Monday, July 8, 2013

Review: Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Title: Ghost Bride
Author: Yangsze Choo
Genre: Historical Fiction - Chinese Lore
Source: FirstReads
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Li Lan, a young Chinese woman in lush, 1890s colonial Malaya, hopes for a favorable marriage. But the proposal she receives from the wealthy Lim family is for their dead son, who begins to shadow her mirror and her dreams. Set in the elaborate world of the Chinese afterlife, with its parallel ghost cities, paper servants, and monstrous bureaucracy, THE GHOST BRIDE is based on a peculiar historic custom amongst the Chinese in Malaysia called a spirit marriage.

This book was much different than what I expected.  I expected a story about the Chinese tradition of marrying a living person to a deceased one - to appease a troubled spirit.  What I found in the pages was so much more.  The story begins with Li Lan's father discussing the possibility of her being a ghost bride to the son of the wealthy and influential Lim family.  

This begins Li Lan's strange journey.  When the ghost of Lim begins to haunt her she becomes ill and her spirit takes a journey through the Chinese spirit world.  It was a fantastic way to learn more about the traditions and lore in the Chinese culture.  Li Lim shows us everything from the rituals performed by the living to honor their dead, to the stages of afterlife the dead must go through before reincarnation in a beautiful flowing way.

I am assuming that most of the lore is accurate, but I am about as far from being an expert on Chinese culture as you can get.  This is just a beautiful and moving story.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

Barnes & Noble: The Ghost Bride: A Novel
Book Depository: The Ghost Bride: A Novel


  1. Hi Jasmyn, thank you for the lovely review! I'm so happy that you enjoyed the book! :)

  2. This one sounds lovely! I think I'll put it on my Goodreads to-buy list!