Peony in Love
This was a quick Kindle purchase–I needed something light and breezy and (in true Kindle fashion) I needed it now! Having read Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan I anticipated another story of love and friendship–and was eager to gain more insight into 17th century China. I didn’t read a lot about the novel, but glimpsing the words “poetry” “opera” “rocky path of love” in Amazon’s synopsis, I was sold.
But a ghost story?! Really? I was (initially) so disappointed. Yes, Peony meets her true love, keeps it secret, becomes betrothed, mourns the man she could never have … and then proceeds to die before her wedding to, you guessed it, the man of her dreams. I was tempted to end right there, a mere 7 chapters into story, but something kept me reading.
And in the end, Peony in Love was worth it. Here the reader gets a glimpse into to fascinating spiritual world of Chinese culture, the stages of death, the levels of the after-life. I have another layer of thinking about what might come next, something that has always drawn me to wondering. The image of Peony and her grandmother hovering, trailing behind on the shoulders of some beloved family member is both beautiful and comforting and I sometimes find myself wondering on whose shoulders I will drift.