Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Peony in Love by Lisa See

Category: Fiction/Historical fiction

Format: Hardcover, 304 pages

Publisher: Random House

Published Date: 26/06/2007

Author's website

I'm sure we've all had literary crushes at some point in our lives or wished we could emulate literary heroes or heroines whose lives we thought were oh so romantic. My crush for the longest time was Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights
(If you've had literary crushes, please do share, I'd hate to think I was the only one! :). I thought Heathcliff's dark, brooding demeanor was soulful and I have often wished I could have been his Catherine, likewise, 15-year old Peony Chen, Lisa See's young protagonist in the brand new novel, "Peony in Love" longs to emulate Li-niang the heroine of Peony's favorite Chinese opera "The Peony Pavilion".

More on Li-niang and the opera "The Peony Pavilion":

The Peony Pavilion, which was first performed 1598 and is still performed today, told the story of a 16-year-old woman,
Li-niang, who wrestled control of her own destiny ( women were so sheltered, they were not allowed step outside the walls of their homes and every decision was made for them by the men of the household) by starving herself and finding love after death. The Peony Pavilion, motivated a lot of lovesick young women in those days to starve themselves to death in order to control their destiny, so much so, the opera was was censored and was officially banned in 1868. Even recently, the Lincoln Center production was temporarily delayed when the Chinese government realized that previously censored parts of the opera were being included in the production.

But coming back to our young protagonist Peony...

On Peony's 16th birthday, her father organizes a viewing of her favorite opera on their property, (much to the dismay of Peony's mother who didn't think the Opera was a good influence on young girls.) During the performance, which takes three evenings to complete, Peony meets and falls in love with a mysterious young man also invited to the performance, however, the thought of never being able to marry him (she was already betrothed to someone of her parents' choosing) causes her to pine so much that she starves herself, all the while making critical notes on the opera in her book. Soon she finds herself close to the death, so in a strange bizarre way, her life seems to be imitating that of
Li-niang, her favorite heroine.

"Peony in Love" is based on a true story of three lovesick maidens(of which Peony is one)...all loved to write, all three were completely obsessed with the opera "The Peony Pavilion" and all were married to the same man (one right after the other). Their notes on the opera were published into a book ( Three Wives' Collaborative Commentary on The Peony Pavillion), the first book by women anywhere in the world.

What I liked about the book:

Set in 17th century Manchu China, Lisa See adeptly lays out sumptuously detailed descriptions of the social customs of the people from that time, including a horrific, but compelling two-page description on foot binding, however, for me, the highlight of the book was the intricate death rituals and the Chinese take on the afterlife. Having been brought up with a Hindu/Roman Catholic view of the afterlife, this made such fascinating reading for me and it was sobering to think how if even one ritual is not done correctly, the soul may be prevented from arriving at its destination leaving it to wander the earth as a hungry ghost, which is what happened to our lovely but otherworldly, narrator, Peony.

A quibble

One little, and I mean little, quibble I have with the book is that it moves very slowly, also, I have to confess the teenage angst displayed by our heroines got a little too much for me at times, but you can blame that on the fact that I already see a lot of teenage angst at home!

"Snowflower" or "Peony"?

Finally, the question you have all been dying to ask...how does it compare with her previous novel "Snowflower and The Secret Fan"? I much preferred "Snowflower" as you can tell my glowing review here however, I see Peony doing well and it will probably be the summer darling of book clubs all over North America.

For another review of "Peony in Love" , please visit Wendy's (Caribou's Mom) blog.

Also visit Biblio File (Jennie) for a beautifully written review here

The Peony pictures below have been inspired by Nat, Nancy and Les who take such gorgeous pictures on their blogs, their pictures encournage me to wield my camera a little more.


lucca said...

How does Heathcliff triumph over Darcy? I have crushes too - one is Darcy (hands down) and Amit Chatterji, from Seth's A Suitable Boy.

lucca said...

Also - can you tell me how to put up pics in the sidebar?

