New contest: “The Lotus Palace” by Jeannie Lin

This contest is now closed. Jackie won the book!

Jeannie Lin is one of those authors for me where the moment I start the book, I get an immediate sense of rightness and satisfaction, and I continue to feel that way right up until the end.

Ending a book in a way that is completely satisfying is one of the most difficult things to do. I can think of loads of books where I love love love everything about it…except I wish the ending had just been a little different.

Jeannie Lin knows exactly how to write an ending so that it feels like the best way, the only way the story could have gone, and so that nothing is rushed or drags on. Plus her characters always feel so real and endearing, and the dilemmas they face seem insurmountable…until they’re surmounted.

The Lotus Palace is first in a new Tang Dynasty series and I can’t wait to read the next one! And I’ve got a signed copy to give away.

cover of The Lotus Palace, a woman in a red silk robe against a red background
It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang Li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans. At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China…

Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties. Street-smart and practical, she’s content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress–until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.

Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue-ying can barely imagine, yet alone share, but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery, they both start to dream of a different life. Yet Bai Huang’s position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine–will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?

 

I absolutely adored Yue-ying. Heroines who have been forced by life to become deeply practical, even cynical, but who feel deeply underneath are one of my top favorite tropes, and this delivered–and yet Yue-ying retained a sweetness and kindness despite her inability to trust or even hope, which I really enjoyed.

Bai is also one of my favorite tropes, the aristocrat posing as a loveable but airheaded fop for a Secret Reason. I loved how his charm and sincerity with Yue-ying, and his earnest determination to help people, weren’t allowed to wipe away his rich, privileged cluelessness. He had some hard lessons to learn and it was great to watch him learn them.

Plus, a compelling murder mystery! What more can you ask for?

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your correct e-mail address (NOT in the body of the comment, but in the form where it says Name:, Mail:, Website:, make sure the e-mail address you enter for “Mail” is right). It won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

NB: I got this book signed at a conference. Ms. Lin isn’t involved in the giveaway and the book isn’t personalized. So if you want to tell her how much you loved her books, this isn’t the place. That would be <http://www.jeannielin.com/lotus-palace/”>her website. (But this IS the place to tell ME how much you loved it!)

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