Just a few chapters into Lisa See’s Peony in Love I grew very skeptical. It turns out the story is mostly told from the perspective of a ghost. I don’t really do ghosts. (Or vampires or zombies or werewolves or mermaids.) That was a concept that took quite some time to get used to, but I did my best to let it go.
I understand that the emphasis on the afterlife is really a look into the Chinese culture and their beliefs. Lisa See’s books are always big on research and history and culture. I am just not cultured enough to fully appreciate it though I know it takes skill to make a compelling plot with such a strong background.
Even if I can’t appreciate all the cultural elements, the story kept my attention. Right before being married to a man she doesn’t know, Peony dies of lovesickness. She is then forced to roam as a ghost and ends up influencing her sisterwives’ lives. If it sounds a little far out there, it’s because it is. But it makes sense in context.
With most of Lisa See’s books I’ve wanted to like them more than I actually have. However, I didn’t mind this one as much as I thought I would when I found out the point of view. I enjoyed the great writing and the story moved swiftly and smoothly.
All in all, a solid Lisa See novel… and I know because thanks to my mom I’ve read quite a few of them.