Lotus Reads said...

hi, Lucca!

I think Heathcliff possessed so much more passion than Darcy did. He (Heathcliff) may have been a very angry and bitter man but he was so intense about everything he did. At 15 that really appealed to me for some reason! lol

About uploading pictures in the sidebar, it's very easy to do with bloggerbeta. Go to your dashboard, then layout. Pick "add a page element" from the layout and upload a picture. Good luck!

Sanjay said...

Lotus.. I loved the post and the pictures! You do have a fine looking garden. :-)
I am afraid I have never had a literary crush in my life. Maybe my literary bones (if I may use that term) developed well after the time when I was capable of literary crushes? I am afraid the loss is purely mine. :-)

I read up that link about the Peony pavilion and was very intrigued by the notion of how it developed as a way to counter the rationality of neo – Confucianism. Perhaps the fact that the Peony Pavilion caused young women to starve themselves to death to control their own destiny points to the fact that Xianzu probably succeeded beyond his wildest imagination.

I am curious though about delay of the Lincoln Center production. So were the Chinese authorities trying to influence Lincoln center’s production enough for it to be halted? Did the Lincoln center cave in?
I also read with dismay about how Mindful of contemporary audiences, Pai broke with traditional kunqu opera, which tends to feature older, seasoned performers in lead roles, and insisted on young and beautiful singers to reflect the star-crossed young lovers
This just has me shaking my head, so on one hand we want to glorify something traditional and rightly so, and also succumb for everything "young and beautiful"?

I loved the idea behind the book, although on one level the notion of women starving themselves for love defeats me, but perhaps it is a product of a time when free expression of ones desires or an ability to act upon them was a fantasy. It is interesting to see how tied to tradition and ritual people are. The idea that rituals if not done right would cause a soul to not find its destination is fascinating but only if one believes in the existence of the soul.

I am not familiar with the author Lisa See, so I learnt something new. I will read your review about her book the “snowflower and the secret fan” . Thank you for your post.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Sanjay!

I'm so glad you read up on the opera Peony Pavilion, I think it explains so well, Peony's (and many others like her) love sickness and why these young ladies were so given to pining and other melodramatic behavior. As women they were encouraged to be puppets, not real, live breathing beings. They were always told what to do and could never take decisions even if it concerned them. I guess starving themselves was the only way they could take back some form of control.

About the Lincoln Center Production, I remember reading about it but I don't know enough to answer your questions, I can try and look it up however.

I, too, found it disappointing that the opera would break tradition and go with younger and prettier actresses but Operas are doing all they can to entice a younger audience, perhaps that is why they did that?

Oh, yes, the information Lisa See included on the Chinese afterlife is simply fascinating! I am just making an educated guess here, but are you an agnostic? :)

iliana said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one. I liked Snow Flower quite a bit although there was just one thing about it that bugged me but I just loved the setting and all the historical aspects of it. Oh and regarding literary crushes - the last one I had was on a vampire! ha,ha. Edward from Stephanie Meyer's book, Twilight.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Iliana!

Ooooh, vampires are HOT! Letstat (sp?) from the Anne Rice novels was irresistable, I can totally understand your crush on Edward, even if I haven't read the book!

Can you remember what it was about Snow Flower that bugged you? I'm curious!

Lucca said...

Turns out my blog hadn't been updated and was still on the 'template' mode, not 'layout'. Ugh, me.

Wendy said...

Lovely review, Lotus, and one (as you know) I agree with! Thanks for the link back to my site :)

Lotus Reads said...

@lucca ~ Change over to beta, you'll love it, so many features!

@Wendy ~ You're so welcome! You did a great job with your review...mine's all over the place! :)

Sanjay said...

Hey Lotus, thank you for your response.The peony pavilion link you provided did indeed help by explaining some of the background really well.

