Peach Blossom Pavillion
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Peach Blossom Pavillion

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,313 ratings  ·  153 reviews
In a sunny Californian apartment, a young woman and her fiance arrive to record her great-grandmother's story. The story that unfolds of Precious Orchid's life in China, where she rises from a childhood of shame to become one of the most successful courtesans in the land, is unlike any they've heard before."
Paperback, 421 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Kensington
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Robin Nicholas
I have to admit that it started out as a three or four star book, but by the end I had to give it one star. It is basically a Chinese Harlequin Romance. Dumb and boring. Why did I even read it? It seemed promising in the beginning. Set in 1918, a 13 year old is sent to live with an aunt after her father is murdered and her mother has to go into hiding in a nunnery. The aunt is actually a "mama" (or madam) running a brothel. Beautiful Xiang Xiang is trained in the arts--music, poetry, singing, pa...more
Shamae
This is a book I probably wouldn't have read on my own had my mom not given it to me as a birthday gift. After reading the inside flap, I thought it sounded interesting and I really did enjoy this book, not in the sense that it is a "feel good" book, rather in the way it dealt with sensitive issues and evoked a lot of sympathy and compassion on my part. Overall, the book has a depressing tone with a silver lining. Without the silver lining I don't think I would have enjoyed this book.

The story i...more
Melinda
The writing killed this story. The 'prose' extremely clunky with such a disjointed feeling. The language switches in such extremes - from sickeningly sweet misplaced poetic attempts, to extremely coarse language utterly out of place.

The narrative introduced scenarios completely implausible, almost as if trying to distract the reader from the poor writing.

There is nothing seductive about this novel AND it is NOTHING close to Memoirs of a Geisha. Such a shame, the main protagonist Xiang Xiang wa...more
Rj
Aug 20, 2008 Rj rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: asian
I had a very difficult time rating this book. The fictional story of a young chinese girl placed into her aunt's prestigious prostitution house was very interesting and fast moving. I liked that it gave me more insight into yet another facet of China's historical culture. I would give the plot 4 stars. However, the writing used a lot of repetetive words and phrases that became very irritating and took away from the mood of the book. I would give the writing style 2 stars. I would recommend this...more
Tara Chevrestt
The first half of this novel was very good and I was expecting to give it four stars.. Readers are introduced to Xiang Xiang, a girl about thirteen whose father is executed for a crime he did not commit and as a result, her mother chooses to head to a nunnery and places Xiang Xiang in her aunt's care, not realizing that the aunt is the proprietor of a prostitution house. Xiang Xiang is cruely introduced to the world of selling sex and eventually becomes a very sought after, prestigious prostitut...more
Mirah W
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would after reading other reviews. I did see the similarities between Pavilion and Memoirs of Geisha...there were some similar themes. The writing style reminded me of Lisa See (Peony in Love, Snowflower and the Secret Fan) but I think See's writing is a little more refined. I think Yip is repetitive at times and it got distracting...at one point I was going to scream if I read the words ""jade stalk"" or ""golden gate"" one more time.
I loved the relati...more
Ali
Like a Coach bag and matching shoes bought for $10 at a stall in China, you think you are getting a good deal, whether it is real or not, until upon closer inspection you realize the C's are really O's and the rubber is pealing off the outsole, this story was only a half-assed attempt to make the Chinese version of a famous and popular Japanese book and movie. Really really disappointing.
Diane
this book had me entertained from the prologue! I was initially caught off guard by the language, it was racier than I had anicipated, but realized soon that it fit well into the blatant story telling of an old woman unashamed of her past life as a prostitute.
I originally expected something along the lines of Memoirs of a Geisha, but soon found that the two books could not really be compared. I enjoyed the look inside of old China and I really enjoyed the story. I didn't feel the "can't put it d...more
Jeannie Zelos
Peach Blossom Pavilion. Mingmei Yip
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I love books that describe life in old China or Japan, and I've read many over the past few years. I'm fascinated by the dichotomy of life, the paradox of how different it is according to the status you were born into, sex, and how quickly circumstances can change.
I was really looking forward to reading this but I found it just didn't have the sensuality or detail I've enjoyed in other books. It reminded me of Memoirs of...more
Sue
Started well, but degenerated. Disappointed with repetitive phrases like "she plunged on...." referring to unguarded comment in conversation.....tiring.
Eh?Eh!
a very beautiful cover that the content doesn't deserve. it was okay...but rather plain and less than sweeping.
Thea Wilson
You can't even read the blurb to this book without having Anchee Min's Empress Orchid or Arthur Golden's Memoirs Of The Geisha being brought to mind, in fact even the GoodReads write up mentions both books above but this book, while it may be a similar vein, is quite different than both. Empress Orchid is about concubines, Memoirs is about geishas but Peach Blossom Pavilion is a book about prostitution, but not the seedy kind of prostitution you immediately think of when you hear the word prosti...more
Megan Readinginthesunshine
I absolutely LOVE the cover of Peach Blossom Pavilion, I was drawn to it straight away – the colours are stunning and the cover is vivid and it really stuck in the front of my mind, and so I was very much looking forward to reading it and discovering more about this book.

