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My Splendid Concubine
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My Splendid Concubine

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  629 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
No Westerner has ever achieved Robert Hart's status and level of power in China. Driven by a passion for his adopted country, Hart became the "godfather of China's modernism," inspector general of China's Customs Service, and the builder of China's railroads, postal and telegraph systems, and schools. But his first real love is Ayaou, a young concubine. Soon after arriving ...more
Paperback, 380 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by iUniverse
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Sep 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
Writing a book is hard. As a writer, I know how difficult it is to put the pen to paper and put what you have to say out there for the world to see and then be ripped apart. I try to be fair in my reviews and, even when they aren't very good, look for the positive and leave the choice of whether or not to read the book up to my readers. My reviews are my opinion - nothing more.

But sometimes, you come across a book that is so bad that it becomes a moral duty to spare others the pain of reading it
Mirah W
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit disappointed with this book. I had high hopes for it but found it really lacking. I thought it would be about Hart's life in China, his work, how he became so valued by the Chinese government, etc. It was primarily about Hart's constant struggle with his religious beliefs and the keeping of concubines....I thought this would just be one part of the story but instead it overpowered everything else. I didn't need some of the detailed descriptions of Hart's sexual encounters to understa ...more
Nancy Schober
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
It's very curious that the author chose to concentrate on Hart's sex life when no one considers that the most interesting thing about him. His bringing Western business sensibilities to the Eastern world certainly would have been more engaging. i would have expected more poetic prose about his taste for Orientals from an Irishman like Hart than just bald mentions of physical attraction.
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This most amazing book took me on a journey that was deep, vivid, and brilliantly written.

I felt like I was part of the exotic odyssey of Sir Robert Hart, the 19th century British Inspector General of China's Customs Service. So well-written was the book, I was there, side-by-side with Hart, discovering the Chinese culture along with him, learning about the joys and dangers of colonial China just as Hart learns of them.

Because author Lloyd Lofthouse is a master at infusing fact with story, mixin
The Just-About-Average Ms M
Beyond awful. I cannot imagine anything worse than pretentious sex... unless it is pretentious and delusional writing from the first page to the last.
Kathleen Kelly
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Concubine Saga is a fictional of account of a real person, Robert Hart. He was was a British consular official in China, who served as the second Inspector General of China's Imperial Maritime Custom Service from 1863 to 1911. He was born in Ireland but left in disgrace as a young man. He evidently was a very sexual young man and was unable to control his desires, according to his religious upbringing he went to China after he was awarded the position of student interpreter in the China cons ...more
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My Splendid Concubine is a biographical novel about the life of Robert Hart, a British official in China. Born in Ireland, while he attended university, he gained a reputation for his rampant sexual escapades, despite his strict religious upbringing. His father intervened, put a stop to his womanizing, and arranged a post for him as a student interpreter in China. There he met, rescued, and fell in love with Ayaou, a young teen who, with her two sisters, were being sold into slavery/prostitution ...more
Alon Shalev
Jan 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating trip into a lost world, Lofthouse does a great job taking us back in time to a beautiful, almost mythical China. But Lofthouse doesn't shy away from balancing the romantic with the reality. We are not spared the poverty, violence, colonial or sexual exploitation.

His protagonist, Robert Hart, is an engaging character, caught between the morals of his religious Irish background, and his unquenchable thirst to understand the ancient Chinese culture. Sometimes it’s hard to understand h
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
This book is a fictionalized account of Robert Hart who was known as the 'Godfather of China's modernism'. Hart was born and raised in Ireland . In 1954 we went to China to work for the British Consulate as an interpreter.

Robert Hart was set on making up for his days of drinking and womanizing in Ireland. He went to China to prove himself and "grow up." When faced with the possibility of getting a concubine for himself, he felt quite conflicted. However, it was what men did in China, even most o
When I first started to read this story, I found it a little difficult to read because I felt so dismayed over the the way of life of the Chinese and the men's treatment of their women. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stomach it and continue. But I did continue and I'm glad I did....

As Robert first comes to China, I could only imagine the culture shocked he experienced. But he certainly embraces their way of life quickly and as the story unfolds he comes into power that is just incredibl
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Lloyd joined the United States Marines and served in Vietnam in 1966 as a field radio operator. Soon after graduating with a BA in journalism from Fresno State University, California, Lloyd started teaching English, literature, reading and journalism in the public schools from 1975 to 2005. Along the way, he enjoyed working as a maitre d' in a multi-million dollar nightclub and taught himself to c ...more
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