+Blog Book Tour+ The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Posted Wednesday, 6 August, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 8 Comments

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The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
5 August, 2014 (reprint – paperback edition)
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Official Author Websites: Site | @yangszechoo  | Facebook
Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback, Ebook Page Count: 384

Converse via: #TheGhostBride

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Ghost Bride” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

The reason I wanted to be on the tour:

I am always amazed at the journey we take as readers towards reading a particular book or becoming entranced by the words an author leaves behind for us to find. We (here refers to the collectively diverse readership of the world) all strive towards reading books when that leap of ignited joy and mirth of the discovery catalysts inside our mind and jumps out through our excited speech whilst we’re sharing the bits and bobbles of what we’ve just been blessed to discover with another bookish soul. Those wickedly delightful moments where you stumble across quite an extraordinary story during a more than ordinary hour of your life, and within that moment, you’re on the precipice of taking a journey to a place quite different from where you live and occupy your own murmurings on life; a place that will feel as though it bewitched you as it spoke to you to be read, to be devoured, and consumed.

When I first started reading a heap of recollections and ruminations on behalf of The Ghost Bride during the Autumn on 2013, I was a very new book blogger growing my wings and entering into the book blogosphere myself. I was sorting things out as I went along, and getting my feet wet with blog tours, reviewing books in a style that felt right for me, and gaining a bit of ground within the network of book bloggers in general who are as diverse as the four winds. I appreciate the fact that each of us who blogs about our reading lives takes on a different angle of insight as we read and review the books we want to share with the dear hearts who find us. It was during this particular exploration I came across a review where the blogger had not found the story was able to resonate with her but she had hoped others who appreciated everything that she felt did not work for her might work for someone else instead. Coincidently, I attempted to re-find the book blogger and my own comments therein, but it is lost out in the blogosphere at this point in time. She encouraged me in a way that other reviewers and bloggers hadn’t at that time to seek out the novel. I knew after reading her thoughts I could soak into The Ghost Bride.

I had not thought much about this at the time, but over the course of months since I have found that to read a negative or neutral review is quite an extraordinary thing; especially if you were like me, and took out such a positive take-away! I mused about that for a moment, and thought, but isn’t that why we blog?! Isn’t that why we read book blogs? To garnish a wider net of opinion, commentary, and muse filled thoughts of the readers behind the blogs themselves? To help us better articulate an idea of which novel might whet our palette of interest and encourage our own spirit to read the works of an author we’ve not yet become acquainted with?

In September of 2013, I also had the joy of contacting the author whilst she was hosting a bookaway through Shelf Awareness; I did not win the book, as my reply was received after the book was given away, however, these were my original thoughts on why the book captivated me in such a keen way:

Whilst I was participating in a bookish community event [Bout of Books], I was led to a variety of lovely blogs, whereupon I stumbled across a review of this book! Ironically, the reader wasn’t as enlightened by it as I would be, as they were not a keen fan of literary fiction, but its that review that earmarked this book in my mind to read! :) Isn’t that interesting!? It simply proves that there are as many diverse readers as there are books!!

Ever since then, I’ve had it in the back of my mind to make sure to see if my local library is going to be getting a copy of this lovely book, as I am a proud supporter of libraries!! I do love to buy books as much as the next person, but only when budget affords! What I wanted to say about your lovely book, is how heart-wretching and heart-aching the story sounds from afar! Talk about a character who has to undertake a journey that is not quite easy to understand, much less explain! I have watched documentaries on tv that showcase different traditions, not only for marriage but for a person’s life, as one draws to mind where in one country they select young girls who have the essence of the reincarnated deity and that that girl must live in confinement without the ability to communicate or speak, until she’s around 16!! She ‘ages out’ of the life, and is allowed to resume living, only to find that the available men are afraid that if they are with her in life and marriage that she would be a curse not a blessing! I wish I could draw to mind the exact details of the country & of this ritual, you’ll have to forgive me on this short-coming! However, the reason I drew it to mind, is because your character Li Lan is being placed into a situation that she didn’t choose and yet its a situation which custom and tradition demands!

