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The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,062 ratings  ·  275 reviews
For writer Jade Yeo, the Roaring Twenties are coming in with more of a purr — until she pillories London's best-known author in a scathing review. Sebastian Hardie is tall, dark and handsome, and more intrigued than annoyed. But if Jade succumbs to temptation, she risks losing her hard-won freedom — and her best chance for love. ...more
ebook, 81 pages
Published May 30th 2012 by Smashwords
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This is a longish short story, spanning eight months from August 1920, told via Jade’s diary. She’s a young Chinese woman who came from Malaya (as it then was) to London for university, and stayed on afterwards, mainly to avoid a semi-arranged marriage. She scrapes a living writing for journals.

Then she pens a damning review of “a terrible sententious book” that has “sentimental posturing—inelegant language, ridiculous conclusions". It's by a celebrated author...

Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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This is my first book from this author. I've had THE PERILOUS LIFE OF JADE YEO on my radar for years and when it went up for free in the Kindle store, I was really excited and "purchased" it instantly. I'm not entirely to say of this one as it is quite short. On the one hand, it is, as other people pointed out, a comedy of manners told epistolary style, and vaguely reminiscent of the middle grade book CATHERINE, CALLED BIRDY because of i
K.J. Charles
Jun 20, 2017 added it
Shelves: m-f, 1920s
Delightful comedy of manners, with a catastrophically blunt Malaysian young lady coming to London to live it up on the fringes of the 20s literary scene. Very funny, great dialogue, a lovely understated romance in the background (although this is not a romance: it's very much the Jade show), fab female friendship, plenty of satirical bite. Hugely enjoyable. ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
In a word, ghastly.

In the books own words :

In ordinary kissing one aligns one's lips with the kissee's lips, and presses them together, but in well - i can't think of a better term - in sex kissing the insides of one's mouth is involved, and it is quite difficult to make it so the respective lips are aligned. One folds one's lips on top of the other's. But caution is required: if everyone's lips stray too far beyond the mouth it gets very damp and one feels as if one is being eaten by an exces
Jan 12, 2021 rated it liked it
I’ll be honest.. the only reason I picked this up was because it was free on itunes and because I recently discovered Zen Cho. historical romance is so far removed from what I would normally read that I can’t even decide whether I liked this or not. I don’t think this is a bad book, I just think it’s definitely not for me. I did love the characters though, especially Jade and Ravi.
Skye Kilaen
Set in 1920s London, this sex-positive novella isn't quite a romance, but it's a love story with plot beats and an HEA that will please romance readers. Jade Yeo is a Malaysian writer who came to London seeking adventure, but hasn't yet found it when our story begins. It's told through entries from her diary, which are scathingly funny at times, especially when she's messing with her rich Aunt Iris. Jade's friend Ravi, a magazine editor, offers to pay her for a cutting review of the new book by ...more
Zitong Ren
I read this because why the heck not. It’s a short story/novella set in the 1920s. It was fun I suppose though nothing really that special. It is told in a diary format which was a bit weird for me, since I really haven’t read much fiction in that sort of format before. It was just something short that I read in one sitting as a bit of a break between the stuff I normally read. Didn’t love, didn’t hate it, found it to be a bit weird, the end. 6/10
I adored this smart, satirical romance novella set in the 1920s, where young writer Jade Yeo gets sucked into the vortex of a very HG Wells-like cad (with a "very modern marriage", an intense ego and a habit of devouring clever young women, romantically speaking) but ends up finding her (wonderful) true love after all. If you love I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, you'll love the voice and sensibility of this novella - it's resonant of I Capture the Castle in the best possible way (although definitely writt ...more
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a fun little novella with the forthright and assertive Jade Yeo navigating life as a Malay immigrant to London. She makes a modest living as a writer, partly for the Oriental Literary Review run by her friend Ravi. When she writes a scathing review of a prominent English writer's latest work, she finds herself in the same social circles as said writer and interesting events ensue.

I actually enjoyed this much more than Sorcerer to the Crown. Jade and Prunella have a lot in common, partic
Jun 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: r2016, stars-3-5

While waiting for Zen Cho's novel Sorcerer to the Crown to be published in paperback, I found this short-story and thought 'why not'.