I did look up the stoppage of the Lincoln Center production (found it at Lisa See's website) via Google. It was temporary because the Chinese govt took umbrage at scenes of the play and stopped the artists and costumes from leaving China. The production did go ahead eventually with a newer set of artists.

I guess opera as you point out is changing in order to be able entice newer audiences. Sort of off topic but the popularity of singers like Andrea Boccelli has led to the coinage of a term for his brand of singing, which is called popera (pop + opera), for his singing presumably had the appeal of pop while still not having enough gravitas to qualify as opera for some purists.

Ans yes you are right in your guess of me being an agnostic. :)

pussreboots said...

My literary crush was on Jim di Griz, aka the Stainless Steel Rat. Just don't tell Angela (his very violent tempered wife)!

Aarti said...

Oh, no, not another Heathcliff fan! I really dislike Heathcliff, actually- far too high maintenance for me :-)

As for literary crushes, I line up for Mr. Darcy as well. No, perhaps he wasn't as passionate (at least, not that we SAW), but what a man. I have had several literary crushes, so you're not the only one!

In response to your comment on my blog, yes I was in Egypt in January and now I'm in New Zealand- 2007 has been a good year :-) Not so much for reading, though! Once I get home, hopefully the blog will get back on track- I miss keeping up with everyone's reads!

Gaijin Mama said...

I had a crush on Heathcliff, too.

Bookfool said...

It's Mr. Darcy for me, too, although I'm sure there have been others. Love the peony photos and I'm glad to know that I'm one of the inspirations for your lovely photography! I've always been fond of the way you find unique settings in which to photograph your books. I need to give that a try.

Nymeth said...

Regarding literary crushes, I was going to mention Lestat too. But my biggest one was on Armand, also from the Vampire Chronicles. It started when I was 15, and I think a tiny bit of it survives to this very day!

This book sounds quite interesting. I liked what you said about the Death Rituals... I really like books that give me insight into the habits, rites and beliefs of other cultures.

Lotus Reads said...

@pussreboots ~ Hello! I need to go check out Jim di Griz, I'm embarrassed to admit I don't know his character well!

@Aarti ~ Would be great to have you back....but for now enjoy New Zealand. Are you working there or holidaying?

@Gaijin Mama ~ Always great to know another Heathcliff fan! :)

Lotus Reads said...

HI, Sanjay

Thank you for clearing up the Lincoln Center production mystery for me...

I know of Andrea Boccelli and his music but I didn't know about the term popera, thanks for that! I do know, however that recently some of the better known operas have been playing with English translations made available to the audience. I am sure they offend certain purists but "an opera performance should be a living thing, not a museum piece". Sorry, don't know where I heard that but it seems worth repeating.

Would you be tempted to go see one? (this is presuming you haven't seen one already?)

Hollydolly said...

Sweet Anjali:

What a beautiful review,also the beautiful setting for the pictures. I have been meaning to read a Lisa See but have never got around to it. If still available, I would love to read this one.

I have heard so many glowing reports of this author, I think I have been missing out on something good.

BTW, "Golden Age" arrived from the UK yesterday,how about that for speed, faster than "Chapters"

Love and Hugs...Sylvia.

Hollydolly said...

Just had to add, I am forever in love with "Rhett Butler"sigh...........

Sanjay said...

@Lotus. You are very welcome. :)I loved that bit about "an opera performance should be a living thing, not a museum piece". How true!

And yes I would love to go see one if an opportunity presented itself. :)

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Nancy!

You were most definitely an inspiration, also, posting my pictures here on the blog is a cry for help...I really need to know how to remove shadows, how to make the best use of natural light, settings and so many other things. I love taking pictures of people so maybe I will need to start concentrating on portraits. It's fun taking pictures of book covers, from creating the setting to the actual photo...you'll have plenty fun with it!

