Împărăteasa Orhidee

Împărăteasa Orhidee❰EPUB❯ ✸ Împărăteasa Orhidee Author Anchee Min – Oaklandjobs.co.uk Imparateasa Orhidee este povestea unei tinere manciuriene care, pentru a si salva familia din ghearele saraciei si pentru a evita casatoria cu varul ei, participa alaturi de alte trei mii de fete la s Imparateasa Orhidee este povestea unei tinere manciuriene care, pentru a si salva familia din ghearele saraciei si pentru a evita casatoria cu varul ei, participa alaturi de alte trei mii de fete la selectia concubinelor imperiale Odata aleasa una dintre cele sapte sotii ale imparatului Hsien Feng, Orhideea trebuie sa infrunte misterele, intrigile, ritualurile si superstitiile Orasului Interzis, in care va ramane vreme dede ani. A man who does not like power will suffer from its crueltyShan SaAnchee Min, a Chinese author, has penned an enlightening tale about the last empress of China in her book called, Empress Orchid that revolves around a young concubine of the last emperor of the forbidden city where the young lady is caught in the race against an heir to the king in order to rise above her mistress status, but once she becomes the empress, she gets tangled up in the war of jealously, rage, ugly politics,A man who does not like power will suffer from its crueltyShan SaAnchee Min, a Chinese author, has penned an enlightening tale about the last empress of China in her book called, Empress Orchid that revolves around a young concubine of the last emperor of the forbidden city where the young lady is caught in the race against an heir to the king in order to rise above her mistress status, but once she becomes the empress, she gets tangled up in the war of jealously, rage, ugly politics, scandals against the kingdom which she wants to desperately save it from the English invaders but the problem is the kingdom doesn t want to be saved, thereby becoming the sole reason for the downfall of the forbidden city Synopsis The setting is China s Forbidden City in the last days of its imperial glory, a vast complex of palaces and gardens run by thousands of eunuchs and encircled by a wall in the center of Peking In this highly ordered place tradition bound, ruled by strict etiquette, rife with political and erotic tension the Emperor, the Son of Heaven, performs two duties he must rule the court and conceive an heir To achieve the latter, tradition provides a stupendous hierarchy of hundreds of wives and concubines It is as a minor concubine that the beautiful Tzu Hsi, known as Orchid as a girl, enters the Forbidden City at the age of seventeen It is not a good time to enter the city The Ch ing Dynasty in 1852 has lost its vitality, and the court has become an insular, xenophobic place A few short decades earlier, China lost the Opium Wars, and it has done little since to strengthen its defenses or improve diplomatic ties Instead, the inner circle has turned further inward, naively confident that its troubles are past and the glory of China will keep the barbarians the outsiders at bay Within the walls of the Forbidden City the consequences of a misstep are deadly As one of hundreds of women vying for the attention of the Emperor, Orchid soon discovers that she must take matters into her own hands After training herself in the art of pleasing a man, she bribes her way into the royal bedchamber and seduces the monarch A grand love affair ensues the Emperor is a troubled man, but their love is passionate and genuine Orchid has the great good fortune to bear him a son Elevated to the rank of Empress, she still must struggle to maintain her position and the right to raise her own child With the death of the Emperor comes a palace coup that ultimately thrusts Orchid into power, although only as regent until her son s maturity Now she must rule China as its walls tumble around her, and she alone seems capable of holding the country together This is an epic story firmly in the mold of Anchee Min s Becoming Madame Mao Like that best selling historical novel, the heroine of Empress Orchid comes down to us with a diabolical reputation a woman who seized power through sexual seduction, murder, and endless intrigue But reality tells a different story Based on copious research, this is a vivid portrait of a flawed yet utterly compelling woman who survived in a male world, a woman whose main struggle was not to hold on to power but to her own humanity Richly detailed and completely gripping, Empress Orchid is a novel of high drama and lyricism and the first volume of a trilogy about the life of one of the most important women in history Orchid, a young and whose beauty is compared to that of the orchid flower, finds herself caught up in the Imperial and royal court of the forbidden city, when a royal decree announces that the Emperor is looking for mistresses of pure blood, and since Orchid belonged from the Manchu community but with a mediocre background, she luckily gets chosen by the royal court and hereby commences her life in the palace, where mistresses plot against one another to win the trust of the Emperor by bearing him an heir And Orchid must join this race against fertility to make the king happy and to help herself in the royal court filled with jealousy, rage, rivalry and enmity both by the insiders as well as the by the outsiders Once again, luck plays in favor of Orchid, when she bears the Emperor a son, but sadly the Emperor s failing health takes a toll on him and takes him away too soon from his dear ones as well as from his Empire So to save the Forbidden city as well as her 5 year old son, who is not of age to rule a kingdom, Empress Orchid takes over the throne, and like they have