Chinese Gothic

Peony in Love: A Novel by Lisa See is a lovely book that layers life imitating art with a touch of afterlife Karma thrown in.  It’s set in 17th century China and looks at the life of Peony first as a young girl who falls in love with an opera and a poet and is in a way cursed by each. We follow her through life and into the afterlife and see the impact of every mistaken decision. Here is a character whose story arc develops well after she’s left this world.

I loved the scenery and look inside a culture so different from modern-day. It’s nice to step into the slow-paced world, enjoy the beauty of a peony and the heartbreak of a well written verse. It looks at love between a couple, friendships and even jealousy among dead wives.

The story made me want to learn more about the opera The Peony Pavillion, and understand it’s beauty myself. If you are looking for a unique, moving tale of a hungry ghost, this is it.


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