Xiang Xiang’s father is excited for murder, a crime which he didn’t commit, and soon after her mother is forced into a Buddhist nunnery. With nowhere to turn, Xiang Xiang ends up in the Peach Blossom Pavilion, where she is then...more
Latte
NOTE: A copy of this book was provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

While most are familiar with the term"geisha" for a Japanese courtesan, few know that the Chinese "yi ji" preceded the geisha. This book tells of 13 years in the life of Precious Orchid, one of the last of the Chinese courtesans. The generic term for the houses these women lived in was "turquoise pavilion". The particular house Precious Orchid found herself in was the Peach Blossom Pavilion.

Precious Orchid becomes a member...more
Kay
I can immediately see why people think of this as a faster-paced version of Memoirs of a Geisha. It's also on the crude side, as some other reviewers have mentioned: words like "fuck" and "slut" take prominence. But I don't think that's a bad thing - it makes it feel less sanitized and more true-to-life, because I damn well know people talk that way in real fucking life.

Hurrr.

In all seriousness, this is kind of an awesome book, albeit sad if you're anti-sex work. It doesn't pain prostitution as...more
Anne
Overall, I found Peach Blossom Pavilion an interesting read. I've read very little fiction that deals with the lives of the courtesans of China, so this insight into the traditions and the treatment of the girls was fascinating.

Precious Orchid does at times come across as just that; 'precious'. She often makes decisions, especially after fleeing the Pavilion that are difficult for the reader to understand, but do add to the action and adventure of the story.

Mingmei Yip is a great storyteller, an...more
Paula Sealey
As a lover of historical fiction, I was drawn in by the premise for this story as well as the beautiful book cover. I was promised the 'sweeping and 'evocative' story of Xiang Xiang, a young 13 year old enslaved into prostitution in early 1900's China by a devious Aunt. But I really don't feel that was delivered.

The first section of the book that deals with Xiang Xiang's indoctrination into the prostitution house 'Peach Blossom Pavilion' started promisingly enough, with insights into the life of...more
Ellen Tristram
Note: I received a copy of the newly released e-book from NetGalley for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I must be just about the only person who has read this and has NOT read Memoirs of a Geisha. I think this is a useful thing; I won't be comparing the two or thinking of this as a Chinese version of the older Japanese story (although having read some reviews, I'm not even sure that all readers can make that distinction!)

Peach Blossom Pavilion tells the story of ten years of Xiang X...more
Katie.g
Upon first opening it, I was very struck by how similar Peach Blossom Pavilion was to Memoirs of a Geisha. This slightly disappointed me as I don't particularly relish reading books that are almost identical in terms of plot. Thankfully around the 50% mark the stories diverged significantly.