@Nymeth ~ Yes, the death rituals were fascinating indeed and Lisa See lays it out in great detail...there are a lot of specifics that need to be adhered to if a soul is to become a revered ancestor instead of a hungry ghost and I am sure that places quite a bit of responsibility on the relatives in charge of the burial...I'd be scared to death to be in charge! lol

@Sylvia ~ Hello!!! I'd be delighted to send you the book! I think a lot of the cultural and social details will fascinate you. So glad your book arrived and so quickly too! Isn't it nice to know we can now read UK published books immediately instead of waiting the mandatory 6-12 months before they are published here in North America? Enjoy the read!

Id it is said...

Howard Roark in The Fountainhead, Cousin Ralph in Portrait of a Lady, Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, and of course Heathcliff are to name but a few of my literary heroes, and I've to admit I never outgrew them.

I'm afraid I haven't read any by this author so thank you for introducing me to her.

The title caught my attention because I remembered Georgette Heyer's novel "Peony". Did you perchance read that. It's one of my favorites; a witty historical romance.

Your reference to the practice of 'foot binding' brought Olan to mind. I've always wanted to re read The Good Earth, and thanks to your post , I will this summer.

Those flowers in the picture are captivating and a perfect backdrop for a historical romance.

Tara said...

I've been looking forward to reading this after *really* loving Snow Flower. Thanks for your review, it's the first one I've read. I'd love to throw my name into the drawing, please!

Asha said...

I am in love with Peonies too and I have a bunch in my garden!:))
How are you? I am still out of town but posted few pics for you to guess where I am!:))
See you later Lotus.

Lotus Reads said...

@Sanjay ~ Good to know that, I am inclined to watch the opera, too, something I never thought I would hear myself say! :)

@Id ~ Yes! I have read Heyer but I can't remember reading the novel "Peony". I remember "Arabella" and "Lady of Quality" very well. I read a lot of Heyer as I made the transition from Jean Plaidy to Pearl Buck, Phillipa Gregory etc. I think Pearl Buck also has a novel titled "Peony". I hope you enjoy "Good Earth", I really did!

Laura said...

Wow! Every book you review I want to read!!!! I read a review of this book in a magazine and figured I could pass on it...Now I think I would like it. Have Snow Flower but have not read it yet.

I have not had a literary crush, but now may go back through my mind and think about it...ooohhh, one just popped up!!! Rhett Butler!!!!!!!!!

Hollydolly said...


Thanks for the offer to send me "Peony" I see Tara is interested too, I could send it on to her.Be fun to see how far we can get it to travel....

Id it is said...

Lotus reads,
You're right! It's written by Pearl S. Buck! Thanks.

Les said...

Lovely review and fabulous photographs! I love the way you placed the books amongst your peony bush. Ours didn't bloom this year thanks to the late freeze we had in April. (Oh, and thank you for the kind compliment about my blog photos. You're a sweetheart, Lotus.)

I haven't read either of See's books and am considering reading this one first. We just got copies in at work yesterday and I fell in love with the cover. Thanks for the great write-up.

Jennie said...

Oooooo... I didn't realize this was about Peony Pavilion. One of the papers I was most proud of in college was called "Confucian Wrinkles, Daoist Irons: Religion and Gender in the The Peony Pavilion" I'm also pretty proud of that title. :)

My own bone is that how can Three Wives Collaborative Commentary... by the first book written by women when Peony Pavilion was written a few centuries after Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love?

Still, now I'm really looking forward to this one! But I have to read Pearl Buck's Peony first, as it's due back at the library soon!

diyadear said...

i enjoyed the good earth too. n dont worry abt fallin in love with legends,, i was madly in love with rhett butler too ;)n interestin how the 3 gals end up marrying the same guy..

Gentle Reader said...

Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth are my literary crushes. And Lisa See seems to be out and about all around Los Angeles this week promoting this book. Thanks for the review, and the gorgeous pictures of peonies, my favorite flower!

Literary Feline said...

I enjoyed reading your thoughtful review, Lotus. I just picked up my copy of this book and am looking forward to reading it.

Lotus Reads said...

