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It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang Li where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans At the center is the Lotus Palace home of the most exuisite courtesans in ChinaMaidservant Yue ying is not one of those beauties Street smart and practical she's content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress—until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue ying can barely imagine yet alone share but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery they both start to dream of a different life Yet Bai Huang's position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine—will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?


10 thoughts on “The Lotus Palace

  1. says:

    I’ve heard my face described as flawed ruined unfortunate A bad omen People avert their gazes and move away from me as if it’s a disease they might catch But after being separated for so many years my sister was only able to find me because my face was so recognizable The red faced whore” A tear slid down her cheek but she ignored it “I don’t wish to be owned ever again” I just have a lot of feelings right now Tears may have been shed during the reading of this bookJeannie Lin is one of the best HR authors today She is not only a compelling wonderful writer but she delves into an era that has long been neglected in Western Fiction Her historical Chinese romances have become among my favorites of any I've read in the past few years I loved her older HR series and this newer series just shows how much she has grown as a writerI have to admit I abandoned this book at first It didn't catch me upon the first glimpse But all books take a certain time a certain mood and the past week sick of abandoning books I returned to this one I resumed I couldn't stopThe setting is beautiful mysteriousdare I say it? Exotic It takes place within the Pingkang Li a district of courtesans These are not merely prostitutes There is a difference between a prostitute and a courtesan It has to do with intelligence allure The ability to hold a man's attraction long after he's had his screwOur heroine is not one of those courtesans She is scarred physically and mentally Yue Ying is ugly At least that's how she views herself She was born with a disfiguring red mark that renders her unloveable unwanted She and her sister the spectacularly beautiful Ming Yu were sold as children to slave tradersMing Yu became a courtesan Yue Ying was forced into prostitution They somehow found each other again and you can scarcely find a complex sisterly relationship than the one within this bookThe Pingkang Li is filled with men of all sorts from high ranking politicians to wastrels Bai Huang is somewhere between the two In Japanese language one would call him a ronin as in one who has failed his exams and is completely fucked Bai Huang is from a wealthy noble family He has to pass his exams in order to become a public official So far he is shit out of luck He is a handsome wealthy playboy A fop if you will Of course he's not what he appears Do we ever read books for one dimensional heroes?What transpires in this book? A mystery A murder The rediscovering of one's selfYue Ying a lowly servant A former prostitute Will she and the nobleman Bai Huang be able to find love despite their differences?Love for another is one thing; self love self realization is harder to achieve by far The thing I loved most about this book is the fact that Yue Ying grows into herself She does not allow herself to be defined by her lover and his status She can say no even when it hurtsI feel like the overwhelming lesson of this book is above all do not settle for anything less than what you deserve She leaned toward him and only then would he face her She had never seen him look the way he did at that moment Drained of life He had no fight in him“One last kiss” he said uietly“And then I’ll go No farewells Let this be our last memory of each other”“Am I the illusion now Yue ying?”She didn’t answer Instead she kissed him softly as she had the first time He accepted it without moving as he had the first time And then she stood to go just as she had promised


  2. says:

    WHAT? A romancemysteryhistorical fiction novel NOT set in Regency England? WHAT IS THIS SORCERY? IS THIS EVEN LEGAL?Needless to say I was thrilled


  3. says:

    This was simple but complex honest and raw and breath snatchingly beautiful at times The characters never try to be anything than who they are and hold each other accountable—flaws and all Desire and fear felt the same inside For the record THIS is the sort of angst I absolutely revel in The kind where characters have candid conversations about their emotions where they fuck up and hurt each other and are called on it She was clever without the benefit of flowery words Brave without the benefit of strength Generous without the benefit of wealth She wanted to look away and hide herself but she didn’t And he fell a little bit for her because of it I appreciate a representation of sex and intimacy that isn’t entirely lustful desire and unending pleasureI appreciate a story set in a time and place that is not nearly represented enough ancient China I appreciate that the book foregoes wish fulfillment to tell an honest story even and especially when it necessitated the acknowledgement of painful realities I appreciate that this book did not apologize for its imperfect vulnerable characters and women especially It celebrated themIf you DON'T want to get even into your feels about Yue ying and Bai Huang's star crossed romance whatever you do don't listen to Niykee Heaton's song to her husband Finally while you read If you do I swear you'll be a sobbing mess just like I was


