Customer Reviews for

Peony in Love

Average Rating 4
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(97)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

With too much intelligent history to be pegged a romance, Peony in Love is, indeed, romantic. It is a tale of love and death in 17th century China - a time of Cataclysm and a place where, pound for pound, salt was more valuable than women. Painting her words on a ghostl...
With too much intelligent history to be pegged a romance, Peony in Love is, indeed, romantic. It is a tale of love and death in 17th century China - a time of Cataclysm and a place where, pound for pound, salt was more valuable than women. Painting her words on a ghostly dreamscape, See once again explores themes of love, language and the strength of women amidst a revealing and sometimes disturbing history................ Already promised in marriage, young Peony Chen falls in love under the spell of her favorite opera, The Peony Pavillion. Fated to follow in the footsteps of the opera's heroine, Peony dies of lovesickness soon thereafter. It is only after she dies and her tortured soul waits to be dispersed in the proper way that she learns her beloved and her betrothed were one in the same. Now a hungry ghost, Peony hopes to be reconciled with Wu Ren just as her opera heroine was reunited with her own true love............. But Peony confronts many obstacles, the least of which is the unfinished state of her written critical commentary on The Peony Pavillion. Although abundant in number and talent, China's earliest female writers were often published posthumously and anonymously. Yet, working between the worlds of life and death, Peony manages to have her work published and, more important, her words recognized by Wu Ren................ What kind of reconciliation can Peony possibly expect when so many ancient rules were broken, so many rituals left unperformed? How can a ghost-wife love a husband who loves someone else? See's rich writing style will keep you turning pages for answers. Drawing from resources including Tang Xianzu's opera The Peony Pavillion 'first published in 1598', Wu Wushan's Three Wives' Collaborative Commentary on The Peony Pavillion, Jingmei Chen's dissertation The Dream World of Love-Sick Maidens, a plethora of scholarly research and personal interviews See weaves a haunting blend of history and love.

posted by Anonymous on January 26, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Surprising dissapointment

Earlier I had read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See, which I loved. This prompted me to buy Peony in Love. What an unexpected dissapointment...I wonder are the authors other books as wonderful at Snow Flower.

posted by Anonymous on August 4, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2008

    A reviewer

    With too much intelligent history to be pegged a romance, Peony in Love is, indeed, romantic. It is a tale of love and death in 17th century China - a time of Cataclysm and a place where, pound for pound, salt was more valuable than women. Painting her words on a ghostly dreamscape, See once again explores themes of love, language and the strength of women amidst a revealing and sometimes disturbing history................ Already promised in marriage, young Peony Chen falls in love under the spell of her favorite opera, The Peony Pavillion. Fated to follow in the footsteps of the opera's heroine, Peony dies of lovesickness soon thereafter. It is only after she dies and her tortured soul waits to be dispersed in the proper way that she learns her beloved and her betrothed were one in the same. Now a hungry ghost, Peony hopes to be reconciled with Wu Ren just as her opera heroine was reunited with her own true love............. But Peony confronts many obstacles, the least of which is the unfinished state of her written critical commentary on The Peony Pavillion. Although abundant in number and talent, China's earliest female writers were often published posthumously and anonymously. Yet, working between the worlds of life and death, Peony manages to have her work published and, more important, her words recognized by Wu Ren................ What kind of reconciliation can Peony possibly expect when so many ancient rules were broken, so many rituals left unperformed? How can a ghost-wife love a husband who loves someone else? See's rich writing style will keep you turning pages for answers. Drawing from resources including Tang Xianzu's opera The Peony Pavillion 'first published in 1598', Wu Wushan's Three Wives' Collaborative Commentary on The Peony Pavillion, Jingmei Chen's dissertation The Dream World of Love-Sick Maidens, a plethora of scholarly research and personal interviews See weaves a haunting blend of history and love.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2007

    This book will haunt your soul - wonderful!

