Author: Melissa Addey
Publisher: Letterpress Publishing
Publish Date: August 10, 2015
Source: I received a copy from the author.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "China, 1760. The Emperor conquers Altishahr, a Muslim country to the west of his empire and summons a local woman from his new dominion to come to the Forbidden City as his concubine.
Meanwhile in the market of Kashgar a girl named Hidligh is kidnapped by Iparhan, a woman scarred by the Emperor’s conquest of her homeland and bent on vengeance. Iparhan offers her a deal: Hidligh will become the Emperor’s concubine, living a life of luxury. In return she will act as Iparhan’s spy.
But when Hidligh arrives in the Forbidden City, she enters a frightening new world. Every word she utters may expose her as an imposter. Iparhan is watching from the shadows, waiting to exact her revenge on the Emperor. The Empress is jealous of her new rival. And when Hidligh finally meets the Emperor, she finds herself falling in love…"
My Two Cents:
"The Fragrant Concubine" is the story of Hidligh, a young woman who becomes mistress to China's emperor. The twist in the book comes when not everything is as it first seems with her. She is asked to be a spy at the Emperor's court by Iparhan, a woman bent on getting even with the Emperor. She wants to use Hidligh to get her vengeance. The author uses a combination of myth and historical fact to weave a story of the fragrant concubine.
I love books set in places that I am not familiar with and with characters that are unlike others that I have read before. The setting was especially captivating to me. This book takes place in the 1700s in China, which is a time and location that I have not read much about. The author takes us into the court of the Emperor, a place that is filled with social rules and obligations. At first, Hidligh is not familiar with any of the rules she will have to follow. One of my favorite parts in the book is when Iparhan and her servants are trying to teach Hidligh how to be a proper lady.
The writing of the book was pretty good. I found myself wanting a little more action in some parts. There were a couple places where the narrative got a little long winded but for the most part, the book flowed nicely. I appreciated all of the historical detail that the author added to the book; it really pulled me into the story. Overall, this was a good read!