  4. says:

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || || PinterestJeannie Lin's works always reminded me of the Chinese wuxia films only with happier endings They share the same themes of danger forbidden love class differences soulful men and strong heroines Except you know with Jeannie Lin's books you're 999% sure that your new favorite hero and heroine aren't going to die at the end of the story and that is a big sell trust meRecently I read SILK SWORDS AND SURRENDER which is a collection of her short stories It was pretty good but the uality of the stories was uneven and I felt like the shortness of length contributed to that I'd also read the second book in her Pingkang Li series JADE TEMPTRESS and while I wasn't really a fan I did really enjoy the lavish settings and elegant writing When THE LOTUS PALACE went on sale for 199 it seemed like a no brainer surely this time I thought the book would hit the markYue ying was sold into servitude by her own greedy parents and rescued from a brothel to work as a servant for the elegant concubine Mingyu Mingyu is one of four renowned beauties in the pleasure uarter and men fawn over her just to catch her eye for a few moments Nobody notices Yue ying who with her port wine birthmark that covers half of her face tends to put people especially those expecting beauty at unease With Mingyu she can fade into the background and that's exactly how Yue ying and Mingyu prefer itUntil Lord Bai comes alongBai Huang is the son of a nobleman and a struggling scholar He gambles and flirts outrageously but it's Yue ying he kisses in a darkened corridor and Yue ying he pursues even while courting Mingyu for convention's sake Yue ying finds herself reluctantly attracted to him as well but intimacy is difficult for her because of her terrible childhoodadolescence and she has resolved that after wresting back the freedom her parents were so uick to put a price on she will belong to no oneOn top of this Forbidden Romance Sundae® is a Glistening Murder Cherry™ One of those aforementioned beauties Huilan is found murdered And later by the river a man is found murdered and an expensive hair ornament is found at the scene of the crime Yue ying suspects that Mingyu might be involved; but if she's innocent it might be worse she might be the next victimI really enjoyed how this book navigated the difficulties of dating outside of one's social class This is often something that is glossed over in historical romances even though it would have been incredibly scandalous at the time Jeannie Lin tries to portray the conflicts and the difficulties that would arise from such a scenario to the point where I was unsure how a 100% satisfactory ending would fit; to be blunt it didn't That ending was tacked on as purely fan service Deus ex oh good we can wed nowI also felt that this book was much too long and the angst between Bai Huang and Yue ying uickly became tedious About 100 pages could have been shaved off this book and I think it would have been all the better for it That said it was wonderful to read something new historical romance wise I love regency romances as much as anyone but they're definitely oversaturating the historical romance market them and brawny Anglo Saxon warriors in medieval smutfests PS can we have a book festival called Smutfest? Or maybe Smutcon? I really want to read Ms Lin's Tang Dynasty series as the summaries of those books seem in line with what I would enjoy drama drama and also drama I think however that I am done with this one25 to 3 stars


  5. says:

    A wildly enjoyable romance that doesn't soft soap the issues A dissolute young man with massive self esteem issues and a gambling problem falls for a former prostitute sold into the trade as a child and now a courtesan's servant All that plus classcultural issues that firmly tell them both to know their place and into which the hero buys without really noticing for a long time This is a meaty romance with a lot to get over but it really works and the way the two work together and learn is a joy I didn't find the mystery element uite so satisfying but it's probably better it wasn't to the forefront the MCs needed the space Beautifully written with a vivid tangible setting


  6. says:

    I read romance books for the HEA and I've been known for trashing a book for a less than satisfying ending but I have to say that the HEA in this particular romance felt wrong to me Not that Bai Huang and Yue ying didn't deserve it I loved them and they certainly deserved to live happily ever after butI don't know how to explain it I just know that I'd be giving this book a higher rating and let's not forget that I gave it 4 stars if the HEA was nowhere in sight I'd be sobbing like a ninny but I'd be loving every minute of it Go figure ; Note 1 Note I received this eARC from Harleuin via NetGalley That had no influence on my reviewratingNote 2 AAR Best 2013 Historical Romance Not Set in the UK