forever criticized that she became the reason of downfall of the Chinese kingdom in the hands of the European invaders and rulers, this book tells the truth behind her downfall I ve always been a fan of Oriental historical fiction, since they are so much rich with beauty, so many elements and oriental flavor that is riveting to read about Although Min s book about the last empress of China, which is a fictional story yet based on the real life account of the Empress, is really well layered with custom, culture and culture of the 19th century China, yet somewhere the central character, Empress Orchid, on whim this book is based on, is not at all well developed, rather, she lacks depth As for me, I failed to connect with the Imperial queen who became the sole reason for the downfall of the Forbidden city The writing style of the author is really articulate and laced with enough emotions that will move the readers deeply The prose is often lyrical and with a fairly fast pace, the story reads like some intriguing and mystifying fairy tale, only this fairy tale has no happy ending The dialogues are enchanting and realistic enough to let the readers relate t the characters voices and plights There are lot of layers and multi elements that will keep the readers engaged till the very last page The backdrop of the Forbidden City is vividly painted with bright hues of colors, rich culture, superstitious customs, servants whispers, oriental flowers and ponds, everything easily comes alive right before the eyes of the readers The author s research is spot on, since the story delves deeper with accurate details about that era s feel Sadly the characters took a back seat in this story The story might be very rich, but the characters are extremely dull unlike their bright background The main character, Orchid, is a compelling protagonist, but both her back story as well as her journey fails drastically to give the readers a clear impression about her personality Her journey is enduring, but she is the one who fails to connect the readers with her heart breaking journey The rest of the supporting characters mar the charm of this story In a nutshell, the story is extremely absorbing to read about but sadly the characters steal away the limelight and make it look tremendously dull and boring Verdict Could have been a great book I can t say exactly whether this book is a work of fiction or a biography It tells the story of Ci Xi, China s Last Empress the one who arranged the ascend of China s Last Emperor, Pu Yi in her own voice Ci Xi has always been portrayed as a ruthless, evil woman with insatiable thirst for power and, in this book, she s described as a simple and sensuous woman who wants the best for her husband, a mother who wants her son to have what s rightfully his, and a I don t know what who wants the bes I can t say exactly whether this book is a work of fiction or a biography It tells the story of Ci Xi, China s Last Empress the one who arranged the ascend of China s Last Emperor, Pu Yi in her own voice Ci Xi has always been portrayed as a ruthless, evil woman with insatiable thirst for power and, in this book, she s described as a simple and sensuous woman who wants the best for her husband, a mother who wants her son to have what s rightfully his, and a I don t know what who wants the best for China.The book starts off well funny and engaging I couldn t put it down However to wards the end, it gets rather dishonest this poor, uneducated girl has blossomed into a modern ruler who understands the need for foreign diplomacy and statesmanship she authorized voting, for God s sake OK, perhaps I m not being fair here but the images toward the end of the book are closer to Hillary Clinton among books and state documents rather than Imperial China where the Emperor has the absolute power All these are true accounts actually, it s just the portrayal that I think is exaggerated.Unfortunately, the story ends when the son becomes the Emperor The years following that, actually, are the most important ones which establishes her reputation as a powerful, ambitious, and intelligent Empress.Writing style, it s nice and simple Words and phrases flow well Everything can be summarized in the following excerpt from Julia Lovell s review for the Guardian Considering Anchee Min grew up in China and, according to her author biography, learned her English from Sesame Street, the language is generally pretty competent, and sometimes even engaging bamboo rafts drift down a river like a giant loose necklace At other, less assured points, unfortunately, the tone swings queasily between fortune cookie wisdom A dead camel is bigger than a live horse , Mills Boon Take me, the empress gasps at Yung Lu when they find themselves alone together in the emperor s tomb and the downright eccentric My body fermented like a steamed bun An easy read, for sure Can get quite funny in the beginning And the historical events, accurate or not, are quite harmless.PS expect a few erotically charged scenes in this book Who says Asians are prudes After my negative review of The Twentieth Wife A Novel, Mintzi recommended The Last Empress as a superior alternative and I thought I might as well read the prequel first Empress Orchid started off pretty strong Orchid, like Mehrunissa from The Twentieth Wife, is a poor girl who miraculously rises to be the emperor s wife but unlike Mehrunissa, is not a goody goody Mary Sue heroine Chosen from among thousands of young women as the emperor s fourth concubine, Orchid discovers that palace After my negative review of The Twentieth Wife A Novel, Mintzi recommended The Last Empress as a superior alternative