@Tara ~ I don't know how well "Peony in Love" compares with "Snow Flower" but it's sure worth a read. Since you and Sylvia would both like to read this book I will send it on to Sylvia who has sweetly volunteered to send it on to you.

@Asha ~ Ooooh, love guessing games, will be visiting you soon! Thanks for stopping by even though you are on holiday!

@Sylvia ~ Thank you, you are a sweetie...I have let Tara know

@Id ~ Hey, no problem...I haven't read Pearl Buck's "Peony" by the way.

@Les ~ Thank you, I had fun with the setting. I just thought it was lovely how this book with "peony" in its title was published just when all the peony bushes were in full bloom.

Sorry you didn't have any blooms this year, Les.

Yes, it might work out better if you read this one before Snow Flower...I'll be waiting to see what you think.

Lotus Reads said...

@Jennie ~ lol, that's a really great title! Being so familiar with the opera, "The Peony Pavilion", this book will have your attention all the way.

I, too, had my doubts that this was the first book written and published by women anywhere in the world, but that's what Ms. See said at the Book Expo in Los Angeles...

Would love to pop over and read your thoughts on Pearl Buck's "Peony". Thanks very much for stopping by.

@Diya ~ )interestin how the 3 gals end up marrying the same guy..

This book is full of interesting and weird stuff, you have to learn to suspend disbelief after a while to really enjoy it.

@Gentle Reader ~ Thank you and you're so welcome for the pictures. Oh, true, authors do a lot to promote their books these days...I might go and see her if she gets to Ontario.

@Wendy ~ Wonderful! I cannot wait to hear what you think!

Radha said...

Lovely flowers & great camera-work there! :)
Whats 'foot-binding' by the way?

ML said...

Lotus, wonderful review! Starvation for love? Wow!

I love Peonys. I have several in my garden.

Tara said...

Thank you so much Lotus and Sylvia; I didn't realize the book had been spoken for when I made my comment. I agree that it might be fun to see how far it could go...

Sharanya Manivannan said...

Literary crush? Peter Pan counts, right (albeit that it was the Disney/TV versions that got to me)? When I was about 7 or 8, I was completely obsessed. "Peter" and "Wendy" were the names of alot of characters in the stories I wrote -- they even had cameos in school lessons on grammar and composition. I even had Tinkerbell panties. :)

Bellezza said...

I loved Snow Flower and The Secret Fan, and I've been so looking forward to reading this!

Angela in Europe said...

Well, I think the teenage angst would get to me too and I don't have to put up with any at home.

I was (and still a little) totally in love with Scarlett O'Hara. I have read GWTW several times and Scarlett might be the strongest book character I have ever encountered.

paris parfait said...

I was a fan of Rhett Butler and Scarlett - and so many characters of so many other books. Interesting review of Peony in Love and lovely photos of peonies, or piovine, as the French call them.

Angela in Europe said...

As far as men go, I think I would have to pick any of the leading male characters in Ayn Rand. Gosh if I ever found a man like the ones she wrote about....

Happy Reader said...

Loved your review! Look fwd to reading it. Lovely pictures :)

Olivia said...

Have you ever found a book hard to read or even pick up?

It took me years to pluck up the courage to read Wuthering Heights. No, it's not scary or anything, and I love the Victorian classics, but...it was just one of those books. I read the Tenant of Wildfell Hall no problem, and it is a similar story (a lot more redemption though).

Another book I still have not touched is Les Miserables. And Moby Dick.

As for a literary crush, I will be cliche and say Darcy because it's true. He swept all the others away because I can't think of any more and I am too lazy to go look at my bookshelf to jog my memory.

Sai said...

I had a crush on Darcy and also Max from Daphne Du Maurier's "Rebecca." Also after reading Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the wind" and watching Clark Gable essay the role....Rhett Butler as well :-D

Oops....nice review Lotus! I am so behind in my reading. I just read work related stuff.

Booklogged said...