I quite enjoyed reading from Xiang Xiang's point of view. She had a wry sense of humour and I loved seeing her grow from a naive child into a confident young woman. Throughout there is a theme of sadness and...more
Gem
This is going to be a bit of a harsh review, but I had my hopes set high and I just wasn't impressed. This book in no way compared with Memoirs of a Geisha, and it seems a bit odd to even make the connection.

I've rated this 2 stars because it was fairly easy and quick to plough through, and because some of the sub-characters were well written. Also, the beginning of the novel seemed promising, but it went downhill from there.

After a while, I saw this as a rather half assed erotica novel, where...more
Kelley  C
From www.thebookdorks.com

Oh boy! Look at that pretty cover! This is going to be an awesome historical fiction book and I'm going to learn all kinds of things about Chinese culture. This is the story of Xiang Xiang, a young Chinese girl who ends up at a house of prostitution, and it's going to be just like Memoirs of a Geisha and I'm so excited!

...Uh, no. This book is trashy. I didn't exactly hate it, but I feel so misled that I'm removing Mingmei Yip's other books from my TBR.

You might be thinki...more
Junying
I enjoyed the first half of the book.

The second part of the story was, quite simply, too unrealistic to be believable!

There are some lovely writing, with references to many Chinese poems and classic stories. However, as some GoodReads readers pointed out in their reviews, it's repetitive on many occasions and that becomes distracting and even annoying to some people.

Sammy
Good read, but a bit slow. The main character, Precious Orchid was rather naive and at some points, rather stupid. But overall, I did enjoy the book, and wasn't satisfied until I finished it. I would recommend to patient readers who liked 'Memoirs of a Geisha'.
Ness
I really enjoyed this book, but was disappointed when it became far fetched and predictable. Despite this, I would still recommend it as a good read as I couldn't put it down!
Elizabeth Grieve
As might be guessed from the title, the story centres on the 'Peach Blossom Pavilion', where Xiang Xiang is placed with her 'aunt' to be trained as a prostitute. Thus, there's little mention of the world outside the brothel, but to be honest, once the character managed to leave there, the book became somewhat less interesting. I think the main interest is in how she came to be a prostitute, and the closed world she inhabited as such, rather than how she came to be an old lady far away and tellin...more
Laura
Made fun of this book while I was reading it, but it was actually pretty good.
Judy Hodges
Read. It is an interesting book giving insight into Chinese culture.
Julian Froment
I really enjoyed this book. It was a memoir, a journey through life, a story about overcoming misfortune and rising above it.

The writing was of a very high standard and I enjoyed reading about China in this period and experiencing the sights and sounds of the different regions. The many descriptive passages of the settings were wonderfully vivid and expressive. The culture of this world was riveting.

There are no doubt many that will draw numerous parallels between Peach Blossom Pavilion and Arth...more
Lisa
Edit: I was too nice in my review because its too easy to criticize this book but now I think I should - the main character, Xiang Xiang, is often fickle, arrogant, spoilt, selfish and shallow - some of this may just be due to her culture rather than personality, what she's been through and what was expected of her. Also there is an awful cliché at the end, that this author seems to be fond of, as she has done the same in her other stories. However, I am glad I read this book. If you are interes...more
Noreen Qureshi
This book is a bit of a mix for me.

It started off really promising, beautiful imagery, great narration, wonderful uses of adjectives to describe certain aspects of Buddhism, colours, clothes, people etc. So I was quite excited to see where the book would lead.

It went downhill in the middle, the story became tiresome, unbelievable and to be honest I felt like the author just wrote whatever came to her mind and it didn't incorporate into the overall storyline of the book very well.

However towards...more
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Mingmei Yip was born in China, received her Ph.D. from the University of Paris, Sorbonne, and held faculty appointments at the Chinese University and Baptist University in Hong Kong. She's published five books in Chinese, written several columns for seven major Hong Kong newspapers, and has appeared on over forty TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, and the U.S. She immigrat...more
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“I was performing my ritual of sipping tea, shooting flirtatious glances and planning murder” 2 likes
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