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    Empress Orchid. Home · Empress Orchid Author: Anchee Min. 52 downloads Views Empress. Read more · Empress · Read more · Empress. Read more . Empress Orchid. Empress Orchid (Series). Book 1. Anchee Min Author Pik-Sen Lim Narrator (). cover image of The Last Empress. Empress Orchid 1 Anchee Min - [FREE] EMPRESS ORCHID 1 ANCHEE MIN In , Cixi participated in the selection for consorts to the Xianfeng Emperor.

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    Empress Orchid Pdf

    The only constant is the power wielded by one woman, Tzu Hsi, also known as Empress Orchid, who must face the perilous condition of her empire and. Empress Orchid [Anchee Min] on daifiteresua.ga *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. From a master of the historical novel, Empress Orchid sweeps readers into . Fairmont Orchid Hawaii When to Take Plant Cuttings - Empress of Double Floor Plan (PDF) Spacious South-facing rooms overlooking the.

    Synopsis: The setting is China's Forbidden City in the last days of its imperial glory, a vast complex of palaces and gardens run by thousands of eunuchs and encircled by a wall in the center of Peking. In this highly ordered place -- tradition-bound, ruled by strict etiquette, rife with political and erotic tension -- the Emperor, "the Son of Heaven," performs two duties: he must rule the court and conceive an heir. To achieve the latter, tradition provides a stupendous hierarchy of hundreds of wives and concubines. It is as a minor concubine that the beautiful Tzu Hsi, known as Orchid as a girl, enters the Forbidden City at the age of seventeen. It is not a good time to enter the city. The Ch'ing Dynasty in has lost its vitality, and the court has become an insular, xenophobic place. A few short decades earlier, China lost the Opium Wars, and it has done little since to strengthen its defenses or improve diplomatic ties. Instead, the inner circle has turned further inward, naively confident that its troubles are past and the glory of China will keep the "barbarians" -- the outsiders -- at bay. Within the walls of the Forbidden City the consequences of a misstep are deadly. As one of hundreds of women vying for the attention of the Emperor, Orchid soon discovers that she must take matters into her own hands.

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    Yet, this book is not re-telling of a saintly figure surroned by people who do bad things while transfering the blame for such behavior on her, despite Orchid's seemingly desire to make her story do so. For that is the key to this book's success. Min presents a real figure, a narrator who reveals more about herself than the action of the tale.

    Orchid starts her story with the death of her father moving quickly to her marriage to the Emperor of China. After her marriage, she is sequestered or imprisioned in the Forbidden City and is caught up in marriage politics she is one of many wives , power politics, and the fall of China to those darn heathen forgieners.

    Orchid has to survie not only the jealously of her fellow wives, her weak willed husband, but also the power struggle among the men of the court, men who see her as nothing more than a womb. Min lets Orchid have control of her own story. This means that Orchid says one thing but something else may be going on.

    A jealous wife may be an evil witch or maybe not. Is the Emperor really that weak and Orchid that strong? This stops Orchid from becoming a milk sop or a door mat. She takes control of her own story and doesn't care if the reader likes her. Or at least, she will not admit that she cares or wants the reader's goodwill. The book follows the story of Tzu Hsi known as Orchid who enters the Forbidden City as one of the Emperors concubines at the age of seventeen.

    Over time she seduces the Emperor and bears his son, which means an immediate rise in rank to 2nd Empress 1st Empress is Nuharoo. We see her struggle to keep the Emperor's interest whilst battling with Nuharoo to be allowed to raise her child herself normal custom is for the first Empress to take over.

    When the Emperor dies, and names Orchid's son a The book follows the story of Tzu Hsi known as Orchid who enters the Forbidden City as one of the Emperors concubines at the age of seventeen. When the Emperor dies, and names Orchid's son as heir, the two Empresses take over as regents, and a battle for power ensues with Su Shun - the Emperor's right-hand man. The two Empresses struggle to hold up the country under increasing pressure from foreign armies.

    This is a wonderfully gripping story. Its exotic setting and fascinating subject matter makes it compelling reading. The book is also very well researched, and as such I believe it is part biography, part fiction. It's based on the story of Ci Xi - China's last Empress. Whilst in History, she's portrayed as ruthless and power hungry, in this book we see her as a relatively normal women, struggling with the customs of the Forbidden City. A woman who just wants the best for the people and country she loves.

