Following the harrowing journey of Lady Lee Su-Mei and her family, Robert Wang's debut novel is a historical drama told from dual perspectives—Chinese and British—about the First Opium War, a tragic and history-altering conflict. Honoring the tradition of noted historical fiction writers such as Ken Follett, Philippa Gregory, and James Clavell, The Opium Lord's Daughter artfully weaves true events and characters into the narrative, offering the reader a selective glimpse into a world populated with rogue drug traders, imperialist government officials, religious zealots, scrappy survivors. Su-Mei, the eponymous protagonist, is a young woman unbounded by convention. From the moment we meet little Su-Mei, she valiantly resists her wealthy and powerful father—one of the largest opium traders in mid-19th century China—who attempts to force her into the barbaric practice of foot binding. Through her, readers look with fresh eyes upon antiquated and harmful traditions, and understand how time and experiences truly shape a person during their life's journey. Her defiance sets in motion a series of events, forever altering her fate, as well as the fates of those she holds dear. Su-Mei is forced to rapidly come-of-age and muster her heroic spirit to survive her crumbling world. Taboo romances, tumultuous adventures, and heart-wrenching tragedies befall Su-Mei and her loved ones throughout the course of the story. The Opium Lord's Daughter is an expedition through the destruction of a culture, underscoring the hold and havoc drug empires continue to exert in society, even to this day. A must read for fans of Shogun, Downtown Abbey, Outlander and other sweeping tales rooted in history!
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The Opium Lord's Daughter based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite I have just finished reading The Opium Lord’s Daughter by Robert Wang, which tells the story of the family of Lord Lee Shao Lin, his daughter Su-Mei and his number one son Lee da Ping during the time of the Opium Wars between Britain and China. Many people may not know of the travesty of this unevenly fought war when the British navy attacked China to ensure uninterrupted trade in tea, porcelain, silks, and spices. Since China had no need to import anything from the west, the currency used to buy Chinese goods was Chinese silver which the British obtained by illegally importing opium into China. Everyone was involved, the Chinese merchants, the corrupt customs officials, the addicts who would do what it took to obtain more of the drug. But then the Emperor issued a decree to halt the trade and the troubles begin. At this time, Sue-Mei meets Travers Higgins from Yorkshire and falls in love – a cross-cultural affair unheard of and disapproved of in 1840. The stage is set for an explosive story in more ways than one. The Opium Lord’s Daughter is one of the best books I have read this year. I read it in a day and a half and loved every bit of it. The characters leaped off the pages. I connected with Sue-Mei, the heroine, and the words flowed effortlessly. For the hours I was engrossed in this book, I was living in the 1800s in China, surrounded by the sights and smells, the customs and the laughter and sorrow of the young couple and their family. The historical information was woven seamlessly into the story and I suspect the author researched the facts thoroughly, backed up by the pictures in the back of the book featuring many of the real characters mentioned at the time. A fairly balanced argument from both sides which highlights the greed and avarice and arrogance of mankind which has not changed one iota in the last two hundred years. I highly recommend this fabulous book, and I shall file it away to read again in the future. I wish I could award it 6 stars.
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite The Opium Lord’s Daughter is a historical fiction novel penned by author Robert Wang, which is set during the First Opium War of the nineteenth century. Told from the perspectives of Chinese and English participants, this compelling drama focuses on the intricacies and corruption which take place during the trade dealings with England and China and the opium trade which spreads around the world as a result. Our central heroine is Su-Mei, the title character, whose bold defiance of her father’s traditionalism sets her on an exciting and dangerous course to find her own path amid the good and bad people on either side of the war. Written for adults due to its graphic content, this is a deeply engaging work which does that magical thing where it entertains but also educates at the same time. I knew very little about this period of Chinese history prior to reading, and Su-Mei’s character makes it easy to see the injustices of the time, thanks to her more modern sensibilities. Each scene comes alive with fantastic descriptive work and detailing from author Robert Wang, making for an atmospheric read which really does transport you to the time and place. Character development also plays a huge role, and despite the size of the cast of the novel, each person has due time given to them so that we learn their motivations and involvement with the trade and the war itself. Overall, The Opium Lord’s Daughter is a superb work which will satisfy any historical fiction fan looking for a new avenue to explore.