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The Ghost Bride: Book summary and reviews of The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride

by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo X
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
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  • Published Aug 2013
    368 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

An Indie Next List pick, The Bookseller Editor's Pick, and a Library Journal Barbara's Pick, Yangsze Choo's stunning debut, The Ghost Bride, is a startlingly original novel infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, and unexpected supernatural twists.

"One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride..."

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim's handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy - including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets -and the truth about her own family -before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

Reminiscent of Lisa See's Peony in Love and Amy Tan's The Bonesetter's DaughterThe Ghost Bride is a wondrous coming-of-age story from a remarkable new voice in fiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Choo's clear and charming style creates an alternate reality where the stakes are just as high as in the real world, combining grounded period storytelling with the supernatural." - Publishers Weekly

"Choo's fascinating debut...rich in Chinese folklore, mores and the supernatural…intriguing and enlightening. A haunting debut." - Kirkus

"Choo's remarkably strong and arresting first novel…is sure to garner much well-deserved attention." - Booklist

This information about The Ghost Bride was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Melinda

Supernatural, history, and mystery come together
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I'm glad I read it before the airline disasters that made the island that this book takes place on (though in a different time period) a household name. The protagonist is a true heroine, she rises above her culture and its constraints, but with grace and understanding and respect. A worthwhile read, and a good historical perspective as well. I learned a lot about this island and its culture, as well as reading a great story. It is also not so "overly adult", I loaned it to my teenage daughter to read also, so she could get some perspective on another culture.

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Author Information

Yangsze Choo Author Biography

Photo: James Cham

Yangsze Choo is a fourth-generation Malaysian of Chinese descent. Due to a childhood spent in various countries, she can eavesdrop (badly) in several languages. After graduating from Harvard University, she worked as a management consultant and at a startup before writing her first novel. The Ghost Bride, set in colonial Malaya and the elaborate Chinese world of the afterlife, is about a peculiar historic custom called a spirit marriage. Yangsze lives in California with her husband, two children, and a potential rabbit. She loves to eat and read, and often does both at the same time.

Link to Yangsze Choo's Website

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