Author: Yangsze Choo
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Historical Fiction
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Li Lan is a beautiful, young daughter of a once reputable Chinese family that is now bankrupt. Her mother long deceased, she lives with her opium addicted father who has failed to line up any truly proper marriage prospects for her.
One day Li Lan learns that she has received a proposal from the wealthy and powerful house of the Lim family to marry their son Lim Tian Ching. However, this is a rare and unusual request in the fact that he recently passed under questionable circumstances. The Lim Family now wish to arrange for a ghost marriage with Li Lan in order to pacify his restless spirit. While this marriage would provide Li Lan with a home, erasing all debt her father owes, she would be condemning herself to a life of mourning and solitude.
Then to make matters more difficult, while attending an affair at the Lim household, Li Lan accidentally encounters the new heir Tian Bai. She finds herself drawn to him instantly. Torn between the pressures of the proposal and her own desires, she soon finds that she is being haunted by Lim Tian Ching. His persistence drawing her further and further into the world of the Chinese afterlife.
Trapped between the land of the living and the dead, Li Lan must uncover the mysteries surrounding the Lim family and her own. Lost among spirits and the frightening entities that govern the underworld with help only from the mysterious Er Lang, will she be able to uncover the truth before it is too late and she is lost forever in this dark and ominous afterlife?
“The problem with the dead was that they all wanted someone to listen to them.”
I was pretty excited when I discovered The Ghost Bride on Goodreads. I was instantly drawn to the beautiful cover and intriguing synopsis. I also happen to be a pretty big fan of historical fiction, but with little knowledge of Chinese culture and beliefs regarding afterlife. The concept of ghost marriages was foreign to me, and my interest was immediately piqued. What I found was a hidden gem.
Yangsze Choo’s story telling is rich, leaving nothing to spare. She easily paints a vivid picture of the town of Malacca and the local culture while including notes of the British influence during the story’s setting. Her portrayal of the afterlife is both dark and captivating. I was instantly immersed into a world unknown.
The characters were not entirely relatable, but they were full of intrigue and very well written. I found myself genuinely concerned for Li Lan, bitterly resenting Lim Tian Chiang, and continually curious about the enigmatic Er Lang. The family history and character backgrounds felt complete.
Full of Chinese folklore and mythology, The Ghost Bride is beautifully written. Each page presented a new twist, never slowing down. I was compelled to read on into the late hours of the night. Yangsze Choo has painted a world full of mystery, romance, and supernatural suspense that made this novel hard to put down.
I am very excited to have discovered this author and look forward to reading more of her work in the future. This novel has easily earned a spot among my favorites. While The Ghost Bride shines on its own as a stand alone novel, it would be wonderful to have a sequel in the future!