Thursday, April 9, 2020

Keeping Promises: "The Night Tiger" by Yangsze Choo

11 year old Ren is a houseboy in the home of an old ex-patriot doctor and has made the dying man a promise. In 49 days, Ren must find his master's missing finger. And bury it in his grave. If he does not succeed... his master's soul would be doomed to walk the earth. Set in 1930's Malaya, the Night Tiger sweeps you away to another time and an exotic place filled with the beliefs and superstitions of the people and brought to vivid life by the author.
Ren's search is not the only mystery in this intriguing story. It is also the story of Ji Lin, a beautiful girl and the daughter of a lovely yet weak widow mother who had remarried a successful but critical business man. He brings to the marriage a son, Shin, devastatingly handsome, even as a boy. Ji Lin and Shin become close as children but when they are older, Shin leaves home and Jin Li begins a double life, working at a dress shop by day and as a dance hall girl called Louise by night.
One night, a dance hall customer is being too familiar and by accident she comes into possession of a glass vial containing an odd object. What could it be?
How will all these characters and their lives and secrets intersect?
The Night Tiger will ensnare you in these and other mysterious happenings and make you fall in love with Ren and the other unforgettable characters in this entrancing tale. Yangsze Choo is a remarkable writer and once you've read this one, don't miss her debut work The Ghost Bride! You'll be looking forward to whatever she has in store for us in the future! Very highly recommended!
*I also fell in love with the book cover. Simply exquisite!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Dream Lover: "The Ghost Bride" by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride, the gorgeous debut novel by Yangsze Choo, is set in Malaya in the 1890s. It is the story of a young girl, Li Lan living with her scholarly but opium addicted father and Amah, a servant who is more like a nanny. Her mother was lost to a smallpox epidemic that also left her father badly scarred.

 Her father's fortunes are in decline, so, one day after visiting with a wealthy acquaintance, he makes a proposal to his daughter. The wealthy family's only son had died, and they would like Li Lan to marry the dead son and be his ghost bride. The upside is she would live very well. The down side, being married to a dead guy. 
Does she give in to this family's wishes? No spoilers here!

This book took turns I didn't expect and the author creates a dream world and a spirit world that become more and more believable as the story progresses. She also created one of the most unique and captivating leading men who will be introduced to us bit by bit until he becomes one of the most memorable fictional presences I can recall in a long time. He will take your heart unless it is made of stone... and while Li Lang tries to deal with the ghostly bridegroom as he haunts her dreams and makes choices that take her on an unexpected journey, this character becomes central to her quest.

I absolutely adore Ms. Choo's work. I read the Night Tiger first and then sought out The Ghost Bride. She is a masterful storyteller and brings the reader right into her atmospheric Malayan setting with its jungles and city landscapes and, in this case, otherworldly settings, and the characters that populate them. 
If you are looking for something that will keep you engaged and reading till the end and that makes you want to go back and reread it so you can stay in that fictional world, then be sure to read the Ghost Bride. I'll be finishing my Night Tiger review shortly, which I also highly recommend! 5 shiny gold stars!