Young Peony is sold into a rich Chinese household as a bondmaid an awkward role in which she is more than a servant, but less than a daughter. As she grows into a lovely, provocative young woman, Peony falls in love with the family's only son. However, tradition forbids them to wed. How she resolves her love for him and her devotion to her adoptive family unfolds in this...more
His gentle father Ezra, a successful trader, was married with the most beautiful and rich jewish woman of Kaifeng.
His beautiful, gentle Chinese bondmaid, Peony, loves him dearly and although they can't be together, she gently and tenderly devotes her life and beauty to him.
His scheming mother wants David to marry the tender, beautiful ...more
There are many many books about the former. This is one of the few good books I have read about the latter.
Look at the cover I have chosen. It was the cover of the 1948 edition, the very first edition of the book. I think it is sweet. That is Peony on the cover. She is the Chinese bondmaid about which the book is written. A bondma ...more
The book is set in the home of a Jewish merchant family in China in the 1850's. According to the historical afterword in my copy of the book, Jews lived in China as far back as the 1200's, and the 1850's is when they ceased to funct ...more
The novel, “Peony”, set in the 19th century, is written by Pearl Buck, who lived for many years in China. Peony is a ...more
"Yet what is right except that which makes happiness and what is wrong except that which makes sorrow?"–page 132
The novels of Pearl S. Buck never fail to remind me just what 'reading for pleasure' is really all about.
PEONY: A Novel of China—the story of the beautiful Chinese bondservant, raised and indentured, in the household of a noted, China-born, family of European Jews; who witnesses the fascinating closing days of the complete assimilation of the Kaifeng (Chin ...more
Ancestors are the roots in any house, and children are the flowers, and the two must not be cut asunder.
I picked up this book on a whim at the library because I knew Pearl S. Buck had been somewhat of an expert in writing historical fiction set in China and that she'd been compared to Lisa See. I was pleased to see that this book was about the Kaifeng Jews in China, a little known group of Jewish people in midland China which has mostly ceased to exist via years of assimilation and mixing wi ...more
Excellent. Buck delves deep into the thoughts and emotions of the title character and those closest to her. Unlike typical novels, the reader is immersed in the flow of hopes and uncertainty of all the principal cast. Based on history, Buck explores the assimilation of Jewish communities which had existed for hundreds of years in China.
“Out of the dark and sullen bottom of a lake the lotus flowers bl ...more
This is a good book for those who found Pearl S. Buck to be an enthralling writer in The Good Earth, but who had a hard time liking the ...more
The beautiful bondwoman Peony is in love with the handsome David who is love with an even-more-beautiful Chinese girl (who he has seen once) Keuilan. Due to her low station in life, Peony will never be able to marry David. Meanwhile David's mother is scheming to marry him to the also beautiful-but-more-of-a-sister Leah so that two families of Jews are united and the shrinking gene pool of the small Jewish commun ...more
Peony is also a memorable read, though entirely different from the Good Earth. Set in the 1800s, it is titled after a Chinese servant girl named Peony. She serves a wealthy Jewish-Chinese family ...more
Pearl S. Buck's writing is excellent, and the storytelling is engaging. I had some issues with the story, since I do not agree with intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews, or with the casual attitude taken by some of the characters when simply tossing aside Jewish rituals and traditions, nor with the ...more
"A" is excellent and that's what this book truly is. This was a great book that explored two diverse cultures mingling in love, work, family, religion, aging, power and secrets. It's a vacation to China without actually going. The proverbs, poems and phrases written within the story will stay with you forever. It's so meaningful and will provide a psychological balance for any one. If you are Chinese or Jewish this is a "required reading"! Although, I am a native ...more
Peony's story is tragic but beautiful. She is not perfect, but you can see as she grows and her loves grows. She is, I think, above reproach.
There were parts of the stor ...more
Another well written story of every day life in China. The surprising twist is this relati ...more
This is a tender story of a family living in China during ...more
“Peony” encompasses the lovely prose which Buck is known for: strong, smooth, and crisp literary language with a Zen-like ambiance. Buck’s writing style always has a calming effect which adds an ethereal layer to her novels. In comparison to Buck’s “Pavilion of Women” (which I adored); “Peony” is slightly slo ...more
There are some things I generally don't like about that kind of novels - to much prejudice and pathetics (descriptions), and that's exactly what I got with "Peony". She is the central caracter, almost flawless, selfless, giving... It s ...more