Roughly the equivalent to the early years of Anne Boleyn--the Eastern version. Or possibly Evita. Empress Orchid is a fast paced yet delicate novel detailing the unlikely rise of an impoverished but decently pedigreed remote governor's daughter to become one of the seven Imperial wives of the last real emperor of China, circa 1861. The book offers an amazingly detailed look at what life was like in the Forbidden City, is impeccably researched and leaves one wondering what one would do when faced with the same challenges. I immediately ordered its sequel, The Last Empress, as I had to know how the story ends.
This is a fascinating story of another time and culture. The intrigue, the perseverance and courage of one individual who changed her world.
This book was hard to put down. A very interesting story and I will definitely read other books by this author.
Very well written. Almost unbelievable if history didn't have this recorded in multiple places.
A masterful historical novel, portraying brutal and sexually charged political turmoil in the mid 19th century Forbidden City. Orchid is based on the true historical figure, Tzu Hsi, who was China's longest reigning woman ruler and last empress. A rich novel, full of articulately crafted details, and searing descriptions which haunt long after the last page is turned.