The Nine Fold Heaven
Release date: June 25, 2013 by Kensington
In full compliance with FTC Guidelines, I received a free ARC paperback of this book
from the author Mingmei Yip via Promo 101 Promotional Services
in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post,
and the thoughts are my own.
You can purchase her book
by clicking on the publisher’s link (trade paperback, ebook)
This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
I first hesitated accepting to review this book, as I was not sure how I would react to the world of gangs. But there was the historical element, and the fact that this is about China and Hong-Kong, and I like traveling through books, so I said yes, and I am sure happy I did.
I really knew nothing about the world of gangs in Shanghai in the 1930s, neither about their lesbians and circus people, so it was quite a discovery.
Camilla was “rescued” at a very young age from an orphanage by the head of one of Shanghai’s major gangs, only to be trained to kill his enemy, the head of the other major gang! One of the problems is that Camilla fell in love with the son of the guy she was supposed to kill, and had a baby with him. Well, had she? We don’t know for sure, and she does not know for sure, as the baby was taken from her when just delivered and declared still born.
But she wonders about that, and the readers wonder a long time with her, as she faces lots of dangers, and dares going back to that very dangerous world, disguised as a man, to try to find her lover and possibly their child, if he is still alive.
There’s a lot of action in this book, that should please readers liking mysteries, thrillers, and also historical novels, as the milieu and ambiance of the time are very well evoked. There are also elements about foreign relationships between China and Europe.
The writing is very good, very detailed, rich with many Chinese wisdom sayings and even poetry. It may sound weird to mix the violent world of gangs with poetry, but believe me, it does work, and there are some beautiful contemplative passages in the book. That makes for a very unique reading experience.
This is actually the second volume of a series, but I never felt I was missing on some information to understand the current volume, even though I have not read the 1st volume.
I loved this: her fortune was read as a poem to Camilla in a Buddhist temple:
The beauty crosses the sea to the immortal’s realm.
Golden lights shine at the end of her journey.
In the wind and clouds, dragon and tigers adavnce
To the gathering of heroes and sages at Jasmine Lake.
Then she leaves like a cicada shedding its shell.
Heaven’s mystery should be kept to oneself, not revealed.” p.10
Relationships in Shanghai’s underworld were even more complicated then the fate-determining, crisscrossing lines of our palms.” p.61
Life, as the Chinese phrase it, is like “a broad landscape with winding bridges and tall mountains – one never knows what is around the next turn.” p.86
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mingmei Yip has been writing and publishing since she was fourteen years old and now she has twelve books to her credit.
Her five novels are published by Kensington Books and her two children’s books are published by Tuttle Publishing.
Mingmei is also a renowned qin (ancient string instrument) musician, calligrapher and painter.
In Hong Kong, she was a columnist for seven major newspapers.
She has appeared on over sixty TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and the US.
Visit Mingmei at: www.mingmeiyip.com
REVIEWS BY OTHER BLOGGERS
Chew & Digest Books
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
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HISTORICAL NOVEL ON CHINA?
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