A ninety-eight year old woman named Xiang Xiang tells her life story to her great-granddaughter and her fiancé all about her life as a Chinese courtesan so they can record down her memoirs. The story begins when aged only thirteen after a family tragedy, Xiang Xiang then an innocent young girl is tricked into going to live and work in a prostitution house. Alone and separated from her mother she must adapt to her new way of life which is cruel and heart breaking. Xiang Xiang is given the new name Bao Lan – Precious Orchid.
Helped by an older prostitute called Pearl, Xiang Xiang is soon trained in the art of seduction to please the many men who visit the house. She becomes one of China’s most successful courtesans. But determined to seek revenge for the tragedy that tore her family apart, when the chance comes for her to escape her prison from the handsome Teng Xiong she takes it. But when Teng Xiong turns out to be not what he seems soon Xiang Xiang looks like she has exchanged one prison for another. Her only hope is to find her mother and seek avenge in order to find justice and peace in her life.
Every once in a while a book falls into my hands that is special and Peach Blossom Pavilion is one of those books. It is such a beautiful, potent and sad tale, which is written like a true classic. You really feel for the leading character as you go along her lives journey with her, willing that she will find happiness and a better life. This is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read and I would read more by this author.
To read an extract see my other blog entry below.