and I thought I might as well read the prequel first Empress Orchid started off pretty strong Orchid, like Mehrunissa from The Twentieth Wife, is a poor girl who miraculously rises to be the emperor s wife but unlike Mehrunissa, is not a goody goody Mary Sue heroine Chosen from among thousands of young women as the emperor s fourth concubine, Orchid discovers that palace life is oppressively dull She remains unnoticed by the emperor but her responsibility notwithstanding to be on call for him 24 7 precludes any other activity which might serve as a source of stimulation or assuage her loneliness Desperate to change her circumstances, she bribes her way into the emperor s bed and learns all sorts of tricks to satisfy him, so that she manages to stay on his radar screen long enough to get pregnant with luckily his only son At this point, the book took a turn for the worse Dialogue and narrative became increasingly pedantic as the novel s focus shifted from Orchid s personal struggles to the wars plaguing China at the time and Orchid s increasingly active role in assisting the emperor I don t know enough about Chinese history to tell you whether this aspect of the story was accurate or realistic, but I can tell you this it bored me And it didn t have to The political intrigue could have been interesting, had it been a little less dry and impersonally written.Toward the end, the book depicted Orchid s lack of control in the decisions surrounding her son As the fourth concubine outranked by the official empress, Orchid was compelled to defer to the empress who overindulged her son rather than building his character Orchid, who wished her son to be disciplined so as to become an effective ruler, naturally lost influence with him as she tried to take a harder line It s a complex conflict, but despite this, Anchee Min had completely lost my interest at that point and I was skimming the book rapidly and not missing much, I suspect Anchee Min recreates 1850s China with great detail which starts out fascinating but eventually gets tiresome as it weighs down the story Similarly, I started out liking and empathizing with Orchid but eventually grew disenchanted with her as the story became less about her andabout China and her character became increasingly flat By the end of the book, I couldn t bring myself to care all that much about her or her story, and am not sure whether I will end up picking up the sequel Bullet Review This was a lot of fun to read I m always interested in new cultures and new time periods, so this was perfect for me I loved Orchid she s the independent, strong willed female protagonist we re always promised and never get There were some dry sections, along with a lot of narration and not so much action, but I still enjoyed this heartily.Full review Orchid is a young woman who moved from Wuhu with her family and father s body to Peking Living in destitution, her best chance Bullet Review This was a lot of fun to read I m always interested in new cultures and new time periods, so this was perfect for me I loved Orchid she s the independent, strong willed female protagonist we re always promised and never get There were some dry sections, along with a lot of narration and not so much action, but I still enjoyed this heartily.Full review Orchid is a young woman who moved from Wuhu with her family and father s body to Peking Living in destitution, her best chance for a good life is to compete against hundreds of other young Manchu ladies to be one of Emperor Hsien s concubines and maybe one of the lucky 7 to be his wife.Through her persistence and cunning, Orchid rises from her humble beginnings to be one of the Emperor s wives, to give birth his only male child, and to stay alive amongst the back stabbing Inner Court.I feel rather ashamed I enjoyed this book heartily, devouring the last 50 100 pages eagerly, and yet I really had almost no desire to review it It s taken me a week to the day since I finished it to get back to reviewing it, so please excuse me if my memory is incomplete or this review is what I m afraid it will be incredibly boring.But let me start off with an OFF TOPIC story when I was a child, I went to a private school in Hawaii Out of a class of 30 students or so , I was one of three Caucasian children Most of the rest were Hawaiian, Japanese, or Chinese I sincerely believe my early interactions with so many varied cultures and races is what kept me from being too much of a bigot and a racist being raised in a fundamentalist evangelical culture tends to make a person that way.Ever since that early childhood, I have been fascinated with the Chinese and Japanese cultures I constantly checked out non fiction books on the subject but always was disappointed at how little information those children s non fiction books had I would have read adult non fiction, but the word adult at the time scared me into thinking that it was dirty and inappropriate ah the life of a fundamentalist evangelical I tried at various points to teach myself the language nope, didn t work or to read books by Chinese and Japanese authors When it was time to select a country to do a report on, I chose China and spent an inordinate amount of time and effort into my China report when I was in 7th grade I loved that report to be honest I made this binder for it that was painted in beautiful white, red, and pink cherry blossom flowers.This love of the people and cultures has continued into my adult life I wanted so badly to take Japanese in college, but practicality and fear held me back I resorted to reading Memoirs of a Geisha and watching the movie to feed this desire to learnabout these