better. I had rather eagerly anticipated this novel, because i had loved Lisa See's last, Snow Flower and t...more
Grace Tjan
'My eyes were shaped like bamboo leaves; my brows were like gentle brushstrokes limned by a calligrapher'.

The notion that 17th century Chinese characters would speak like this for the benefit of 21st century English-speaking readers is preposterous to say the least. It is obvious that the author has conducted extensive research on the history and culture of late Ming/ early Qing dynasty Hangzhou, and the fruits of that research abound in this historical-supernatural novel. However, the anthropol...more
طَيْف
description


"إن الظلال والأحلام والانعكاسات في المرايا والبرك وحتى الذكريات واهية ومتلاشية...ولكن أتقل حقيقة عن الحقيقة؟!"

إنها الصين في القرن السابع عشر، حيث تعيش "زهرة الفاوانيا" الفتاة الصينية في بيئة ثرية، وبين جدران منزلٍ لا تستطيع تجاوزها لترى العالم خلفها...فالمرأة الصالحة يتم تهيئتها لتليق بزوجها وتقوم على خدمته وطاعته

زهرة الفاوانيا تقرأ "حديقة الفاوانيا" مرات ومرات وبأكثر من رواية...ويتعلق قلبها بتلك الفتاة وحكاية حبها ونهايتها...وفي عيد ميلادها السادس عشر، والذي ستقترن بعده بشهور بزوجها الذي اختارت
...more
Connie
The first time I had contact with this book, was by listening to it on my way to work. As soon as it was done, I ran out and bought the book. I just *needed* to view the words that I had heard on the audiobook. As soon as I finished reading the last page, I turned to page 1 and started over again. This is the first and only time that I have ever done that. This is one of my all time favorite books, and I keep a copy beside my bed, so it is never far from my mind...
Jen
Jan 30, 2009 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in a woman's role in Imperial China
Lisa See's research comes out in almost every passage of this historical novel of the first Manchu dynasty in China. Because my daughter is learning about China, I gravitated towards this novel in eagerness to learn more about the power, or lack of power, that women have had in China throughout the centuries. See follows the plot of a famous Chinese opera, The Peony Pavilion, by having her young maiden be so swept away with emotion and desire that she stops eating and loses her chance at earthly...more
bonnie
Apr 16, 2008 bonnie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: GIRLS
Recommended to bonnie by: Marlene Sachs
I liked this book the same way I liked The Other Boleyn Girl. That is, I had trouble putting it down even at work. Indeed, they are the same kind of book - historical fiction taking a partially true story from a very very long time ago and spicing it up by adding elements of a romance novel. The historical fiction aspect makes it not trashy, but it is just as devourable as trash. It does not disappoint in this respect. And in depicting the afterworld according to Chinese mythology... MAN, it is...more
Abigail
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roossy
Peony In Love
By Lisa See
pages : 284

Do you believe in fate? I do. I believe I am fated to be with my husband. We came from two different countries and yet we were able to meet and be together. I also believe I am fated to live far away from my parents and siblings. It was hard to be away from my family but this condition taught me to be strong and independent.
Peony in love was also about fate. Fate of Peony. She was fated to die before her wedding, she was fated to roam around as a hungry ghost b...more
Cecily
An interesting story, with a clever structure, weaving parallels between the legend of the Peony Pavilion with the "real" story of a girl called Peony, though that does make the first third very predictable.

I found the faux naive voice of Peony a little irritating at times; it is too didactic in the way it fills readers in on the historical detail of customs and beliefs, being more like a factual book than a novel. Whilst I found all that interesting, I think it could have been presented more su...more
Angela2932
When the novel begins, Peony is a 17th century 15 year old girl in China. She is watching an opera, The Peony Pavillion, and accidentally launches her fantasy of living the story of the opera through a brief meeting with a mysterious man in the garden. Under the strict rules and mores of the Qing dynasty of ancient China, this meeting is a violation of behavior. Peony's romantic notions run counter to her family's plan to have her marry.

*Spoiler Alert* If you've read other reviews of this novel,...more
Terrie
I don't think I will ever forget the details of this book. Written by Lisa See (SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN) I was expecting a lot. Reading the author's notes after finishing the book cinched the 5 star rating. Realizing the amount of truth and actual history was astonishing.
This strangely beautiful love story, set in 17th century China, could also be a ghost story, or a story of women's liberation. It had so many layers it is hard to categorize. Peony's story mirrors that of the Chinese oper...more
Petra
It's a strong author that draws you into a story, makes you dislike the heroine, then shows you her growth and beauty. Lisa See took me on this journey of Peony's trials.
Peony, the young lovelorn isolated girl, caught in a culture that locked her away, wanted more. She wanted love and wanted to understand love in all its aspects. Her search leads her to death.
It's in the afterworld that she learns the many meanings of love and the many forms it can take. Her journey is pain, regret, love and a...more
Chana
I have so many feelings about this book that it is hard to distill my thoughts into a review.
There are a couple of quotes from the book that can perhaps compress a few of these thoughts into words,

"So many mistakes. So many errors. So much tragedy as a result. In that moment I understood that the cruelest words in the universe are if only."