    I was fascinated and sometimes horrified! I'm not sure I could have lived like that! Also the punishments were very severe - in some cases for the most trivial of things! My feelings towards the characters changed somewhat throughout the book.

    From the beginning I had a real empathy for Orchid, and this remained throughout, however whilst I quite liked Nuharoo at the beginning, I found myself more and more frustrated with the way she was acting, to the point where I found myself becoming angry with her.

    This softened slightly towards the end, but I still didn't like her much. The Emperor really annoyed me at the beginning of the book, but as the story progressed and we saw a different side to him, I actually started to quite like him!

    It took me a while to read, as I found the subject matter required more concentration than other books I'd read, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I'll definitely be picking up the sequel. View all 13 comments. Empress Orchid was one of those books which left me in the state of oblivion. To put it simply, the book wasn't impactful at all and simply forgettable.

    This book tells the beginnings of Ci Xi, known here affectionately as Orchid. Because Orchid is the protagonist, Empress Orchid does boarder on being too one sided and opinionated. For example, Orchid's 'rival', Nuharoo, is often depicted as childlike and less intelligent.

    She is, by Orchid's account a woman of leisure who is petty and resorts to Empress Orchid was one of those books which left me in the state of oblivion. She is, by Orchid's account a woman of leisure who is petty and resorts to dirty tactics in a fit of jealousy. The point is, Nuharoo is silver to Orchid's gold. Nuharoo covered her ears. There is nothing I can do about this. I can't decide if I actually like Orchid, but since there is an accompanying book, The Last Empress , I'll give it a try before I decide!

    View all 3 comments. Jul 10, Nicole rated it really liked it Shelves: This book intrigued me because of the summary I read on the inside flap, how this person seduced the emperor. It provided a nice reprieve from the modern Chinese novels that I had been reading recently. I liked learning about the imperial court life by learning about the culture and the politics.

    It made me appreciate it more, and realize what a great loss the country suffered when Communism eventually made its This book intrigued me because of the summary I read on the inside flap, how this person seduced the emperor. It made me appreciate it more, and realize what a great loss the country suffered when Communism eventually made its way around which would happen much later.

    Though, the Manchus had done that to the Chinese. I also liked the emphasis on Manchu vs Chinese, because that is rarely hi-lighted and I hadn't even heard of it before. Oct 21, Natasa rated it it was amazing Shelves: These characters will touch your heart, and you will think of them long after the book has ended. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

    To view it, click here. Vrlo detaljna prica o djelicu kineske povijesti, obicajima i politickim previranjima. Knjiga je vrlo dobro pisana, malo predetaljna mozda. Zapravo mi se nije svidjela kineska kultura i obicaji jer su zene stavljane u zadnji red zapravo koja je razlika u to doba bila u drugim kulturama? Kakvo je to klanjanje caru da se celom udara u pod dok se ne raskrvari, mozda dobije i potres mozga Vrlo detaljna prica o djelicu kineske povijesti, obicajima i politickim previranjima.

    Kakvo je to klanjanje caru da se celom udara u pod dok se ne raskrvari, mozda dobije i potres mozga tko zna , vjerovanja u prorocanstva, astrologiju itd. Prica prvenstveno govori o kineskom caru koji je slabic a kao takav i umire te snazi jedne od njegovih zena, Orhideji, koja preuzima stvari u svoje ruke i pokusava dici carstvo na noge nakon njegove smrti.

    Pred nju su stavljene mnoge prepreke ali svojom upornoscu ih uspije zaobici kako bi popravila situaciju u kojoj se Kina nasla, te ostavila stabilnost u naslijede svome sinu za kojega vec sad pretpostavlja da ce biti los car kao i njegov otac.

    Strasno me zivcirala pasivnost cara, nezainteresiranost i opcenito nacin na koji je zivio svoj zivot. Zivot zena u Zabranjenom gradu je strasna, ne samo zato sto su podredene vec zato sto im nije ostavljena mogucnost da barem donekle zive normalnim zivotom. Konstantno suparnistvo drzi ih budnima i opreznima, strasno je sto su jedna drugoj kadre uciniti. Nisam bila sigurna koju ocjenu dati, 3. Cijela prica je jako dobra i zanimljiva, ali da je mozda malo skratila Nekako pretpostavljam da ce nastavak ove knjige biti zanimljiviji zbog nacina na koji je djelo zavrseno.

