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Empress Orchid

Average Rating 4.5
( 88 )
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5 Star

(48)

4 Star

(25)

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(10)

2 Star

(3)

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(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Responding to last anonymous reviewer.

In regards to the last anonomous reviwer, this book is classified as a fiction. Min has every right to express or portay Empress Orchid in her view. However, you seemed almost convinced (maybe even brainwashed from Chinese history which tends to blame everything on th...
In regards to the last anonomous reviwer, this book is classified as a fiction. Min has every right to express or portay Empress Orchid in her view. However, you seemed almost convinced (maybe even brainwashed from Chinese history which tends to blame everything on the women) that it is Empress Orchid is a negative person. For example, how many thousands of years has the women been responsible to bring sons to the family and it is still going on today!!! Look at all the babies girls being thrown away just so families can have a son to bear their last name! Yet, it was never the sons fault!!! Bound by tradition, Orchid fought her way to save China, and try to help her son become Emperor. Perhaps it was ShunShim that poisoned Guang-Xsu? How was it provened it was Empress Orchid? Please enlighten us with your fact!!! Dont forget, its a fictional novel! Either you enjoy it for its sensitivity, or you are just ONE-Minded!

posted by yeni on February 6, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

just a penny thought

The elaborate details of the Qing Dynasty¿s court life and etiquette made this book extremely enjoyable as I have been very interested in this particular dynasty since I was young. Moreover, this book was written in the form of Cixi¿s autobiography, making it even more ...
The elaborate details of the Qing Dynasty¿s court life and etiquette made this book extremely enjoyable as I have been very interested in this particular dynasty since I was young. Moreover, this book was written in the form of Cixi¿s autobiography, making it even more intriguing as you can imagine yourself to be in her shoes and think the same thoughts as she did. However, there are some inaccurate historical details in this book that left me quite fustrated such as how Lin Zhe Xu destroyed opium after the Opium Wars. In Anchee Min¿s book, he set fire to 20000 cases of opium and that the burning pit was as large as a lake. That is the most common misconception anyone can ever have about the Opium Wars. Commissioner Lin did not set fire to the opium cases, he in fact dissolved the opium into sea after chemically treating it with sulphur, etc such that it could no longer serve as an addicitve drug. That was the biggest sorepoint of the entire book.

posted by Anonymous on January 2, 2006

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    Empress Orchid--A Woman Trapped as a Royal

    This is an interesting peek into the life of what it must have been like for a woman chosen as a concubine - or wife - of a Chinese Emperor. She has to bend with the whims of her husband, who is shared amongst as many partners as he pleases. She may not even be able to raise her own son, if she is not the #1 wife, designated as Empress.

    Also a very intriguing historical read of the frustrations of the Chinese court and the inability of the emperor in the mid-1800s to stop the invasion economic control of foreigners into his own domain.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    enlightening!

    entertaining and easy to read, great to learn more about imperial life in the XIX century China.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book

    Very interesting story. The author (Anchee Min) did a fantastic job of bringing history to life. She managed to paint a clear picture of imperial life and custom, as well as the general political atmosphere of China at the time. Empress Tzu Hsi is a rather controversial historical figure, and Min did a great job of advocating for a perspective of Tzu Hsi that is not often considered, while still sticking to historical accuracy. The pages were packed with well researched history, yet there was not a feeling of being overwhelmed by boring facts. I really enjoyed this book, and learned a great deal from it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    I enjoyed this book very much. very entertaining.

    I enjoyed this book very much. very entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    Interesting Historical Fiction

    The descriptions of life in the Forbidden City from the point of view of a concubine are fascinating.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    Good read

    Had me at the first chapter

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    Excellent

    As+an+fan+of+historically+based+fiction+I+would+certainly+recommend+this+book.+The+author+does+a+great+job+of+painting+a+vivid+and+memorable+story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2005

    Flows like a dream!

    This book is written like a fairytale and the words just flow off the pages. It's a wonderful novel that I would recommend anyone who's looking for a good book to curl up with on a lazy Sunday morning!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2005

    Wonderful depiction of Imperial Life

    Empress Orchid is a truly amazing novel! Min Anchee provides such rich detail and a powerful voice for Orchid, that the reader is immediately enchanted by the beauty of the story and character. Orchid's strength is moving and inspiring. She overcomes so much in the span of her life, it is truly stunning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2004

    EXCITEMENT-INTRIGUE-WONDERMENT- IT HAS IT ALL!

    I finished reading Empress Orchid a few weeks ago and I can't wait until the next book in this trilogy comes out. This story line held my attention so much that I could not put the book down. I am not into Chinese history, but this was AWESOME! I hope Anchee Min comes out with the 2nd book quickly so I can start reading it. I give Empress Orchid 4-stars in my review. Thanks Anchee Min for writing such a wonderful book! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2004

    vibrant fascinating historical fiction tale

    In the middle of the nineteenth century, seventeen years old Orchid accompanies her aristocratic clan to Beijing to inter her deceased father. Meanwhile the Emperor Hsien Feng decrees that he seeks a wife who must have royal blood so that the offspring are purebred Manchu. Though related to the Manchus, her family faces poverty until Hsien surprisingly selects Orchid. As her clan¿s situation improves considerably from the Emperor¿s gifts, Orchid resides in a boring luxurious lifestyle in the Forbidden City in which she can trust no one. Beginning to understand how to secure her tentative position, Orchid becomes determined to birth the heir, which she cleverly accomplishes. As the western imperialists carve up China, Hsien dies leaving his five year old son begat with Orchid as the Emperor, but he is too young to rule. His mother is his only hope to survive in a Machiavellian sea of duplicity and changing loyalties in which no one can be trusted. <P>This is a vibrant fascinating historical fiction tale of China¿s last Empress. The story line is over-loaded with so much detail that fans who appreciate intrinsic depth into a bygone era will want to read the EMPRESS ORCHID. However, the profundity of each elaborate description of court life and the Forbidden City in the late 1800s also tends to slow down the action in which intrigue and executions are the norm. Those who enjoy historical sociology as the prime theme will cherish Anchee Min¿s tale, but those who want to swim in the shark infested pool will find this first person account too slow. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2004

    Realistically Inspiring

    An excellent pageturner about a fatherless young woman, Orchid, a member of the Chinese proliteriat circa 1800s. Orchid doesn't claw and fight her way into the Imperial household, neither is she extremely clever but through necessity, luck, persistence and the advice of cunning connections she manages to become the favourite concubine of the Emporor. She survives under conditions not quite as cozy as was expected but her relationship with the Emporor made it possible for her to scheme a way of saving the throne from a tyranical takeover upon the Emporors death. I like the fact that the story was not too fantastical yet it managed to take you to the edge of your seat several times! It was mostly very realistic and the pace was superb. There was no opportunity for boredom. It had very good balance of history. The characters were vivid, tangible and emotional. It was a very, very good story and very well written.

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    Posted April 26, 2012

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    Posted September 7, 2010

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    Posted March 3, 2011

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    Posted November 26, 2009

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    Posted October 5, 2011

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