Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Secret of a Thousand Beauties by Mingmei Yip

Set against the vibrant and intrigue-laden backdrop of 1930s China, Mingmei Yip's enthralling novel explores one woman's defiant pursuit of independence.

Spring Swallow was promised in marriage while still in her mother's belly. When the groom dies before a wedding can take place, seventeen-year-old Spring Swallow is ordered to become a ghost bride to appease his spirit. Under her in-laws' protection, she will be little more than a servant, unable to know real love or bear children. Refusing to accept her fate as a "bad-luck woman," Spring Swallow flees on her wedding day.

In the city of Soochow, Spring Swallow joins a community of renowned embroiderers. The women work for Aunty Peony, whose exquisite stitching once earned her the Emperor's love. But when Aunty Peony agrees to replicate a famous painting--a lucrative assignment that will take a year to complete--betrayal and jealousy emerges within the group. Spring Swallow becomes entangled in each woman's story of heartbreak, even while she embarks on a dangerous affair with a young revolutionary. On a journey that leads from the remote hillsides around Soochow to cosmopolitan Peking, Spring Swallow draws on the secret techniques learned from Aunty Peony and her own indomitable strength, determined to forge a life that is truly her own. 

Upon receiving this book I didn’t know whether I would like the story or not; even after reading the summary on the back I still wasn’t really sure. Part of it was because I don’t read many books that are so far off from what I usually read. I usually prefer to stick to certain genres for book, but I am so glad I started Secret Of A Thousand Beauties with an open mind!

 I became so engrossed in each characters life and the complete story that I was halfway done on the first day of opening this book; I was enjoying the story that much!        

     Although this is a fictitious story I feel like the author put a lot of cultural traditions that she may have grown up with into the book. I really enjoyed reading about a different country and culture through the characters eyes. I felt anger and sadness not only for “Spring Swallow” but for all of the girls that I encountered in the story. Although the women became jealous of each other I felt it was more about “survival of the fittest” than actual jealousy.  

      I thought Ms. Yip wrote a very beautiful novel and I found this story easy to read. The words seemed to flow together and at times I felt like it was more like a poem than a novel at all. Ms. Yip’s words connected so well together as if she knew what I was looking for in a story. I really loved reading Secret Of A Thousand Beauties and was really surprised at how quick I was done with this beautiful novel

I think most women would enjoy reading this beautiful story, especially women who are “looking” for themselves. I feel like those women will be able to identify with “Spring Swallow” and really enjoy this book as much as I did. I give Mingmei Yip and “9” and Secret Of A Thousand Beauties a “10.”

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Tiffany

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this book too. I'd also recommend one of her other books, Skeleton Women. Great review!


The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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