    Drama cinta dan kekuasaan selir muda Kaisar Hsien Feng Indah, menawan, dan penuh intrik. Tzu Hsi Yehonala, atau yang dalam bahasa Cina berarti anggrek adalah seorang Maharani, terlebih dia kaisar wanita yang paling lama berkuasa di Cina. Tapi Anggrek tidak mencapai posisi itu dengan mudah. Dia yang dulu hanyalah gadis desa, berhasil mendapatkan kekuasaan lewat rayuan, intrik politik, dan kecerdasan luar biasa.

    Anggrek dulu hanyalah gadis berumur 17 tahun dari klan Yehonala, salah satu klan peng Drama cinta dan kekuasaan selir muda Kaisar Hsien Feng Anggrek dulu hanyalah gadis berumur 17 tahun dari klan Yehonala, salah satu klan penguasa Manchu di Cina.

    Ditinggal mati ayahnya seorang mantan gubernur miskin, Anggrek dan keluarganya harus mencari cara untuk hidup di tengah kerasnya dunia. Sebagai anak sulung, Anggrek akan melakukan segala cara untuk melindungi keluarganya, termasuk menikahi sepupunya yang terbelakang. Nasib baik melindunginya, karena sebelum pernikahannya, ada pemberitahuan dari istana bahwa Kaisar Hsien Feng sedang mencari istri.

    Merasa dirinya memenuhi syarat, Anggrek pun mengumpulkan keberaniannya dan menghadap Kantor Pemerintah. Beruntung, dia diloloskan dan menjalani pemeriksaan ketat untuk menjadi istri. Para kasim dan dayang meloloskan dirinya, dan beberapa bulan kemudian, bersama dua ratus orang gadis Manchu lainnya, Anggrek pun berangkat ke istana.

    Dalam pertemuannya dengan Kaisar Hsien Feng, Anggrek membuat sang Kaisar tertarik dengan kegugupan dan senyum rahasianya. Kaisar pun dengan ringan meloloskan dirinya sebagai salah satu dari tujuh istri resmi Kaisar. Anggrek sulit mempercayai dirinya sendiri ketika dia akhirnya menjadi Selir tingkat keempat Kaisar.

    Membawa gairah dan harapan, Anggrek berambisi menjadi selir kesayangan Kaisar. Tapi malang baginya, ternyata Kaisar telah melupakannya. Anggrek kini hanyalah salah satu dari Selir Istana. Pantang menyerah dan dengan dukungan kasim setianya An-te-hai, Anggrek akhirnya berhasil memikat Kaisar dan menjadi selir kesayangannya. Hidup di Kota Terlarang bagaikan peperangan dalam merebut perhatian Kaisar, satu-satunya lelaki dari wanita di sana. Berkali-kali Anggrek berusaha dijebak karena kecemburuan para wanita, terutama Nuharoo sang Permaisuri.

    Dalam pertahanannya, diam-diam tiap malam Anggrek belajar dari Kaisar tentang politik ketika Kaisar menceritakan traktrat-traktat Cina dengan bangsa asing. Politik adalah dunia yang dianggap tabu bagi wanita, tapi Anggrek dengan kecerdasannya berhasil menutupi kepandaiannya hingga saatnya muncul. Tak jarang dia membuat Anggrek frustasi dengan kesombongannya, ketidaksensitifannya, dan kepengecutannya. Saat Anggrek sedang hamil tua, dia bersenang-senang dengan para gadis Cina dan menelatarkan Anggrek.

    Perhatiannya baru kembali ketika Anggrek melahirkan seorang bayi laki-laki yang diberi nama Tung Chih.

