Sandy's Reviews > Peony in Love

Peony in Love by Lisa See
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's review
Jun 15, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2009, historical-fiction, books-i-love, paranormal-sci-fi-and-fantasy, chinese-fiction-and-non-fiction
Read in August, 2009

** spoiler alert ** This is the second novel by Lisa See that I have had the pleasure of reading, and though I did not enjoy it quite as much as the first (Snow Flower & the Secret Fan), I was not disappointed.

Weirdly enough, it was a recommendation by Amazon for "Shanghai Girls", which I have yet to read, that brought to my attention Lisa See's work. I thought it sounded interesting, so added it to my wishlist, and then started browsing through her other work. That is when I came upon both "Snow Flower & the Secret Fan", as well as "Peony in Love". Both of these books caught my interest immediately. Though they both share some common attributes, such as their cultural relevance & discriptiveness, they are quite different.

I found "Peony in Love" harder to get into. The story starts off at a slower pace, but as you get further into the story you realize why, as the simple start to the story is the anchor that ties it all together. The pay-off with this novel is to stick with it. As you get past the beginning, a different world of Chinese belief & tradition is explored than that in "Snow Flower & the Secret Fan"; the afterlife.

Though the plot of the novel is about how Peony dies, and how she continues to watch & influence the lives of those left behind, that is not what I personally felt was the basis of the novel, rather that it is the catalyst for the exploration of the beliefs the people of China have about life, death & the afterlife. The way the world of the dead & the living is intertwined in this novel is a remarkable glimpse into the traditions and beliefs of the Chinese people concerning death. See was able to achieve this while also telling an amazing & historically significant story based on something that really occured.

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Reading Progress

07/29/2009 page 79
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