Peony’s mother is against her daughter’s attending the production: “Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.” But Peony’s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave–and is immediately overcome with emotion.So begins Peony’s unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow–as Lisa See’s haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place–even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one’s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa See’s new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.
Peony in Love
Praise for Peony in Love:
“Engrossing…[a] thought-provoking meditation on what it means to be human.” People (Critic’s Choice) “There are grand and stately themes here—the transcendence of love, the silenced voices of women, the subversive power of art… Peony in Love is a transporting read, to lost worlds earthly and otherwise.” The Chicago Tribune “A quietly beautiful tale that sneaks into the reader’s heart… Not since Susie Salmon of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones has a ghostly narrator been as believable and empathetic.” San Antonio Express-News “See is gifted with a lucid, graceful style and a solid command of her many motifs.”
“Shakespearean in its themes and emotional depths.” St. Paul Pioneer Press “A beautiful book about love that reads like an edge-of-your seat thriller you never want to put down or see end….The end of the book fairly soars and had me on the verge of tears. Had I not been in public upon reading the last page, I would have fallen….This is a book to be read and reread, savored and relived, pored over and relished.” The Book Reporter “See is a master storyteller, calling on her knowledge of history, myth, and current international events to craft intricate narratives that are at once edifying and evocative. InPeony in Love, she leads us on a literary adventure into the past that will have relevance to today’s readers who value drama, accuracy, and the lure of the written word.”