Empress Orchid

Empress Orchid

by Anchee Min

Judy Stanton (12/02/12): This is my first Anchee Min book and it has motivated me to look for more books by her, including a sequel to this one. I am not a "sequel" kind of reader, and I always feel a little cheated if I only find out there is a sequel AFTER reading the book. That being said, I thought Min did a great job of getting the reader into the culture and traditions during the Manchu Chinese dynasty. I always find learning about the beliefs and practices of other times and other cultures to be interesting. The story tells how Orchid, a young Manchu woman from a poor family , rises to become an Empress. Through her journey, the reader learns about Imperial culture, jealousy among the Emperor's many wives, the difficulty of raising a child who would be King with more than one mother, and the art of making alliances to benefit one's position. Learning about the encroachment of other countries on China during this period was also enlightening. Well done.
Rating: ****

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