Beautiful pictures. I love your different colored peonies. Ours bloomed beautifully this year - for the first time. As I enjoyed its beauty from the hammock I thought how that deep pink/burgundy needed a light pink and white to go with it. That will be in another summer, tho.

I loved Snow Flower and am looking forward to this one. I'll probably read it even though it's a bit slow.

Just one week and I'll be in Ontario, Canada. I can hardly wait!

Lotus Reads said...

@Radha ~ Foot binding is a procedure that was common in China right into the early 1900's, where a young girl's foot would be bound everyday with cloth so that the foot is not allowed to grow and she develops tiny feet that they call "Lotus" feet...it was considered a mark of good bearing to have Lotus feet and Chinese men found the feet highly erotic.

@ml ~ My peonies just finished blooming and I snipped all the old blooms off yesterday. I just hope I did it correctly and I get a profusive bloom next year too! Yes, even today people use starvation as a way to draw attention to their cause. I don't see it happening too much in North America, perhaps it's an Asian thing?

@Tara ~ After Sylvia sends the book to you it is yours to do with as you please. Feel free to keep it or pass it on. I hope you enjoy it.

@Sharanya ~ hi!!! THose Tinkerbell parties sound so very cute! Are you still writing stories or you mostly into poetry these days? How is your book of poems doing? Going to visit you this week and play catch up with all that is going on with you. Thanks so much for stopping by.

@Bellezza ~ It's a little different from Snow Flower in that, the characters are not as likable, but any lover of Chinese history and culture will be floored by "Peony in Love", I hope you enjoy the read Bellezza, I think you will!

@Angela ~ Yes, truly, I grew a little tired of all the whining and pining the teenagers in "Peony in Love" did, but the details for Chinese culture during the rule of the Manchus is simply fascinating! I am almost embarrassed to admit I haven't read GWTW! Time to remedy that I am sure. My strongest female character in a book? I can't think of one at the moment, but this is going be spinning around in my mind all day...look what you started Angela! :)

Lotus Reads said...

@Tara ~ Oooooo, Piovine, thank you for that Tara, I am going to have to remember what they are called in French to impress my daughters who study in a French immersion school!

@Chitts ~ Thank you!

@Olivia ~ Oh yes, I am completely terrified of War and Peace, Les Miserables and Moby Dick, especially Moby Dick! I have come to the conclusion I am much too afraid of them to ever enjoy them so I don't think I am going to put myself through all that stress! Maybe I'll read the abridged versions some day! :)

Why does Darcy sweep everyone away? I never really got around to liking him very much. Heathcliff's my man!

@Sai ~ So lovely to see you here. Have missed you much! Darcy and Rhett Butler are clearly the favorites around here and poor Heathcliff trails behind, far behind.

@booklogged ~ Hello! I got your message and I am equally excited you will be here in a few short days! :) Oh, I have always wanted a hammock in my garden...there is still time to put one up this summer, I'll have to get hub to do it. "Peony in Love" is a little slow-going because it is crammed with information, but it continues to stay interesting right up to the end. I think you will enjoy it booklogged!

Lotus Reads said...

@Laura ~ My sweetest friend, didn't mean to leave you out! Thank you for your comment and the nice things you say about my reviews. Yes, the reviews for "Peony" haven't been glowing, I guess everyone that has read "Snow Flower" will feel it pales in comparison, but that might be a little unfair because "Peony" is a good book on its own, especially if you enjoy Chinese rituals and customs. If you do read it, I'd love to know what you think!

carra said...

Lotus, read you're going to Poland on Angela's blog. A little tip, visit Krakow it is the old capital of Poland and it's absolutely beautiful, and when you have some time visit country side that will let you grip a little bit of the true Polish mentality and culture.

gautami said...

Heathcliff was my first crush too!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

You already have 53 comments, so I'll not read them all. I think my first literary crush was probably Rhett Butler...he really 'got' Scarlett, and wow, to have someone who 'gets' you, especially when you're so young you don't even 'get' yourself yet...magic.