The plot revolves around amateur writer Jade Yeo in the Roaring Twenties. Her scathing review of a famous author's latest work as well as her enquiring mind precipitates her into new and tricky situations.

For a romance (label as such), our heroine is particularly un-romantic, to great effect. The charm in this story is indeed not the plot, but the voice. Jade is
Late C19th/early C20th interactions between Asia and Western Europe is a special area of interest for me, as is woman (or at least non-dude!)-centred literature, so I was looking forward to reading this.

It's largely fun, light reading - and a fairly short read at that - but that doesn't mean it is superficial. It's sort of like Georgette Heyer with more wanton face-sucking, non-Western people of colour, and critical consideration of colonialism.

Things which I liked included the fact that it is
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bubu by: Georgie-who-is-Sarah-Drew
Shelves: 4-stars, read-2017
Thank you so much for your recommendation, Georgie. Without it, I would have never come to read this little gem of a story which kept me smiling throughout, only interrupted by some serious laugh-out-loud-moments. As Georgie so perfectly put it in her review, The Perilous Life Of Jade Yeo is full of memorable and clever observations for future use with a most peculiar but utterly loveable Heroine.

I think I've marked more passages in those 81 pages than I usually ever do in a normal full-length
Rafa Brewster
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book. I must have highlighted half of it. The memoirs of a Malaysian girl in 1920s London looking for excitement and adventure and doing her darnedest to avoid returning to her homeland and readymade life complete with future husband. Nearly a century later and I can still relate. I loved her sharp wit and her even sharper tongue, but most of all I just loved how earnest she was about wanting to live life by her rules.
Funny and sweet epistolary tale of a young woman in 1920s London. Jade Yeo is Malayan and of Chinese descent which informs her experiences and opinions on them. She is funny and smart and her reflections in her journal are a treat to read. It winds up feeling quite Austenian. (It is not a fantasy tale, though the author also writes fantasy.)
Rachel Brown
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
A charming novella about Geok Huay (Jade Yeo), a young writer living in London in the 20s. When she writes a scathing review of a prominent novelist's latest book, he responds by inviting her to a party and flirting. A writer needs life experience, so how can she decline the opportunity for the learning experience of an affair?

The book has elements of romance, but it's more of a coming-of-age story; the affair is not particularly romantic, and includes a hilarious, deliberately non-erotic sex s
May 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook
Fiction. Geok Huay—otherwise known as Jade Yeo because westerners can't pronounce her name—keeps a journal to practice her writing, but after she publishes a scathing review of a popular new book, the author invites her to attend a party at his home, and her life, and her journal, get a lot more exciting.

Jade's voice is charming, and her writing is full of surprising metaphors. At one point she describes a man as "having the heavy-lidded gaze of a romantic tapir," and it was so unexpectedly perf
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is my first time reading Zen Cho, and the reason I picked it was because one of the big blogs raved about this novella a few months back. I downloaded an excerpt, forgot about it, and only started reading it last week. Ladies and gents, few paragraphs in I knew it would be excellent, so I went back and bought it.

Fantastic, witty and blunt language, funny and super smart, - the voice of Jade is an absolute delight. If you're coming out of a very badly written book, this is your remedy t
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was most excellent. If you like sassy heroines and love stories, you should like this.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance, historical
The reviews for this were so fantastic I got a sample off Amazon to try. All right, so I didn't know it was a novella going into this, and that the whole thing was only some 23,000 words. I loved the sample. I was blown away. It was written in first person, MC was a writer-wannabe who did reviews and little articles -- essentially, all trite setups, but it was smart, amusing, cute. It even had me, this old cynic, anxious for the inevitable romance between Jade and Sebastien Hardie. Yes, that wou ...more
Pam Faste aka Peejakers
This is adorable! Such a charming story & I love this clever, witty heroine with her sharp humor & insightful observations. And she's a book reviewer, which I kinda got a kick out of :)

