Saturday, August 3, 2013

ARC Review: The Lotus Palace

The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin
5/5 stars
Harlequin, 2013
378 pages
Adult Historical Romance
Scheduled to release August 27

Source: Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I really don't read much romance lately, having chosen to focus largely on YA lit but a new Jeannie Lin always causes me to clear room in my schedule. Therefore when I received this for review, I made sure to get it on my reading calendar. I was a little frightened after reading the author's note where she talks about how many classic Chinese love stories following a scholar and a courtesan have a tragic ending but I put my trust in Lin to weave another enchanting tale that gave me an appropriate ending-I don't read romance novels to have them end in death or separation!

As expected, Lin created two very strong characters in the persons of Yue-ying, maidservant to the beautiful courtesan in the district, and Bai Huang, aristocratic playboy with undiscovered depths. The big change-up this time is how the pair are investigating a murder mystery. Though Lin's books have touched on political conspiracies, this was the first one to have a mystery take such prominence although as may be expected, the romantic tension was the part I most enjoyed reading. Bai Huang plays the fool, the charming man who everyone loves to have around and I'm kind of a sucker for such a guy especially when he looks past the obvious physical charms of some women to see the real treasure that is Yue-ying.

However my favorite parts were definitely any mention of the restricted roles of women such as how courtesans might remain silent about a crime because the men in power don't listen to them or how women navigate the tricky narrow roles they do have in society. These are sprinkled sporadically throughout the novel but I eagerly ate up everyone and loved the picture they painted of society. You can try to keep women down but they're humans with agency and they'll fight back any way they can.

Overall: I'm a total Lin fangirl-I just adore her historical romances and her incredibly strong main characters. This is another winner!

16 comments:

  1. It's nice when you have a fave author to look forward to and I'm sure it made for a nice change from reading YA :)

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    1. It was a fun change-don't get me wrong, I love YA but I like to mix it up too!

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  2. I haven't heard of this before, but I do enjoy historical fiction and I find myself reading more and more non YA. Thanks for the review!
    -Danna

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    1. I love the atmosphere in these books; I feel like I'm transported back there though admittedly this one was lacking in food descriptions.

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  3. Ah, I love historical romance. I haven't read anything by this author yet but I love the way you describe her writing. This sounds like one I will definitely be picking up when I get tired of YA, the romance sounds fantastic and the characters great!

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    1. I think she's amazing-be sure to check out my giveaway!

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  4. I love reading about courtesans and that sort. I'll look out for this one.

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    1. See I don't tend to like courtesan stories so I probably would have skipped this one if it hadn't been from Lin.

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  5. Ooh I think I saw a request review email about this one, I'd better take another look since you're singing its praises and I do like Chinese/Japanese culture

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  6. This sounds really good! I like the idea of the murder mystery combined with the historical details and information about women's lives at that time and place. I like it when a historical romance is more than a typical love story.

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    1. I really enjoyed the way the mystery was incorporated-a change of pace for Lin.

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  7. Murder mystery, romantic tension, and historical - this book sounds amazing!! I'll have to see if my library has this book, or one of the author's other novels.

    Fabulous review :)

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    1. It's got everything-and Lin's other books are pretty good too. They're all set around the same time in China.

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  8. I hadn't even heard of this author! This book sounds really great. I love Asian stories for some reason, especially historical or fantasy. I'll have to remember this one in the future.

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    1. Glad to bring her to your attention-I think she's great but hasn't gotten the buzz she deserves!

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