"Gone were my girlish ideas about romantic love and my later ideas about sexual love. From Yi, I learned to appreciate deep-heart love."

This book is incredib...more
فاطمة كرم


كرؤية كوميدية لها تخيلت مسرحية حواء الساعة 12 للراحل فؤاد المهندس عندما لاحقته زوجته (شويكار) بعد وفاتها لتجعله يلحق بها ^_^


موعد مع القدر
تجلت فيها قوة غريزة الحرية بأقوى صورها
الحرية غريزة لا يمكن تجاهلها حتى لو تكبلت الأقدام وقيدت فالروح أخف وقادرة على التحليق
الطواغيت يسيرون الرجال حسب قوانينهم والرجال يحكمون النساء بقيود أخرى في الغرف الداخلية

لا أتخيل العالم بدون كتب وحين أقرأ في موعد مع القدر أن الجهل حينها كان فضيلة والعلم خطر داهم يصيبني الاختناق رغم أن هذا فات ومضى
ولا أعلم كيف تنشيء أم...more
Nichelle
Apr 16, 2008 Nichelle rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lisa See fans.
Recommended to Nichelle by: Library
I read this book after my fascination with Snowflower and the Secret Fan.

Peony in love begins with a bound-footed daughter of a wealthy family awaiting her upcoming arranged marriage. He father has an opera of the Peony Pavilion staged and from there her life, and death begin to mirror that of Liniang, the main character of the Peony Pavilion.

Against the backdrop of civil resistance to the newly established Manchu government, Lisa See's gift of storytelling is irresistible, even though I went un...more
tbears
Even the poor reviews couldn't sway me to give this book anything less than 5 stars. This amazing book was just like the Chinese operas and movies I saw as a young girl. I remember how these stories were so captivating and emotional that my mom would be weeping. My grandma use to tell me similar tales about the afterlife, ghosts and the spiritual world, so often while I was entranced with the story I forgot that this was fiction and not reality. I would then wonder about my ancestors and those i...more
Mimo
Apr 16, 2008 Mimo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: chinese historical fiction and opera lovers
Shelves: adult-fiction
4.75 Stars. This is a book that you really have to read a little while to get into. During the first part I thought that it was just going to be a story about a girl in an arranged marriage who was lovesick for a man that she met at an opera, and I would have given up on it had I not loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. But after the start of part two, the story really starts to unfold and get interesting. Peony is definitely different than Snow Flower but the themes of the inner world of women...more
Mashael  Abdullah

رواية تدور أحداثها في القرن السابع عشر حول حياة فتاة صينية في السادس عشر من عمرها حتى بلغت الخامسة والأربعين, خلال أحداث الرواية وعن طريق زهرة الفاوانيا وهي الشخصية الرئيسية يتم سرد الكثير من الأحداث بتفاصيلها, خلال حياتها وبعد وفاتها, ولا يخلو ذلك من ذكر عادات وتقاليد الشعب الصيني خلال تلك الفترة.

أصعب العادات كانت ربط أقدام الفتيات.
وأغرب الأفكار زواج الأشباح!
..
حقيقة استمتعت بقراءتها, مليئة بالأحداث.
تستحق القراءة :)

Diane
"Peony is the cherished only child of the first wife of a wealthy Chinese nobleman. Yet she is betrothed to a man she has never met and, as her sixteenth birthday approaches, she has neither seen nor spoken to any man other than her father and has never ventured outside the cloistered women's quarters of the Chen Family Villa. She is trapped like a good-luck Chinese epic opera The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.

Her father engages...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
very good story 5 42 Aug 02, 2012 05:15AM  
Peony In Love 2 39 Jul 23, 2011 08:21PM  
The afterlife of China 5 48 Jun 23, 2011 11:49AM  
Peony... and what? 1 121 Mar 27, 2008 09:59AM  
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Lisa See is a Chinese-American author. Her books include Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), Dragon Bones, and On Gold Mountain. She was named the 2001 National Woman of the Year, by the Organization of Chinese American Women. She lives in Los Angeles.

More about Lisa See...
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1) Dreams of Joy (Shanghai Girls #2) On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family China Dolls

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“He was in my hair, my eyes, my fingers, my heart. I day-dreamed about what he was doing, thinking, seeing, smelling, feeling. I could not eat for thoughts of him.” 116 likes
“In that moment I understood that the cruelest words in the universe are if only.” 91 likes
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