    Project MUSE - The Chinese American Miracle: An Interview with Anchee Min

    Tapi kebahagiaan Anggrek akan perhatian Kaisar yang kembali tidak bertahan lama. Kaisar Hsien Feng akhirnya meninggal dunia pada umurnya yang begitu muda karena penyakit dan stress, tiga puluh tahun, meninggalkan permaisuri dan selir-selirnya. Gigih mengajari anaknya Tung Chih sang Kaisar Muda agar tidak mengikuti jejak ayahnya, Anggrek menerima perlakuan dingin dan pemberontakan dari sang Kaisar Muda.

    Tung Chih malah akrab dengan Nuharoo, membuat Anggrek merasa cemburu dan semakin kesepian. Anggrek di tengah penderitaannya bertemu Yung Lu, bawahan Su Shun yang pandai, tampan, dan setia padanya. Tapi Anggrek harus melawan kebutuhannya akan keintiman, karena statusnya sebagai janda Kaisar tidak mengizinkannya memiliki hubungan apapun dengan lelaki.

    Empress Orchid

    Anggrek mendapatkan segalanya, tetapi juga kehilangan segalanya. Harga dari keberhasilannya bertahan adalah sederetan pengorbanan pribadi serta penderitaan. Kesepian yang mendalam adalah harga yang harus ditanggungnya sebagai seorang Maharani. Anggrek adalah perempuan yang berhasil berhasil bertahan dan akhirnya mendominasi Mengapa mataku gagal menemukan kesenangan di ruangan yang penuh dengan harta benda ini?

    Pelayan-pelayan mendaniku dengan jubah-jubah cantik. Aku berjalan ke meja rias, dan melihat kecantikan tiada tara.

    How to Identify and Prune Your Hydrangea

    Aku berputar mengamati perlengkan kamar, panel-panel mozaiknya yang penuh dengan batu mulia dan hasil panen yang berlimpah. Hatiku menjerit: Apa lagi yang masih, bisa, dan berani kau inginkan, Anggrek? View all 4 comments.

    Masa kecilnya tidak pernah mudah. Terutama setelah ayahnya dipecat Kaisar Tao Kang karena tidak mampu menahan pemberontakan petani yang putus asa karena kemarau panjang. Ayahnya mati dirundung malu.

    Bahkan demi memakamkan ayahnya di kota kelahirannya, Peking, mereka meninggalkan Wuhu tanpa harta sedikitpun. Anggrek pun mendaftar dengan harapan bisa memperbaiki kondisi keluarganya yang sengsara.

    Siapa sangka, tidak hanya dia berhasil menjadi selir kesayangan, tapi juga menjadi satu-satu nya yang mampu melahirkan anak laki-laki, Tung Chih, yang menjadi putra mahkota.

    Detail mengenai lokasi dan tradisi Kota Terlarang membuat saya betah membaca buku ini.

    Bagaimana kehidupan Permaisuri dan para selir bukan lah suatu hal yang glamour seperti yang ada dipikiran gadis lain seantero Cina. Saya tak bisa membayangkan bahwa buang air besar pun mereka tidak boleh sendirian, karena harus ada yang menemani dan melayani.

    Yang menyedihkan adalah, belum tentu ketujuh istri dan selir itu bisa menghabiskan malam dengan Kaisar. Waktu penantian digambarkan hingga pembaca ikut tersiksa. Saya bahkan tergoda memutar Waiting in Vain saat membaca bagian ini. Bagaimana Anggrek menahan rasa cemburu saat istri yang lain telah mengandung, kecantikan Permaisuri Utama, heboh mempersiapkan tari kipas pada malam pertama nya dengan Kaisar, mempertahankan kehormatan suami nya, memperjuangkan kedudukan anaknya, sangat detail diceritakan dalam balutan emosi Anggrek sebagai sudut pandang orang pertama.

    Ada banyak hal yang bisa saya ambil dari buku ini. Selain saya menjadi tahu sedikit lebih banyak tentang Sejarah Dinasti Chi'ing Qing , saya juga belajar bagaimana kehidupan istri-istri yang berbagi suami, susahnya mendidik anak yang manja, sampai bagaimana membangun 'karier' dengan mempertahankan orang-orang yang terpercaya dan memiliki kapabilitas tinggi di bidang masing-masing.