wonderful people.More recently, a friend sent me a copy of this book to Buddy Read Normally, I would not bother to read anything set in the mid 19th century I have been pummeled with that period from my three years of taking American History and how even World History seemsfocused on America and Western Europe than any other part of the Globe But I trust my friend s taste of books, and, like I spent several paragraphs above saying, I love learningabout China and Japan, so a couple of weeks ago, I began my journey into 19th century China.There are many things I could use this review space to say about the book I could talk about the fascinating characters, from Orchid, a woman who is actually time period appropriate and yet every bit the independent spunky woman nearly every Historical Fiction novel promises, to An Te Hai, her eununch, to Tung Chih, her son I could talk about the writing style, which was beautiful without bogging down the narrative in silly faux Asian metaphors I could mention how gripping it was, watching Orchid fight tooth and nail to make sure her son was appointed Emperor and how she had to use her wits to get pregnant in the first place There are many, MANY things I could say about the book, and all would be relevant.But sometimes we want the irrelevant, the OFF TOPIC responses when we are reading a review If I wanted a strict list of characters and plot, I could go to Wikipedia, the cover blurb, Publisher s Weekly, a professional review, etc No, sometimes I want to read about a person s gut reaction to a book, how it made him or her feel How she was drawn to the characters and couldn t put the book down How she felt a connection to the events How she came to get the book and how her OFF TOPIC backstory made her interested in the book and love it.And so, that is my review of this book It s meandering and OFF TOPIC, but it is not one of the Mad Libs reviews you can find in a bajillion places It is from my heart I loved this book sure, it was slow in places and sometimes I got lost in the writing, but I enjoyed the hell out of it and felt like I learned a lot as I m no historian, I have no clue how accurate to the time period it really is, but it at least FELT real And when I m looking for a book to read, perusing my friends reviews, what I want is HEART not just another manufactured, soulless review I read this book several years ago, and I thought it was about time for a re read, especially since I remembered it as being a good read What I found interesting was the differences from how I remembered it It was shorter than I recalled, andbrutal and heart wrenching.What I enjoy the most about Empress Orchid, and Anchee Min s writing in general, is her skill at description She knows how to turn a phrase in an interesting and quirky way that grabs the attention and at the same time fee I read this book several years ago, and I thought it was about time for a re read, especially since I remembered it as being a good read What I found interesting was the differences from how I remembered it It was shorter than I recalled, andbrutal and heart wrenching.What I enjoy the most about Empress Orchid, and Anchee Min s writing in general, is her skill at description She knows how to turn a phrase in an interesting and quirky way that grabs the attention and at the same time feeds the reader information, and it s all done through show not tell, without info dumping Min s writing style has been described as eccentric and awkward, but I disagree It has a wonderful deft touch and flow to it that makes it feel natural and thoughtful.The driving force that carries the story is, of course, Orchid herself Min writes Orchid s character with incredible humanity Orchid s story begins with hardship, which Orchid uses her wits and extraordinary luck to escape But over time her regrets pile up, and Min portrays this with great poignancy view spoiler Orchid discovers that life in the Forbidden City is meaningless and hollow, and almost cannot bear the prospect that her life will be lived without love it s the kind of human regret we can all identify with yet, the funny thing about regret, and which is certainly true in Orchid s case, is that she did everything she could to escape the other life she could have had, a life of hard work, poverty, and an unwilling marriage, and there was never any guarantee that her life would have been happier on the outside hide spoiler Yet, her feelings are ones we can all identify and empathise with Orchid is practical, frustrated, forthright, smart, and imperfect and I identified with her as a reader because of that Don t we all dwell on our own imperfections, regret the choices we ve made, and imagine others lives to be perfect She s definitely a character I rooted for Life in the Forbidden City felt insular and Min succeeded in creating a real sense of cabin fever that really came through to me.I have to admit, my knowledge of East Asian history is minimal, so I can t testify to the accuracy of Min s portrayal I applaud the way she weaves relevant historical details into the narrative without making it clumsy or plonking it down in laborious chunks What little I know of Cixi Orchid suggests she was a formidable and ruthless character, and not a terribly likable person However, Min creates a character who is very sympathetic Due to my lack of knowledge, I m left wondering whether the accepted idea of Cixi is real, or whether Min s portrait, which implies that Cixi s reputation was exaggerated and blackened by her enemies, is arealistic vision.9 out of 10 BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN BUT SADLY UNDERWHELMING Popsugar Reading Challenge 