This book sounds painful as a parent...who wants to see their child starve? Probably really good, though.

Anali said...

I love the pictures that you've used with this post! You know I love flowers and these peonies are gorgeous! I'm looking forward to more of your photos!

Sugarlips said...


"Wuthering Heights" is my all time fav book and I had a crush on Heathcliff too ;o)I have no idea how many times I've read this book lol.

Your review is very yummy :)
Love the pictures aswell :)
Pretty garden and peonies :)

Stay Beautiful...!!

Framed said...

Love your peonies. They are my favorite flowers. As for a literary crush, I would have to go with Conor Larkin from "Trinity" by Leon Uris. He is a true Irish charmer.

tanabata said...

I thought I'd already commented but apparently not, silly me! The peonies are lovely and thank you for the lovely comment!
I enjoyed 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' and look forward to this one although I think I'll wait for the paperback version.

Lotus Reads said...

@Carra ~ Thanks!!! Your suggestion to visit the Polish countryside is a good one...I hope I have enough time to do that! Thank you so much, I definitely intend visiting Krakow camera in tow!

@Gautami ~ Yeay!!!

@Sugarlips ~ Thank you, thank you! I'm really glad you liked the pictures! I was at your flickr page the other day, you have some wonderful pictures showcased. I enjoyed my visit.

@J ~ I couldn't agree more, it's painful to watch a child starve and at that age when it's over love, it is sadder still.

@Anali ~ Thank you! Will try to oblige from time to time! :)

@Framed ~ you've got me really curious to know more about Conor Larkin now. Has booklogged read "Trinity", I wonder? I will have to ask her about it when I see her on Sunday. Thank you for the visit!

@Nat ~ Not to worry, you probably did leave me a comment and blogger swallowed it up! It's happened to me. You're quite welcome Nat, you are really are quite an inspiration to us photo-loving bloggers!

Um Naief said...

this is so weird that you posted about this very book. i was in the car lastnight and heard an interview w/ the author. i think the book sounds absolutely fabulous and one that i'd love to read.

i hope you are well.

A Reader from India said...

Hi Lotus, 'Peony in Love' sounds intriguing. I would definitely want to check this out. I admire the way you read so many of the latest interesting books and post reviews discussing them in depth. Love your blog!

Talking of literary crushes, I felt rather scared of Heathcliff when I read Wuthering Heights, probably as I was nine at that time. I wondered how Catherine preferred Heathcliff to the gentle, loyal Edgar Linton! I have lost count of my friends who swear by Mr. Darcy, but I did not have a crush on him either. I remember joking with my best friend about the long and boring speeches Elizabeth and Darcy make to each other!

My literary crushes were more on long-dead authors rather than characters - My first ever crush was on Henry Louis Vivian Derozio. Seeing his picture in my History textbook and after reading his poem to India 'To my native land', I was deeply impressed. And I have a big crush on Rupert Brooke :-)

Bookfool said...


Lighting is the trickiest thing about photography, really. If you know how to expose for light correctly, you've pretty much got it made (assuming you can also focus and don't cut off heads, etc.). I still have trouble getting my exposure right, a lot of the time, but the best outdoor lighting for portrait photography is what some people call "cloudy bright" - overcast, to eliminate harsh shadows and overexposure. Otherwise, morning or evening light is best because it's softer - avoid times when the sun is harsh, like the middle of the day. You really have to work around Mother Nature when it comes to taking photos outdoors!

Lotus Reads said...

@um naief ~ Hi! Were you listening to the Lisa See interview on Bahraini radio or was it internet radio? Either way, it was a nice coincidence wasn't it? Thank you so much for stopping by...I am well..school's out for the kids and we're coming out of a long weekend, this is why I have been a little slow to respond to comments and to visit blogs, but I will be coming around soon!