    Yang pasti, saya berdoa mudah-mudahan saya tidak akan mempunyai suami seperi Kaisar Hsien Feng yang tidak bisa mengambil keputusan. Hanya bisa mengeluh dan menyalahkan orang lain tanpa memberikan solusi. Lemah dan lembek. Mudah-mudahan anak saya tidak semanja dan sekurang ajar Tung Chih.

    Mungkin jika Hsien Feng seorang yang tangguh, Anggrek tidak akan menjadi selir kesayangannya, tidak akan menjadi Maharani termashyur dari Dinasti terakhir yang menguasai Cina.

    Segala sesuatu memang sudah ada pasangannya, sudah ada jalannya. Tinggal bagaimana kita mengambil sikap untuk menjalaninya Wallahualam edisi sok bijak, wekekekek PS: Bahkan menuduh sebagai salah satu dari penyebab kejatuhan Dinasti Qing.

    Karena saya belum membaca The Last Empress yang merupakan lanjutan dari buku ini, jadi belum tau sebenarnya bagaimana penulis menempatkan posisi Maharani Anggrek Cari Pinjeman dulu aaaah..

    Sep 03, Elizabeth rated it really liked it Recommends it for: I didn't enjoy this book as much as "Becoming Madame Mao" and "Red Azalea," and would be more apt to award it 3 and a half stars if that rating were available. Regardless, the book depicts a fascinating time in Chinese history. Imperial China, deeply rooted in ritual and tradition, comes alive in Min's novel about the last Empress of China, Tzu Hsi. I enjoy rags to riches stories, but this one comes at a cost.

    Imperial life is lavish, yet stifling. The Forbidden City is a place of danger and intr I didn't enjoy this book as much as "Becoming Madame Mao" and "Red Azalea," and would be more apt to award it 3 and a half stars if that rating were available. The Forbidden City is a place of danger and intrigue, and Min works to build tension and suspense in Orchid's early life as one of seven wives to the Emperor. She doesn't achieve this as efficiently as she does in "Madame Mao," or "Red Azalea," whose danger feels more immediate and developed.

    This may be due to the author's distance from the material, as she is a survivor of the Cultural Revolution and obviously more in tune with the trials of that time. Nevertheless, "Empress Orchid" has great moments. Min writes Orchid well.

    I think she captures an essence of Orchid that only a Chinese woman can. I really enjoyed the slow transformation Orchid makes from naive nobody to Empress.

    Min creates a conflicted and charged character without twisting her to Western ideals or subjecting her to a 21st century makeover. Passion, at least its expression, seems to be a western privilege and ideal, and Orchid's world consists of much more calculation and precision.

    I find Min portrays this, and am thankful for it, although it may make for less steamy, page-turning reading. In a twist, the Emperor refers to the Western invaders Britain, France, US, Russia as "barbarians," and this gives Western readers a chance to reflect on their own history books which depict that same history, but in a Western "voice.

    I'm not sure these parts flow seamlessly, as if Min is not sure which type of book she'd like to write, but I did appreciate each part on its own. Min's research has been called in to question with "Empress Orchid," but the fact remains that little is known about Tzu Hsi, yet she stands as a notorious and unloved figure in both Chinese and Western history. I appreciate Min's spin on the Empress as an alternative, or supplement, to history, but do not forget, as a reader, that this is a fictional account and should never be interpreted in place of history.

    After I finish "The Last Empress," Min's sequel to this book depicting the majority of Tzu Hsi's reign, I may feel more in a position to criticize Min's historical fiction on this period. Sve jedna glupost za drugom. Ma joj i samo kad se sjetim svega toga se nasekiram. In this first book we see her life as a young and poor Manchu girl, and how she decides to compete to become one of the Emperor's wives. I really enjoyed this historical novel. I don't think I've ever read one set in China, and I know absolutely nothing about Chinese history and culture, so everything about this story was new and unexpected to me.

    The dangers Orchid has to face, a Empress Orchid is the first book in a duology which follows Orchid Yehonala, or better known as Empress Dowager Cixi. The dangers Orchid has to face, and even most of the royal traditions, are almost unbelievable. For example, view spoiler [once our heroine almost gets executed because she talked before the Emperor's first wife, who has an higher rank than her.

