Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book: The Nine Fold Heaven

An ex-spy and nightclub singer who undertakes an emotional and dangerous journey to reunite with her lost lover and the baby she was told was stillborn, and to discover the secret of her parents’ murder.

I didn't realize until after I'd finished this book that it was a sequel.  It stands alone well enough, but I might have understood a few more things if I'd read the other one first.  However... this is not the typical book I review here.  I read Song of the Silk Road a few years back and it was an interesting, if not very different book.  So I decided to give this one a try.  Note to my readers, do not read this if you don't appreciate references to sex in every chapter.

That being said, I think this was a pretty enlightening read about the underbelly of Shanghai in the 1930's.  Camilla the Songbird has fled Shanghai for Hong Kong after a deadly shootout between rival gangs, which she was at the heart of, but her heart is still in Shanghai with her lover(s) and possibly not-stillborn baby.

When she returns she cannot live as she did before because everyone is looking for her.  She must make a new way while finding the missing pieces of her old life.

Interwoven throughout the story are experiences of the Chinese way of culture, religion, and superstition.  Because the author is Chinese these experiences feel more real and true to the story than some other "Chinese" stories I've read.  It's a completely different way of thinking about life and fate/karma than we have here in our Western culture.

All that to say, for me the story felt very hopeless.  If things don't turn out just exactly the way Camilla hopes then there won't be much worth living for.  It is true to her character of being an orphan raised by a gang, but I don't usually choose to read books like this either.

Four stars (out of five) for writing and character development.  Not five because personally I just didn't really like the book.

Come along with an ex spy as she returns to Shanghai where she’s a wanted woman – but she has to search for her baby and her lost lover. Is her baby really alive? Will she be able to find her lover? Can she elude the police long enough to find them? Learn much more about Nine Fold Heaven and Mingmei Yip and get your copy of this exciting and exotic novel. Nine Fold Heaven is part of a series about Camilla the songbird and female spy – you can also read Skeleton Women, the first book about Camilla.

Mingmei Yip has been writing and publishing since she was fourteen years old and now she has twelve books to her credit. Her five novels are published by Kensington Books and her two children’s books are published by Tuttle Publishing. Mingmei is also a renowned qin (ancient string instrument) musician, calligrapher and painter. In Hong Kong, she was a columnist for seven major newspapers. She has appeared on over sixty TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and the US. Visit Mingmei at: www.mingmeiyip.com

Warning: trailer not for children.

I received this book from the author in exchange for my fair and honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't really thought about something like this until I read your review - but Kensington does let their authors focus on some of the darker or more intense cultures in various countries. I've coordinated tours for 6 or 7 Kensington books set in other countries and they were very loyal to the time, place and culture. As an author and reader I love to be "brought into another time, place and culture" and to get a realistic and accurate view of the character and the world that surrounds them. It doesn't make for the lightest content - but Mingmei Yip is another author that does that very well. Anyway - just thought I would share my perspective.


Shower me with your wit, your wisdom, or your funny stories! And please leave an email address if you would like a reply.