Comment: I have had this book in the TBR pile for years. I'm not sure what made me get it and after all this time I can't remember exactly where but it's been waiting to be read for a long time. I've looked at some non spoilers reviews lately to get me in the mood and I'll have to say, I got scared because most of them weren't very positive. But nothing like trying ourselves, right?
This is the story of Lydia Smith, a Englishwoman who travels alone to China in hopes of finding her fiancé. Lydia has thought about the surprise her fiancé will have when she arrives unexpected but she didn't count on being sol to a brothel by the captain of the ship where she traveled in. She is then bought by a Chinese man and forced to comply on the fear he might take her back to the brothel where she would become a prostitute. What this man wants of her is weird and not something any proper woman should accept but this is not England... can Lydia find any purpose to her life, now that is too far away from any known reality? Can she find happiness despite her situation?
After several bad opinions I've read about this book, I wasn't too certain about how much time I really wanted to spend with it but at least I could get it over with.
This book starts with a very annoying premise, how believable it is for a woman to travel alone to a foreign country in the 19th century? This only lets readers think the content might not be too credible so it takes some effort to keep reading.
As the plot moved forward, however, it become obvious that this wouldn't be the type of book most historical readers would be used to. I wasn't very eager to keep reading but I admit I was curious to see how the author would write an HEA that wouldn't look silly...
The characters are difficult to explain...in terms of behavior both were interesting but I found them lacking in personality, they were basically portrayed...I guess I understand he author's purpose but it made the story feel weaker and I wasn't always very interested in who they were as individuals.
While the first sort of half of the book was weird in terms of plot, we could have a certain control on the character's attitudes, but the second part of the book had them acting without any sense and the plot become too cliché and irritating when things could have been done better.
The overall sensation i had is that this is a weak soy, mostly because the tantric sex stuff, no matter how interesting or important, was rather weird and several situations didn't seem to have a real meaning, except in some exotic way which makes this confusing for most readers. The terms used were more ridiculous than exotic, to be honest. I wasn't very convinced about how valid the practices portrayed were nor why the hero would feel he had to use them...his problems aren't exactly solved or his situation improved because of them anyway...so why would it matter to him in the first place? Oh well.
I don't know what to say about this book whether positive or negative to give anyone a correct idea about what it's like or how the story is done but my impression isn't very positive. I liked some things, I liked how the relationship worked in some moments but such interesting themes and setting were betrayed by an obvious lack of control in what to use in this story and what doesn't matter.
I guess it's a matter of perspective, I don't mind some elements but the romance isn't completely convincing, the situations aren't all explained well, there is a lack of closure and the end has merit but after all the struggle to just end like that, despite understandable...feels like an easy way out.
Anyway, this was quite an effort but I wasn't sold on the author's talent...