    I always found the plot engaging and interesting. The first two hundred pages especially were difficult to put down. I adored reading about what Orchid did to be chosen as a wife, and what she did later to gain the Emperor's interest. After she becomes his favourite, the story got a little slower, in my opinion, but gained again speed after view spoiler [the Emperor's death hide spoiler ]. Overall, my interest for the story was always kept alive, thanks to the countless dangers and the fascinating but also disturbing traditions.

    Another reason I liked the story was its main character. Orchid is an admirable woman. I don't know how she was in real life, and I know this is quite a sympathetic portrayal of her; but still, as a character I really liked her.

    She is a strong, brave, daring and smart woman. She doesn't stop at nothing to protect herself and later her son, and even if some of her decisions are questionable you always understand why she acts the way she does, and you always want her to succeed. I'm honestly very curious to see how she will evolve in the next book.

    Overall, Empress Orchid was a truly enjoyable and fascinating read, and I highly recommended it to fans of historical fiction. Hopefully, I will get my hands on the sequel as soon as possible. Note to self: You have read this book. Do not forget again. Mainly because of all the books I own, I'm kinda pissed I read this one twice.

    I never reread. Mainly as I have so many books to read. There are some I will reread, probably in a few years time as like a 20th anniversary since first read hurrah or something.

    But this one wouldn't make the list. It was fine. It was a story of a poor girl fallen from high background who managed to wiggle her way into the Forbidden City as a ch Note to self: It was a story of a poor girl fallen from high background who managed to wiggle her way into the Forbidden City as a chosen Empress wife to the Emperor coz she was pretty and had spunk.

    And then this is how she used her spunk and prettiness to become a favourite of the Emperor. And then I get bored and there is half a book to go. Yes, people are out to get her. Yes, men don't like women having influence in politics or life in general. All valid storylines, but I would read another version of it.

    If you want to read a book of pretty girl does good and gets rich, troubled Prince into bed, but in the Forbidden City instead of generic Europe, then give it a go.

    But just don't read it twice. Well, this was kind of fun, except that I don't really believe in this version of Cixi. Why is that the authors of historical fiction are afraid to show their heroes as scheming, cunning, ruthless people they were, and end up excusing and sanitizing them? I doubt Cixi was this goody-goody girl in her youth; I don't want to say she must have been evil or anything of the sort, but she must have been cleverer and more entertaining than that. I liked the details of the court life, and the relationshi Well, this was kind of fun, except that I don't really believe in this version of Cixi.

    I liked the details of the court life, and the relationship of the mother and son was well done. But surely the story of the concubine in the jar doesn't belong there? Anyone know anything? So my friend set up a book group at the end of last year and I'm now part of a real-world, actual in-person book group - rather than various online ones that I've tried and found unsatisfying.

    This was our first pick selection process is made by everyone putting a choice into a hat and then one being picked out. Historical fiction is a new area for me really, and I'm not sure this was the best book to start with. There are many things good and interesting about the book, but it didn't click fo So my friend set up a book group at the end of last year and I'm now part of a real-world, actual in-person book group - rather than various online ones that I've tried and found unsatisfying.

    There are many things good and interesting about the book, but it didn't click for me. I'm not sure if I'd just rather read a non-fiction book about the person, or subject, rather than a fictionalised work. However, I understand that a written history can also be biased, inaccurate, or one-sided sounds like Dragon Lady: The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China might be an example and often historical information is very much 'who knows?

    I think my main problem with this came not from it being historical fiction, but with the way it was written. The way that a few things were Anglicised e. I like consistency. Sometimes I also felt that things were just going nowhere. There'd be large chunks where I just felt like nothing was happening and it was all just descriptions of opulence.

    Which is fine, and they were very interesting as were the descriptions of all the ceremonial and superstitious aspects of life in The Forbidden City , but without balance they get a bit much.

    The depiction of Chinese history from a non-Western viewpoint was very interesting and, from about half-way in, the growing feeling of the 'barbarians' closing in around you and China diminishing was very well done.

    The depiction of Chinese culture, which I know little about, was also very interesting. However, the story overall didn't do a lot for me which is why it's merely 'ok'. And what on earth was that ending? Was it meant to be romantic? It was just confusing.

    What on earth was An-te-hai up to with his coat? I don't understand that at all. I just can't quite push it over to three stars. I may well read the follow-up to this at some point, to read about her later life. I'll certainly be doing a bit of research into the Dowager Empress regardless.