2019 A book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America This was by no means a bad book It just wasn t a book I am going to remember either Which is really a shame, because I really enjoyed some of Anchee Min s other books, such as Red Azalea This, however, missed the mark for me, personally THE THINGS I LIKED Writing The prose of this book was so beautiful, flowery and lyrical, it just flowed off the BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN BUT SADLY UNDERWHELMING Popsugar Reading Challenge 2019 A book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America This was by no means a bad book It just wasn t a book I am going to remember either Which is really a shame, because I really enjoyed some of Anchee Min s other books, such as Red Azalea This, however, missed the mark for me, personally THE THINGS I LIKED Writing The prose of this book was so beautiful, flowery and lyrical, it just flowed off the page and into my imagination WHAT I DISLIKED Characters I need to be able to feel the characters of a book to connect with them and enjoy the story unfolding before me I could not feel these characters I could not like them Especially the main character, Orchid, was strange and closed off She was a spectre.Repeat Reading this, I felt like I had already read it It seems to me, that any time anyone writes about a royal woman in China the story follows the same construct Woman marries emperor, has to stand out from a crowd to gain his affections, overcomes the odds stacked against her The same of the case here and I almost felt like I didn t have to finish it because I had already read this storyFollow me forbook goodness Facebook Twitter Instagram I enjoyed this story It s the first time I ve read author, Anchee Min, and I think she crafted an interesting look at China in the mid 1800 s The Forbidden City where the Emperor and his wives, concubines and eunuchs lived has always been of interest to me I like stories about palace intrigues and this was a good one I will read the sequel and other books I can find by the author I picked it up on a whim as I was looking for a different book on the shelves of my library and my intuition was I enjoyed this story It s the first time I ve read author, Anchee Min, and I think she crafted an interesting look at China in the mid 1800 s The Forbidden City where the Emperor and his wives, concubines and eunuchs lived has always been of interest to me I like stories about palace intrigues and this was a good one I will read the sequel and other books I can find by the author I picked it up on a whim as I was looking for a different book on the shelves of my library and my intuition was spot on that I would like it The story of the Dowager Empress of China It is mostly on her first few years as a concubine, with very little about the final years of the empire but that s covered in The Last Empress Nevertheless, very good at capturing the atmosphere and political intrigue The story continues in The Last Empress The story of the Dowager Empress of China It is mostly on her first few years as a concubine, with very little about the final years of the empire but that s covered in The Last Empress Nevertheless, very good at capturing the atmosphere and political intrigue The story continues in The Last Empress I really wanted to love this book I loved the author s autobiography RED AZELEA and her novel KATHERINE about a foreign English teacher in China, so I expected EMPRESS ORCHID to bring together her amazing talent for prose narrative in English, enhanced with her first hand research of Chinese sources, to bring to life the mis judged history of Empress Dowager Tz u Hsi return return I anticipated some embellishments, but the total re creation of Tzu Hsi as Orchid , into a kind of modern wo I really wanted to love this book I loved the author s autobiography RED AZELEA and her novel KATHERINE about a foreign English teacher in China, so I expected EMPRESS ORCHID to bring together her amazing talent for prose narrative in English, enhanced with her first hand research of Chinese sources, to bring to life the mis judged history of Empress Dowager Tz u Hsi return return I anticipated some embellishments, but the total re creation of Tzu Hsi as Orchid , into a kind of modern woman warrior, was too much for me To ask the reader to believe that an uneducated female was able to pick up enough formal literary Chinese to be able to read court documents is stretching history way too far Wouldn t it have made afascinating story to construe how Orchid was able to hold onto power so long in spite of being illiterate return return The first third of the book is a masterful depiction of the sights, smells, sounds, social structure, of late 19th Century China, and would have gained 5 stars, but the rest devolved into conjecture after conjecture which mix like sour notes in an otherwise brilliant composition It s a novel, but it s not a historical novel Moreover, I en ed that the whole tory was being pitched to the maller mind of Hollywood in hope of a movie deal I felt like the author let down her loyal fans while trying to ride her own popularity to chase the return return The best part of Empress Orchid is the list of 5 tone setting quotations from other sources in the facing page prior to the map unnumbered pages One of these quotes is from Sterling Seagrave from his book DRAGON LADY THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF THE LAST EMPRESS OF CHINA, which refers to the fact that in 1974 most of the previously trusted scholarship on Tzu Hsi had been revealed as counterfeit This led me to buy Seagrave s book, which explores