BookBrowse Reviews Peony in Love by Lisa See

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Peony in Love

A Novel

by Lisa See

Peony in Love
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2007, 272 pages
    Feb 2008, 320 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book



A story steeped in the traditions and rituals of 17th century China that addresses the universal themes of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard

Following the runaway success of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which was set in a remote corner of nineteenth-century China where tradition and foot-bound women developed their own secret code for communication known as nu shu (woman's writing), Lisa See returns to tell a story set two centuries earlier in which, for a short period, wealthy women in the Yangtze delta area, often living in seclusion, published their writings.

The mid-17th century was a turbulent time for China; the Ming dynasty that had controlled China for almost 300 years (not the China we know today but the South-East corner of the continent) collapsed as the Manchus (from the North-East) invaded, raping and pillaging as they went (eventually establishing the Qing Dynasty which ruled until its collapse in 1912). During the ...

The Story of Peony In Love: Tang Xianzu's "The Peony Pavilion" has caused controversy from when it was first performed in 1598 up until the current day. Almost immediately, different groups advocated that it be censored, and many scenes were cut. In 1780, the opera was blacklisted as profane, and in 1868 it was officially banned and all copies were ordered to be burned. In 2000, the Lincoln Center put on a full-length production that was temporarily delayed when the Chinese government discovered the content of the restored scenes and barred the actors, costumes and sets from leaving the country. The reason for the controversy? "The Peony Pavilion" was the first piece of fiction in the history of China in which the heroine chose her own destiny. Women of the time became entranced with the concept, ...

Members Only

BookBrowse's reviews and "beyond the book" articles are part of the many benefits of membership and, thus, are generally only available to subscribers, including individual members and patrons of libraries that subscribe.

Join Today

Member Login

Library Patrons

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Tom Jackson
    Growing up in Mumbai in the '70s, I still remember herbs kept fresh in small glasses of water, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.