Lover and a Fighter
May 30, 2008
Published in Lei Chic

Parents want the best for you, so they nag that your clothes should be respectable like so-and-so’s, your job secure like such-and-such’s, and your boyfriend, well…someone else.

Novelist Mingmei Yip rose to her parents’ challenges, graduating from the Sorbonne, studying Chinese arts and music, and becoming a writer—experiences channeled into her spectacular debut “Peach Blossom Pavilion.”

The novel brings to life the time of China’s mingji—geisha predecessors. At age 13, Yip’s spirited protagonist sees her father executed, her mother escape to a nunnery, and is left with an aunt for a better life. But instead of working for a rich family, she’s sold to a prostitution house called Peach Blossom Pavilion.

At first Xiang Xiang happily studies poetry, music and other arts until realizing these activities are merely predecessors to her true fate. Soon this “pretty girl with two enchanting dimples” becomes Precious Orchid, a famous mingji, and eventually seizes the inherent power of her position to avenge her parents and lost childhood.

Precious Orchid’s tale is a truly fantastical escape, building on the era’s romance and success of “Memoirs of a Geisha,” yet told through the voice of a cunning, empowered woman who fights to improve her fate.

She’s definitely not your mother’s role model.

Available online at amazon.com.

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