    This is my first book by Lisa See, but it will definitely not be my last! Although there is certainly a point in the book that is so heartbreaking I almost stopped reading it, I'm so glad I continued on this journey with Peony. What a wonderful, incredible book on women, men, love, passion, mothers, daughters, and the golden threads of words that bind our souls together forever. Take your time reading this book - it is a complex, beautiful tapestry that deserves your time and attention.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2007

    A great story

    I was concerned that this book would be too complicated since I didn't know much about the Chinese culture and traditions but it wasn't a problem. Lisa See tells an amazing story and is very knowledgeable herself. As already stated, this isn't a fast read. I took my time and paid attention to the names and the descriptions. I was rewarded with an inspiring story about Peony and her family and how she learns and grows even in the afterworld. This was my first book by this author but I will be reading more of hers now.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2007

    Great read--for the right people

    I just finished reading this novel, and I cannot seem to let her 'Peony' go. Such a beautifu, haunting story, all the more so knowing that the three wives did exist. While See has invented their biography here, she's done it in such a way that even the most supernatural elements seem to be their truths. In reading the novel, I can see where some impatient readers might not like it--if you're looking for a quick and airy summer read, don't go for this book--it is not meant to be read as such. It is meant to be reflected upon and savored. The themes within it are many, and are deep--they will not leave once you have closed the book for the last time. I myself became a little frustrated right around the time Peony died in the book--I stopped reading, because I didn't want her to die so unfulfilled! But I was so wrong in this, and once I resumed my reading, I could barely put the book down, let alone stop thinking about it. This work is a wonderful blessing, about a world that most of us, sadly, know little about.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2008

    simply irresistible

    i remember not being able to put the book down once i caught a hold of it...a truly powerful novel held through the eye of a 16 years old woman up in heaven

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2008

    A reviewer

    This was the second book I read by Lisa See and it was just as good as I hoped it to be! I love how she told the story from a unique point of view.....

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    Unbelievable!

    Peony In Love was by far the most enjoyable book I have ever read. It takes a great look at China's society and reveals women's desire to be heard. The book mixes undying love with suspense, revenge, joy, and heartbreak. The book kept me on my toes, and as I became emotionally involved, I began to relate to the characters very easily. Reading Peony In Love was extremely full filing and I will never forget it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    AP World History: Illuminating

    Peony in Love tells the story of The Three Wives and how their lives have become interconnected all because of one play, The Peony Pavilion. Lisa See weaves an intricate story of love, life, death, and a harrowing history into the life of Peony. By doing so, See makes the book very revealing of Chinese society during this time period. The reader learns about the day-to-day lives of Chinese women, marital customs, burial rites, and the traumatic Yangzhou massacre. While reading about Peony's tragic life, the reader also learns about the history and culture of China. Lisa See does a wonderful job telling the story of Peony while weaving a story of love, life, and death. From the first page, I was entranced by Peony in Love and the story it tells. I learned more from this book than I did from the lesson on the Manchu conquest in class because Peony in Love vividly describes how the Manchus affected the lives of regular people, not just the government officials and the elite. Lisa See provides a rare glimpse into the lives of Chinese women and as a result captures the reader immediately. I would recommend this book to anybody interested in learning more about the lives of women in China during the Manchu Empire.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2008

    Amazed

    I loved this book b/c it is so rich in the Chinese culture and Lisa See does a wonderful job in explaining certain traditions and sticking to the facts. Although some parts were extremely depressing, I couldn't put down the book without wondering what will happen in the end. In some aspects I was so touched by the main character (Peony) that I started picking up on her emotions and feeling them myself. Through the experiences I've gone through in life and the beautifully crafted story of Peony, I've gained lots of insight about dreams, love, and death after reading See's book. I highly recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by the Chinese culture.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    Peony in Love recounts the tale of a young girl named Peony who