    An interesting person, so that book has at least introduced me to her. I'll be interested to read some more historical fiction in future, I've got my eye on HHhH , which has been highly recommended to me. Sep 16, Jackie rated it liked it Shelves: I had high expectations for this book after hearing so much about it on GoodReads.

    It sort of fell short of those expectations though. I give it 3 stars, which is not bad but I thought it was going to be a 4 to 5 star book. The story itself was very good and it certainly started very well. Despite the opulent appearance of royalty, court life was brutal with all the back stabbings, mind games, political alliances, and even too much downtime.

    Prior to reading the book I knew very little about Empress Orchid or Empress Dowager Cixi as she was known in real life, so I decided to do a bit of research after reading this book. The impression that I got through this research was that she was portrayed in a negative light as a very shrewd strategist.

    Starting from early on the fictional Orchid begins plotting with the help of her family on how to not only get the king to notice her, but to also remain his favorite. Not an easy task when you have a husband who boasts 7 Imperial wives and 3, concubines. Using her sexuality and keen intelligence she manages to position herself as his unofficial secretary to the king and produces an heir potentially securing her future.

    The book was very descriptive and very lush in detail, almost to a fault. I found it distracting and not conducive to the plot at all. Also, the king was so whiney that he was grating on my nerves for most of the book and unfortunately, he was a prominent character.

    The ending though is what really disappointed me. In my opinion it was lame. All this build up and then I blinked and missed it. May 26, Lisa Harmonybites rated it liked it Recommends it for: Those Interested in Chinese History. Recommended to Lisa Harmonybites by: The author, Amchee Min, was born in Shanghai and came of age in China during the Cultural Revolution, and still visits there regularly.

    Being able to read Chinese, Min was able to extensively research her period using primary sources. I therefore trusted her depiction of late Ching dynasty China is fairly accurate.

    This novel is told as the first person account of China's infamous "Dowager Empress," Tzu Hsi aka Red Orchid, who came to the Forbidden City as one of the Emperor's brides when she wa The author, Amchee Min, was born in Shanghai and came of age in China during the Cultural Revolution, and still visits there regularly.

    This novel is told as the first person account of China's infamous "Dowager Empress," Tzu Hsi aka Red Orchid, who came to the Forbidden City as one of the Emperor's brides when she was seventeen in Min presents a sympathetic portrait of a woman that contemporary Chinese texts described as "a mastermind of pure evil and intrigue.

    Her era was that of the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion and she played a pivotal part in Chinese history. I was riveted from the first page and through the first half or so of the book describing life in the palaces of the Forbidden City, and Min writes with a solid style, but I thought it later devolved into a romance novel.

    Ultimately I thought in trying to redeem this historical figure, Min whitewashes her a bit too much--and it's not that I've read any conflicting historical account of her. But reading between the lines, Orchid commits some ruthless, cruel acts. They're a bit breezily passed over in the novel as necessary to set an example or done against her will, but I wished Min had been more unflinching in her portrayal of the strong-willed woman who ruled China at the turn of the 20th Century.

    Feb 04, Toni Osborne rated it liked it. This is a fictionalized account of Empress Tsu His known as Orchid who was the power behind the throne of the Ch'ing Dynasty in the 19th century. According to the author the characters are base on real people and the events kept closed to the events in history. The decrees and poems were translated from the original documents: In the 's European incursions and peasant rebellions were already undermining the Dynasty.

    At the same time Orchid born in to poverty came to the Forbidden City to be This is a fictionalized account of Empress Tsu His known as Orchid who was the power behind the throne of the Ch'ing Dynasty in the 19th century. At the same time Orchid born in to poverty came to the Forbidden City to be one of the emperor's seven wives. The young emperor Hsien Feng had neither the temperament nor the training to lead his country.

    Of all his wives and concubines, Orchid was the only one to produce a male heir giving her privileges. At the emperor's death in , Orchid through the power of seduction and murder and with her diplomatic and manipulative skills took control of the court and became the ruler.

    This book is the description of a woman managing to come to power in a male-dominated society where love is survival, seduction is power and treachery is a way of life.

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