@A Reader ~ I am delighted to hear from you! Oh, I can quite understand why Heathcliff might seem intimidating. He wasn't the easiest person to like, but he was a "bad boy" and you know how bad boys tend to attract good girls!lolol I don't quite get the attraction for haughty Darcy either, but there has to be something because he is so popular with the ladies, perhaps I will have to go back and read "Pride and Prejudice" again and this time, without any prejudice! ;)

Thank you for the kind words about my blog...really nice of you to say these lovely things.

Why don't I remember Henry Louis Vivian Derozio? I looked him up on Wikipedia and I see he has written a lot of poems on India...I will have to go read more of him, thank you! And ahhh@ Rupert Brooke, wasn't he known for his war poems?

Lotus Reads said...


Happy Fourth! I meant to get back to your helpful comment yesterday but something came up and I forgot to return,I'm sorry!

Thank you so much for the pointers, yes, I have found direct sunlight really messes with my pictures...I will have to remember "cloudy bright"! I do love the morning sun, but my subjects (namely my teenager and her sleepy sister) are not too cooperative in the mornings! lol

3M said...

I LOVED Snow Flower. Can't wait to read this one!

Priya said...

those pics a lovely

Um Naief said...

we were listening to her on bahrain radio. her life and family is so interesting... and she sounds so grounded and happy... has such calmness.

the baby is cutting his first teeth... and is sleeping now... so i'm taking this chance to catch up.

i just started reading The Caliph's House. after this one, i want to get this one.

i'm glad you're well.

Jennie said...

According to Lisa See's website, Three Wives Commentary is the first book of literary criticism published by women. I'll buy that. :)

Also, I'm still madly in love with Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables and the oldest Pensieve boy (Peter?) from Chronicles of Narnia.

Lotus Reads said...

@3M ~ I can't wait till you do, what love to see what you think!

@Priya ~ Thanks!

@Um Naief ~ The Caliph's House is a great read, I so enjoyed it, hope you do too!

@Jennie ~ Thanks! Shows you how attentively I was listening to her speech at the Book Expo (but what's new?). Will amend my post immediately. Thanks again Jennie!

mystic rose said...

those peonies look lovely! and the book among them..

wonderful review. i wil look out for that book now. :)

tell me one book you absolutely loved,
something recent.

Jennie said...

Lotus-- the introduction to the book just says "first book of it's kind" you had to dig for the information. My guess is you heard just fine! Also, I just finished it last night-- Fantastic!

Lotus Reads said...

@mystic rose ~ Thank you! Peonies are so beautiful, they beg to be photographed, don't they? :)

One recent book I absolutely loved? Well, I really liked "Peony in Love" but I have to say "A Golden Age" by Tahmima Aman held my attention more.

Thank you for the visit!

@Jennie ~ THanks! Hope you've written up a review for it? Will visit you soon!

Jennie said...

Lotus--no review yet, but probably tomorrow (Friday)

iamnasra said...

WOW ..this is great..I enjoyed being in this journey

mystic rose said...

A Golden Age by Tahmima Aman .

thanks for that!
that's next on my list then. :)

Christina said...

Great post! I truly loved this book. I was looking for more information online when I came across your book review.
Literary crushes? Lets see...I have to agree with those others here who've had a 'thing' for Lestat from the Anne Rice books (Louis was such a wimp). If a may admit, around age 14 or so I really liked the V.C. Andrews novels and had a MAJOR thing for Troy Casteel from the "Heaven" series: he played Chopin, wrote poetry, and lived in a little hidden cottage in the middle of a hedge maze. How cool is that? To bad he was her secret half-uncle, but that's just the way it goes with those VC Andrews books, isn't it? :P

The Joy of Weddings said...

I heard Lisa See speak tonight, in the Cayman Islands. She was very good, talking about Peony. I found this blog looking for Lisa's blog, and I';m glad I did. I'm definitely going to try to find A Golden Age. Will look forward to more recommendations from this group.

This week I read "Paint It Black" by Janet Fitch, excellent, better even than "White Oleander"