Jun 06, 12
Read in June, 2012
Mr. Lofthouse is a brilliant author who makes China come alive to the reader. I was simply swept away through the eyes of Robert Hart as he experienced all the nuances of China and its people and customs for the first time.
The romance of Robert and Ayaou is gorgeously written in all aspects. Just a beautiful rendering of an epic love story. There is passion between them, as well as between her sister/concubine and Robert. Two women in one house...the Chinese symbol for trouble! The erotic elements are handled with delicacy, and are quite enjoyable to read, adding a depth to his exploration of the concubine's role in China.
And I found myself wanting to carry this book around with me to sneak another page of reading in wherever I could...it's that engaging.
Lofthouse has a firm grasp on characterization. His studies of people, relationships and their actions and reactions are so in perfect pitch that there can be no question they existed. They feel alive. I fell in love with several of them. It was difficult when the novel ended.
This is a book for those of my readers who love reading about the Orient, but it's also for those who simply love a good historical fiction novel. It's lush in details of Chinese culture. It's a wonderful read. Like the beautifully stitched quilt on the book's cover, this novel is delicately woven and created using choice selections of all sorts. It will keep you wanting more from the author...not wanting the book to end.
4 star rating