    Peony in Love recounts the tale of a young girl named Peony who is hopelessly in love with a stranger, and overcome with grief when she realizes she will soon be married off to another stranger. She meets this man at a play, even though unmarried women shouldn’t have contact with men not in their family. She begins to read the Peony Pavilion and she feels the pain of the protagonist and notices parallels between there situations. She begins to absorb herself in the pages of the play, and it ultimately lead to her untimely demise.  In this eloquently written novel, we see Peony transform from a young girl to an insightful woman, learning all the necessities, and eventually teaching them, to being a paragon of Chinese wife. 
    Overall I was very impressed with Peony in Love. Lisa See did a phenomenal job of bringing each character to life, and I found myself rejoicing in their times of triumph and feeling great trepidation in their times of apprehension.  I enjoyed seeing Peony grow not only in age but from a girl to a woman, despite the fact that she was dead. See does a wonderful job of shedding insight into the Chinese culture and social structure.  Her words painted vivid images in my head, and it helped me to really connect to the book.  It was even more interesting to learn that the characters Chen Tong, Tan Ze, and Qian Yi were actual people, and many of the occurrences in the novel held truth. Peony in love is beautiful and haunting novel and I greatly recommend it to all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Leaders den

    Yup!

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  • Posted May 23, 2013

    Love her books and this was no exception.

    Love her books and this was no exception.

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    AP world history review: description and opinion on Peony in lov

    AP world history review: description and opinion on Peony in love

    Peony in love left a good impression on me. The book is truly is truly inspiring to any women from any century. Through Peony's perseverance I am able to feel her own tragedy and loss surge through my veins. The book is very well written and illustrates everything in detail. As I was reading the book I can to realize that truly at some points it is not very appropriate for younger children. I highly recommend it though for teens and up, preferably women. I make this recommendation because throughout the book a women will come to appreciate what past women have done. Even though Peony simply writes poems is not everything. Those poems that she writes links every women through the love story "Peony's pavilion" literally.

    The author's (Lisa See) purpose is completed by relating to every women who reads the story of Peony. See takes the three wives and makes them become one through the sharing of their notes in the volumes of "Peony's Pavilion". Also See connects to many women by posing scenarios in which women are made lower than men. This was a big complication back when Peony lives, yet this still is a problem today so it can relate to the women of this day. Problems used to include not being able to be published or acknowledged, but now the problem seems to be not being treated (payed) the same way in the professional field, these two things as you can see relate to each other. And again I reiterate that this book is not for the very young eye. I would set an age range of fifteen and up , since this is the age that our Peony starts her tale. All women should find this novel enlightening and engaging ! I strongly recommend it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2012

    GRATIFYING It was very gratifying to have a read Lisa See┬┐s nov

    GRATIFYING

    It was very gratifying to have a read Lisa See’s novel, Peony. I appreciated it on many levels. One, it was impressive considering the amount of historical data that was researched and inputted into the love story of Peony. It seemed that Ms. See immersed herself into the actual mindset of a young woman, Peony during the beginning of the Ching Dynasty. The richness and beauty of ancient Chinese culture was elaborately revealed in the novel. I would compare Ms. See to Jane Austin who explored the mystery of a young woman’s heart through love and an eventual marriage. Peony demonstrates there is a connection between art and love. In Peony’s case, she views love through the eye of the imagination. A vibrant love can’t be portrayed within a mere “realistic”, plastic environment. To experience romance one must acknowledge the mysteries between mind and spirit (body and soul) in striving towards a culmination. Ms. See accomplished this task by skillfully using traditional Chinese beliefs and an assortment of motifs. I would compare Peony’s world of body and spirit with Shakespeare’s romantic comedy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream where the world of nature and spirits commingled. Reading Peony one is drawn into an imaginary world of 15th century China. It’s an enjoyable read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Haunting...

    Read several years ago and dozens of books since, Peony in Love still haunts me and I recommend it enthusiastically!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    Wow

    I have read all the lisa see books but this one just was diffrent i like it alot but not as much as shanghi girls i recmend this one though

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Amazing.

    This book was really intrguing.

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  • Posted August 20, 2011

    I loved it and didnt consider it less than good or slow in any way. I likes the strangeness of the whole concept. I must say, it definately stuck with me. And as always, ms see delivered another interesting peek into chinese culture

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  • Posted May 26, 2011

    A wonderful, magical story of love

    I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in historical fiction, even if they have no knowledge of Chinese culture. I did not, but I loved this book. I learned so much, I was very intrigued. It was like a fun history lesson. It felt great to imerse myself in a culture I knew nothing about. Lisa See is an amazing story teller. She paints vivid pictures of scenes and characters. I could not put this down.

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