Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

                                             The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Have you ever read a book you couldn't wait to tell everyone about it? Well if you have, you know how I feel as I say to you; You. Have. To Read. The Ghost Bride.  I want to shout from the rooftop or at least all over the internet:  Read The Ghost Bride.  It is AWESOME!

The Ghost Bride takes place in colonial Malaya in 1893.  Li Lan is 18, beautiful and the daughter of a bankrupt opium addict.  She has zero marriage prospects until her father is approached by the wealthy Lim family with a proposal.  A proposal to marry their dead son and to become his ghost bride.  Li Lan must consider her future and visits the Lim mansion where she learns that Lim and the Lan families are connected.  She meets the Lim heir and finds herself attracted to him.

In her heart Li Lan does not want to be a ghost bride.  But nightly she is visited by the dead son of the Lim family.  He invades her dreams and weakens her spirit, stealing bits and pieces of her strength and resolve.  She seeks help from her Amah as her body gets sicker and sicker.  Eventually her body is caught between the realm of the living and the dead and her spirit breaks free to enter a parellel spirit world.  The Chinese afterlife.

Choo has created a sensational, creative, and fascinating Chinese afterlife, complete with the creation of the Plains of the Dead.  The Plains of the Dead is the most interesting place.  It is parellel to our world and you must travel far to get there.  Ghosts stay there until they are up for reincarnation and live their afterlife in a way similar to the life they just left.  No one knows that Li Lan is not dead and still a living spirit caught between worlds.

Choo is an amazing storyteller.  I can't wait until she writes her next book because I will be first in line to buy it.  In many ways I hope she writes a sequel to The Ghost Bride.  The plot is so darn cool and original.  And the characters are so real and imaginative and full of mystery and myth.

The Ghost Bride is a mix of Chinese culture, history, religion, and folk beliefs.  You will be drawn into another world, another place and time and will take great pleasure in a sensory filled reading experience.  All of these elements are woven into a superb story that will keep me raving about this book for a long time to come.

The Ghost Bride is my favorite read of the 2014 so far!