The story is told through the medium of a series of journal entries & one letter to a friend, which had a confidential tone I liked. I also liked that characterizations are very nuanced portrayals. There are no real villains, just people with flaws & weaknesses & vulnerability, even the worst of them likable at ti
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
This is the novella that made me smile and laugh out loud in the waiting room of the car repair place today, even though I knew that I was about to spend a very unpleasant amount of money on my wheel alignment. If you have an e-reader of some sort, I highly recommend getting The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo for the next time you're in a similar situation. It is short and fluffy enough to be appreciated in a public waiting room with the TV on, containing plot twists more unexpected than the average ...more
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m back on the novella train. They’re quick and fun and often super cheap (there’s a joke there, but I’m going to leave it alone)--perfect pandemic reading. The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo is one of the quirkiest books I’ve read in a while--not exactly a romance, maybe, but a fun, kind of rompy story of a young woman finding her way in 1920s Britain. It’s told in a series of diary entries chronicling Jade’s romantic conquests, burgeoning writing career, and search for love and fulfillment. There ...more
A quick, fun, cute historical romance read. Zen Cho's wry asides and comic writing is just as on point as in her short stories. ...more
While I wish we spent more time with Ravi, I enjoyed Geok Huay (Jade) a lot. A very blunt and curious lady, whose future novels I look forward to.
kittykat (Jo Tortitude)
We kissed a while—Hardie very gentle and restrained, I trying to work out what I was meant to do with my teeth and tongue and lips. In ordinary kissing one aligns one's lips with the kissee's lips, and presses them together, but in—well—I can't think of a better term—in sex kissing the insides of one's mouth is involved, and it is quite difficult to make it so the respective lips are aligned. One folds one's lips on top of the other's. But caution is required: if anyone's lips s
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, humour
I don't usually get on well with books that are meant to be funny, or books described as satirical, but The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo was great fun. Jade (or Geok Huay, but Jade is a translation and the name she uses in Britain) has a great voice: it took me ages to decide what it reminded me of, until I saw someone else mention I Capture the Castle. Yep, really quite like that, though I think also I'm being reminded of Mori from Jo Walton's Among Others... there's something in the curious, prac ...more
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Set in the 1920s, a young Malaysian writer comes to London to take part in the literary scene there and finds herself in situations she could never have predicted.

This is such a masterfully written little story; it does more in 81 pages than most full-length novels can ever hope to accomplish. Even when I felt uncomfortable or unsure whether I was liking the direction of the story, the writing is so compelling that it hooks you in and never lets you go until the book's over. Jade Yeo (or Geok Hu
May 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: authors-of-color
A cute little story that left me a bit underwhelmed.

Told in the form of Jade's diary, what I missed the most in this story was a sense of place and time. The language is really rather pretty but if the blurb and the titles of each diary entry hadn't said so, I would have had no idea that this was set in the 1920s.

What I did like was Jade's view of the world and relationships. She is a practical woman who doesn't fuss around with romance much. Telling you more would be spoiling, so I'll keep it a
I kind of really want to give this novella 5 stars, but it needed to be just a smidge longer to earn that extra star, I think. I might break down and change my mind though, as it was thoroughly charming, and addressed some subjects - like racism, colonialism, and mental illness- that I don't think I've seen be properly dealt with in many other pieces of romantic historical fiction, which automatically earns it some bonus points.
Definitely recommended! Can't wait to try some of Cho's other works!
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm torn! Cho's writing is so likable: this is told in the form of a journal by the titular Jade Yeo, and Jade's writing is marvelously tongue-in-cheek. But then again this novella features a trope/plot point that I dislike in romance stories! So yes, I'm a bit torn, but I would still say this was an enjoyable reading experience, so I'm leaning towards 4 stars.

Trope in spoiler tags: (view spoiler)
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I'm a Malaysian fantasy writer based in the UK. I've written a novel called Sorcerer to the Crown about magic, intrigue and politics in Regency London; a sequel about cursed sisters, anticolonial witches, dapper dragon dandies and murderous fairies called The True Queen; and a short story collection called Spirits Abroad. Plus some other stuff! I've won a British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer, t ...more

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“But one may like someone enough to kiss them without liking them enough to confide in them. The two are quite different emotions.” 11 likes
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