Reviews

Peony in Love, by Lisa See

janefrance's review

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3.0

I didn't enjoy this book as much as her previous book. I didn't quite so connect with the part after the character of Peony had died - it was quite a strange concept with the after-world!

kj80230's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5 I enjoyed the culture and the history. I have read other historical fictions set in Asia and I have really enjoyed them. This one was well written and sad. I really enjoyed the authors note at the end.

mary_rose's review against another edition

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3.0

I definitely went through a roller coaster of emotions with this story. In the beginning I really liked it and I really liked Peony, but as the story went on I started to really disagree with her decisions and the way she went about doing things. At the same time, I understand why she did the things she did. Since she is a young girl, her decisions didn't shock me, and it was also nice to watch her grow into a woman even considering her situation. She is a romantic and a lovesick maiden and keeping those in mind helped me to grasp her reasonings for her actions and even appreciate some of them that I may not have agreed with.

The story is an excellent telling of women helping each other out, women hurting one another, and the lives of women during this time in China. The historical aspect is phenomenal. It gave many historical facts and showed the lives of men and women from every status in seventeenth century China. The setting itself drew me into the story and made me want to keep reading. Part of the focus was also on funeral proceedings during this time, which was just incredibly interesting. The book is beautifully written (and I tend not to like first person POV stories).

I recommend this story for romantics, and those who have an interest in history or the lives of high society (and some low society) men and women of seventeenth century China.

lorimca's review

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3.0

Well, I'm glad I read it because it was well written, but not my kind of novel at all. The ancestor worship and superstition elements were a little much for me -- although I know it's part of the culture/story. Interesting nonetheless.

Certainly a quick enjoyable read with a Disney ending.

mikaiya's review

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4.0

I was fairly certain I would hate this book. I was a bit frustrated that it won the poll in my book group, and my co-coordinators were annoyed, too. The first half of the book did not change my mind.

In this case, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I became entranced as the story unfolded, and I was able to forgive some of the author's faults as I was drawn into the story.

I still am not sure I loved this book, but I am glad for having read it, and I would heartily recommend it to others. That said, this is not beach reading. It is engrossing, but not in the candy and popcorn sort of way.

kgj4k4's review

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3.0

I enjoyed this book, but not nearly as much as Snowflower and the Secret Fan. The entire book seemed a little overly dramatic. It begins with Peony as a 16 year-old girl who is head over heels for someone she doesn't know. Maybe I'm just cynical, but it's hard for me to really "believe" that sort of feeling. Overall, if you're looking for a book about Chinese culture that's got an interesting story behind it I'd say stick with her first novel, Snowflower and the Secret Fan.

wonderumpus's review against another edition

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3.0

sad and unfulfilling for me

lisa01's review

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4.0

This book was interesting just like her others. I liked the beginning but my interest fell when she became a ghost. Then rose as I read more. It makes u think of the afterlife

ecbucher's review against another edition

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3.0

2.5 ⭐️ I’ve been in a reading slump, and unfortunately this book didn’t pull me out of it. I really enjoyed other novels by Lisa See, but this one just didn’t do it for me. I found the story interesting while reading, but it was easy to put down.

melkelsey's review

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4.0

Book 149

First sentence: Two days before my sixteenth birthday, I woke up so early that my maid was still asleep on the floor at the foot of my bed.

I love Lisa See's books. Her passionate writing transports me, culturally and historically, to her substantive Asian settings. Authentic characters with rich inner dialogue and accessible internal conflicts, especially for female readers, are a hallmark of her work. Peony in Love is no exception.

Peony, a young girl on the cusp of an arranged marriage, becomes distraught after meeting and falling in love with a scholar at a performance of her favorite opera, The Peony Pavilion. Consistently written in first-person point-of-view, the second half of the novel is set entirely after Peony's death. While supernatural elements could have been unappealing, they proved to be a boon to the reader's thorough immersion into the period.

See's love of The Peony Pavilion opera and its lore of female writing didn't fully translate. I recommend starting by reading the author's note at the end. Or perhaps the author's lofty goals muddied their fruition. 3.5 stars