Really quite exceptional in this genre. Fairly colorful & accurate Chinese cultural idiosyncracies make this a very different sort of read. The characters are much more finely drawn than in the usual shallow romance, IMO.
Basically about a half Scot/half Chinese girl...a young woman in the trading city Canton, she is made to pretend to be a young man by her uncle so that she can act as a liaison/translator with the "foreign devils" that come to trade. Her half-life as neither man or woman begins to chafe when she meets a handsome Scottish trader who is floundering in the midst of some murderous Chinese plots, making this a not-typical romance with a dash of intrigue, a sprig of martial arts action, and a healthy dose of historical flavor.
As the romance continues and they travel to Scotland together, they face the prejudice and censure of his family toward his mysterious slant-eyed bride...very interesting, as someone who has had to put up with that sort of thing - like the heroine, I am half-Chinese. Don't think that my identification with the character is the only reason I liked the book, it isn't - its basically very engaging and well written - my only criticism is that I felt that the end was a bit contrived and abrupt....it felt like the author's editor called and said something like, "oh, well, you've really got to wrap this one up then! We've got a deadline!" But still, a very enjoyable effort!
I had never read anything about the author before but I have already added her to my list of "great" writers.
Mary Jo Putney knows how to put a story together to create a plot that holds your interest. Her writing is crystal clear and flows like warm honey. A great book to curl up with and forget the world around you.
Such a good read! A Scottish/Chinese girl child is reared in a Chinese household and then given an opportunity to go to the land of her father as a young woman. Well written and engaging.
Feng shui is used in the book, which showed me the way to make my own house better. A rare treasure is this book!