  7. says:

    Read any romances about secretive courtesans and dashing young lords during golden age China lately? Then read Jeannie Lin's Pingkang Li Mysteries The Lotus Palace isn't simply a romance it's a Romance an epic that embroils six characters no an entire district While we read 99% of the narrative through the hero and heroine's perspectives Lin captures the throb and glitter of the capital's pleasure uarter as well as the poetry the intelligent subtle women Lin evokes the beauty of protocols and artifice and filters them through a modern grasp of class and sex without Orientalism slowing pace breaking the fourth wall or sacrificing evocative spare prose eg Mingyu drew the entire world around her like stars circling the Earth If she was upset then no one else was allowed their happiness Her characters speak for her Yue ying will stand as one of my favorite characters Strong precisely because she chooses to see the world eyes uncovered in all its cruelty and remains standing believes herself a maidservant deserving of and pursues happiness though moments of doubt ensure she stays human Contrast her with wealthy love interest Bai Huang earnest charming and unwitting of his privilege I've never seen a romance engage privilege so directly and deftly Yue ying cannot lecture or rail at Huang above her station so she comments only occasionally casual and profound on the differences between them leaving Huang to snatch at these pearls of wisdom because he has no other key to the inscrutable private Yue ying who draws him and whom he convinces to help him solve a murder He must reorder his views and approach as each pearl offers a glimpse into Yue ying To understand her he must understand her world To some extent Palace repeatedly uestions whether aristocrat Bai Huang can understand or love a servant Bai Huang himself enlightened by disillusionment and ridden by demons also demonstrates repeatedly a willingness to learn and adjust so that Yue ying theoretically at the mercy of many in society including him need never feel threatened or powerless He doesn't save her Yue ying's free In fact I wondered if marriage would be less free for her given that Huang and his family would have rights over her then Lin excels at conveying these power differentials drawing parallels between lord servant and husband wife dynamics most clearly when Huang reprimands Yue ying for talking back to him and criticizing him Many may yet relate to this dynamic or the sanctions against discussing certain subjects between the sexes I loved Lin's deep characterizations her insight and humor I know I made this sound like srs bsns but much of Palace is poignant and sweet However Lin's respect for and realism with conflicts of class and sex caused me to believe her than I would a historical romance that ignores these uestions You know all those governess Earl romances Lin borrows familiar tropes richpoor and a Scarlet Pimpernel disguise reshapes them like a Potato Head injects fascinating themes freedom vs dependency sisterhood etc and dresses them with all the romance and glamor of a Tang Dynasty China film I am totally reading the seuel The Jade Temptress and whatever else she writes And now for funzies and as a tribute to those films let's dreamcast who would play charming Bai Huang and hero #2 broody Constable Wu Kaifeng Pics clean of course in spoiler view spoiler hide spoiler


  8. says:

    As soon as I learned The Lotus Palace was a historical romancemystery set in Ancient China with actual Chinese people as main characters I knew I HAD to read it When you have read as much historical romance as I have you don’t find many new things Even with the known trope rich playboy falls for servant girl – I found the culture and setting so different that half the time I didn’t know how characters would react to things It made for a fascinating readThe Pingkang Li is the City’s pleasure uarter full of beautiful educated sophisticated courtesans who compose poetry act as hostesses in events and generally trade wits with scholars It wasn’t clear to me if selling their bodies was part of the bargain but it seemed they had the liberty of choosing their own lovers Yue ying our heroine is the servant of a famous courtesan in the Lotus Palace She’s practical hard working tough and has a port wine stain that mars her face Bai Huang the hero is a rich charming extremely attractive good for nothing scholar who has been “courting” Yue ying’s mistress for a while But everything is not as it seems with Bai Huang – he’s been exaggerating his reputation as a fool to spy for his father who’s a powerful government official For a while he’s been noticing Yue ying because she feels real to him as compared to the illusions of the Pingkang LiYue ying’s past was horrific I won’t go into details because I don’t want to give spoilers but although she doesn’t dwell in the past it’s clear that it damaged her deeply Bai Huang for his part hasn’t had as charmed a life as you would expect but it’s mostly of his own doing When he meets Yue ying he’s desperately trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his father who he disappointed terriblyIt takes a long time for Yue ying to give in to the advances of Bai Huang Practical creature that she is she suspects his motives and it’s not taken by his pretty face She can’t believe that a man like him – who could have any woman he wanted – would be interested in her with her marked face her situation in life and her past But Huang crumbles her defenses slowly with his love and persistence Their relationship is not only about the physical but it’s about trust and understanding I was very touched when Huang acknowledged He had never trusted anyone else with the worst parts of himselfThe mystery was just somewhat disjointed with clues all over the place Half the time I thought they were chasing red herrings and I didn’t even recognize the murderer when he was unveiled Definitely not the stronger part of the storyI was fascinated by the cultural aspects of the book I know next to nothing about Ancient China so I loved the descriptions of places clothes customs etc It amazed me how concerned people were with each other’s privacy to the point that they wouldn’t share important thoughts or feelings because “you don’t talk about those things” I was surprised by the way the final hurdle between Bai Huang and Yue ying was overcome and it was only possible due to the differences in cultureI’m definitely reading the next book – Constable Wu and Mingyu sound like a very intriguing couple If you are looking for a different read this book will definitely be for you


  9. says:

    There are reasons why Jeannie Lin makes my most awaited books list time and time again The unusual timeline Tang dynasty China aside she constantly reinvents her settings plots and characters making each of her books a new discovery Here we foray once into the imperial capital of Changan into the pleasure district of Pingkang LiOne of the highlights of the Tang Dynasty series is the sheer amount of intricate historical detail interwoven in the stories I was completely fascinated by Li Bai Shen's world in My Fair Concubine the world of glamour sophistry and romance hiding a complex web of politics crime and illegal activities Ms Lin's style of writing immersed me into this strange and fascinating world the vivid descriptions of the opulent teahouses open air pavilions and richly coloured garments The language is elegant and flowing imbibing the restraint of the formal setting yet conveying romance and sensuousness when dueYue ying is the servant to one of the illustrious beauties of Pingkang Li the courtesan Mingyu Due to her mistress' fame she is a central observer of all the political machinations and soliciting of favours that take place beneath the veneer of entertainment uietly going about her duties she blends into the background and dutifully serves Mingyu Her life is thrown out of gear when the Bai Huang the handsome and affable fool of Pingkang Li sets his attentions on her Bai Huang is the privileged son of a prominent noble family infamous for his wastrel ways The 'flower prince' of Pingkang Li he is known for his spendthrift ways and drinking his way around the pleasure district Yueying is discomfited when he tries to woo her; because she doesn't for once believe he is as he seems Things get further complicated when a murder takes place and Yue ying is forced to co operate with him to protect the ones she loves Both the lead characters are multilayered and that works well to support the elaborate plotline Yue ying though having had a harsh life is direct practical and resourceful Although self conscious about her 'marred' face and her lack of education within the company she keeps she takes it in stride Her independent and no nonsense outlook is a wonderful foil against Huang's often naïve outlook in the pairing that crosses societal backgrounds and vastly different upbringingsview spoilerI was pleasantly surprised to see the way their relationship issues have been tackled The barriers that they had to overcome were formidable and well justified For a relationship transcending social classes tacking on the marriage vs concubine issue has become the norm yet again Yue ying had very solid reasons not to settle for being a concubine The way Ms Lin brought out Yue ying's intimacy issues given her harsh and neglected past deserves plus points hide spoiler


  10. says:

    I was really surprised how much I liked this I kinda thought it would be good since I'd seem some glowing reviews of this author and mystery plus romance set in ancient china sounded all up my alley But it's published by Harleuin and I mean to each their own but I have never been into any of Harleuin's releases ever So I gave it a shot anyways and I was kind of blown away It took a little while to really sink into the story but once I did it was like a breath of fresh air The story had a lot of depth to it and the characters were very complicated and there was a lot of female characters SUPPORTING EACH OTHER and UGH 3 Really good Highly recommend