Peony in Love

Peony in Love

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Audiobook(CD - Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 hours)

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Peony in Love by Lisa See, Jodi Long

“I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.”

For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.

Peony’s mother is against her daughter’s attending the production: “Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.” But Peony’s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave–and is immediately overcome with emotion.

So begins Peony’s unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow–as Lisa See’s haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.

Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place–even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one’s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa See’s new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739344040
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/26/2007
Edition description: Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 hours
Product dimensions: 5.52(w) x 6.28(h) x 1.03(d)

About the Author

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Flower Net (an Edgar Award nominee), The Interior, and Dragon Bones, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. The Organization of Chinese American Women named her the 2001 National Woman of the Year. She lives in Los Angeles. Visit the author’s website:


Los Angeles, California

Date of Birth:

February 18, 1955

Place of Birth:

Paris, France


B.A., Loyola Marymount University, 1979

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Peony in Love 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 225 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Hooptykt2 More than 1 year ago
I really thought this would be an interesting story from the background and other reviews. However, I found it relatively boring, childish and too sweet for my tastes. If you like the unrealistic romances spiritual and otherwise this book is for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
I think this is probably one of those stories you either really like or don't. It sort of reminds me of a fable. The writing is good, but the storyline isn't for me. Women are just property. There's so much tragedy. It made me feel depressed. Sometimes the sad parts in a book give me the feels, but this just made me feel sorry for them and downhearted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not finish this book. Dry. Long. Boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
buffalogalCE More than 1 year ago
I generally love Lisa See's writing. This is the fourth of her book's that I have read, but this book fell under the category of the exception rather than the rule. In order to not spoil the book for those who may enjoy reading a fantastic tale I cannot explain my negative feelings for this particular book. Suffice it to say that I will no longer buy a book based upon my experiences with an author's previous works.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was literally out of this world! I loved how in depth See goes into the afterlife and how love transcends the physical realm. It's just crazy amazing how she is able to capture all of these out of the box ideas and put them to the page. Peony in Love has to be one of my favorite books of all time, if not thee favorite.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Addictive read. Great for a rainy day read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I almost stopped reading it cause it was getting stupid, but I figured I only had another hundred pages to read, so I decided to finish it. The book in general was good. However, I don't think I'll be reading any more of Lisa See's books.. they are just not for me =( it may be because I dont understand the Chinese culture, but sometimes the book gets confusing and what not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was not what I was expecting at all. Its more of a folktale than historical fiction. I did end up liking the last third of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love to learn about different cultures this way
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bongie More than 1 year ago
Love her books and this was no exception.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago