My Fair Concubine by Jeannie Lin

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Every so often, I think I am over my romance obsession. I’ll find myself reading a new, well-recommended novel and it doesn’t grab me and my brain says, “Maybe, I’m free? I’M FREE!” and can soon start reading other things as well. However, whenever it happens, as soon as I go back to something I have liked in the past, I am as ensnared by my kissing book obsession as ever. This was the case with My Fair Concubine. A Pygmalion themed historical romance set in China in 824 CE, it was a nice departure from the standard fare, but although I have read another Lin romance set in the same world, and have a third waiting on my Kindle, neither story quite caught my interest and I doubt I will ever get to that last book.

From Amazon: Yan Ling tries hard to be servile—it’s what’s expected of a girl of her class. Being intelligent and strong-minded, she finds it a constant battle. Proud Fei Long is unimpressed by her spirit—until he realizes she’s the answer to his problems. He has to deliver the emperor a “princess.” In two months can he train a tea girl to pass as a noblewoman?

With a time limit and a bait and switch deadline pressing down on them Yan Ling and Fei Long work to transform her into the lady she needs to be. Things go predictably, romantically awry as the two are inevitably drawn to each other.

The characterizations and milieu in My Fair Concubine were well-portrayed and interesting. It’s an era I know nothing about so I can’t even manage the veneer of dubious historical knowledge I cling to for all those 19th century British romances I love so much. As with them, and as is the case in all romances built on differences in social standing, Yan Ling and Fei Long’s success guarantees she will join the ranks of her society’s powerful elite. Of course, when reading I choose to think of that as financial security or, as Courtney Milan once put it, “You would need never feel cold again.” It is an extremely appealing notion.

Speaking of  Courtney Milan, it was her recommendation of Jeannie Lin as an author who deserves more attention that made me seek out her books. When I didn’t like the first one I read, I decided to give this second one a try. My lukewarm response to both disappointed me because this genre could use a change of pace and love stories are universal, but Lin’s writing just isn’t for me.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

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