peach blossom pavilion mingmei yip

Peach Blossom Pavilion by Mingmei Yip – Book Review

A seductive and evocative debut that opens the doors on life as a Chinese courtesan in the Peach Blossom Pavilion…Behind the doors of the pavilion, a world of sensuality and intrigue awaits…

Falsely accused of murder, Xiang Xiang’s father is executed, and her mother forced into a Buddhist nunnery. Xiang Xiang, alone and friendless at thirteen years old, is tricked into entering the Peach Blossom Pavilion, where she is given the name Bao Lan – Precious Orchid. There she is trained in the fine arts of womanhood, studying music, literature, painting, and more importantly, the art of seduction and pleasuring men; and becomes one of China’s most successful courtesans.

However, Precious Orchid is determined to avenge her parents and sets out on a journey that includes passion, adventure, danger, fame, and finally, her chance to achieve the justice she has sought so long.

An enchanting tale of opulence and desire, perfect for fans of Anchee Min and Memoirs of a Geisha.

~Synopsis on Goodreads

I  have a copy of Memoirs of a Geisha that I have been carrying around for years to read, but never read it. So I am lost as far as the comparison of this book to Geisha is concerned. I was just hooked by this lovely cover.

Peach Blossom Pavilion is a story as narrated by a 90+ year old Xiang Xiang to her grand daughter in her 20s. Both currently live in US and Xiang Xiang is telling about her life as a prostitute before she left China years ago.

Considering that the story is related to a brothel, I was not surprised by the adult words used in the book. I believe there is no other way around if you are narrating prostitution techniques as taught to a 13 year old. So there are some considerable amount of adult language used in this book, but I did not find them out of place.

I enjoyed reading this book end to end though there were some parts which could have been certainly avoided. Probably the element of lesbian love was a little out of the way and was slightly repulsive since I am not used to that genre. But overall it did not tempt me to abandon the book. I just had to read it and know what happened to Xiang Xiang.

This is not a perfect read, but I liked it for the story surrounding Chinese prostitution, Buddhist monk life and overall Chinese life style years ago.

Rating: 4/5
Source: Publisher
Published February 27th 2014 by Avon

Note: I received a digital galley of this book from the publisher through netgalley in return for my honest review. 

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