the falsehoods of these earlier works, and turns into a fluid and fascinating narrative that is truly Biographical History return return In short, you can choose to spend your precious time on 336 pages of a fictional romance novel Empress Orchid , or 463 pages of intelligent, delicious historical biography followed by 135 pages of fascinating notes and complete index As a student of Chinese language, literature, and history, I recommend reading Seagrave s book first The first grown up movie a movie with subtitles, adult themes, and not based on a comic book or video game I ever saw was The Last Emperor I saw it pre high school I can t remember why I wanted to see it I can remember really wanting to see it and loving it I still love it So it should be no surprise that the first Anchee Min book I pick up is this one.At this point, I should let you know that I know very little about Chinese history so I cannot judge this book on its historical accuracy The first grown up movie a movie with subtitles, adult themes, and not based on a comic book or video game I ever saw was The Last Emperor I saw it pre high school I can t remember why I wanted to see it I can remember really wanting to see it and loving it I still love it So it should be no surprise that the first Anchee Min book I pick up is this one.At this point, I should let you know that I know very little about Chinese history so I cannot judge this book on its historical accuracy though I have a biography of the women in question waiting in TBR stack Most of what I know about Chinese history is from the following sources general history books, the Chinese pavillion at Epoct Center, the History Channel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol 1 and other various Chinese folklore, legend, and poetry I ve read So I basically know next to nothing Min, at least for me, brings to life the Forbidden City It becomes suffocating real.In general, there are two types of historical fiction once you disregard trashy romance novels No, I don t want to read a trashy romance novel about the love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn I know what happens afterwards Kinda ruins the romance just a bit Both types of historical fiction have several things in common and are, for lack of a better term, revisionist In many cases, the writer will set out to rescue a maligned figure from history If not this, the writer will use a horrible, tragic event to illustrate a greater human theme love, forgiveness, surival Macbeth, Mary Queen of Scots, Cleopatra, and Gengsis Khan have all been subjected to this treatment Sometimes revisionist historical fiction wants to add a romance where there wasn t one or to makeof a romance then what it really was, a virgin to a non virgin.But that is where the similarities end The first type is the good type of historical fiction If the novel is about a tragic event, the overwhelming scope is impossible to ignore and the reader leaves the book thinking Really thinking, adding those wrinkles to that brain If the novel is about a maligned figure from history, the character is presented flaws and all This too gets the reader to think and even gets the reader to read actual history.The second type of historical fiction doesn t function this way In fact, for me, in general, this type of historical fiction doesn t usually work at all It takes the maligned character and makes her such characters in this second type are pre dominately females a saintly figure Forget about beingsinned against than sinning, in these novels the character is a saint surronded by madmen, sexist pigs, vampy women, and stupid, cruel people In this type, the central malgined figure is really a good guy or tragic woman who got the bum rap The historical good figure who wrote the history books is the devil incarnate This type of historical fiction is like candy corn Addicting but lacking in substance.Min, thankfully for her and this review, writers the first kind, the better, historical fiction After reading the Reader s Group Guide for the book, the reader would be convinced that Min was drawn to the character of Orchid because her intriging character and, perhaps, to a similiarity to Madame Mao Min also seems to want to move beyond the evil woman syndrome While she doesn t use the phrase resuce her reputation from history , it does seem to a degree that Min is trying to do so.Yet, this book is not re telling of a saintly figure surroned by people who do bad things while transfering the blame for such behavior on her, despite Orchid s seemingly desire to make her story do so.For that is the key to this book s success Min presents a real figure, a narrator who revealsabout herself than the action of the tale.Orchid starts her story with the death of her father moving quickly to her marriage to the Emperor of China After her marriage, she is sequestered or imprisioned in the Forbidden City and is caught up in marriage politics she is one of many wives , power politics, and the fall of China to those darn heathen forgieners.Orchid has to survie not only the jealously of her fellow wives, her weak willed husband, but also the power struggle among the men of the court, men who see her as nothingthan a womb.Min lets Orchid have control of her own story This means that Orchid says one thing but something else may be going on A jealous wife may be an evil witch or maybe not Is the Emperor really that weak and Orchid that strong This stops Orchid from becoming a milk sop or a door mat She takes control of her own story and doesn t care if the reader likes her Or at least, she will not admit that she cares or wants the reader s goodwill