Ms. Choo kindly replied back to me, and helped me remember that the documentary I had watched was about the “living goddesses” of Nepal! I am not certain why I had not had the proper chance to borrow this book from my local library, but as I have oft mentioned before, there are moments where we are meant to read certain books, and perhaps the time in which I was meant to read The Ghost Bride simply had not yet arrived! I am always very mindful of how coincidental certain moments are in life have turnt out to be quite serendipitous instead. It all depends on your perception of how life unfolds along your path.

Today is my blog’s official 1st birthday and it is an honour that I am celebrating it with a novel that quite bewitched me whilst it originally toured the book blogosphere! Today let’s celebrate the diversity of readers and the joy of selecting books that challenge us and dare us to always be willing to step outside our comfort zones and engage inside a narrative that is wholly different from our own cultural background yet grounded in a connective thread we can all relate too.

*a blog birthday is the day in which a blog goes live to the public whereas a blogoversary is the celebration of the day you created your blog 

Note: The curious bit for me is that I travelled through the original blog book tour for “The Ghost Bride” last year (also hosted by TLC Book Tours), within the first months I was a book blogger with a newly launched blog! To look back on my reflections of wanting to read the novel whilst visiting other book bloggers who were reviewing it and now, a full year forward to where I have the opportunity to read the novel myself and post my own ruminations on my own book blog is quite wicked karma! I have felt as though I have travelled with the book before it reached my own heart and hands to read!

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Book Synopsis:

Yangsze Choo

A wondrous coming-of-age story infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, adventure, and fascinating, dreamlike twists

Malaya, 1893 Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt Chinese family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives a proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, ghost marriages are often meant to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a comfortable home for the rest of her days, but at what cost?

As she reluctantly considers the offer, Li Lan is unwillingly drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities and vengeful spirits. There Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

Author Biography:

Yangsze Choo is a fourth-generation Malaysian of Chinese descent. She lives in California with her husband and their two children, and loves to eat and read (often at the same time).

The author had the honour of being selected to read her novel aloud for the audiobook version of The Ghost Bride, and after listening to Chapter 1, I can see why they selected her as she has a captivating speaking voice which brings the words off the page to life in such a lovely manner! Click to read the full story on her blog!

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Yangsze Choo’s Introduction to “The Ghost Bride” via Yangsze Choo

Inspired to Share: I am always fascinated by the back-story revelations of an author’s work, as to me, to hear about the process of their inspiration towards writing a novel quite literally heightens the joy for me as a reader. I realise there are other readers who would disagree with me on that score, but I have always found something quite remarkable in how stories are written and the methodology of each writer who chooses to pen a story to give back to the world in the form of a book. I was struck by the joy of how a bit of knowledge and research into one particular vein of thought led Ms. Choo to not only expand on a seedling of an idea but gave it such a measure of a breath to illuminate it fully by the scope she took the story!

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An Eastern Ghost Story and how it differs from the West:

The first main difference I found is an Eastern Ghost story is rooted within the relationship and interpersonal connection to the dead rather than focusing on the psychological thrill of having a ghost crossing into your lifepath. Western stories tend to focus on the shock and intensity of finding an ethereal presence in your life, an interruption of your hours, and a mindful sea of curious unknown questions and ramifications that are difficult to process and work through. There tends to be a lot of factors pulling the ties together for a Western ghost story, which parallel the leftover work of the deceased and a willingly earnest desire to see the work completed by a second or third party who was not particularly connected to the events or the deceased in life. From what I am gathering in The Ghost Bride the main concern is not unfinished business but rather a continuance of a life cut short of being lived. A way of progressing the life of the deceased to a fulfilling present; merely without their flesh and bone presence.

Elements of the story had me thinking back to my love of the South American and Latin American cultural celebration known as Day of the Dead in which family surround their loved ones’ graves and celebrate the life they lived whilst they were alive. It is a ritual influenced celebration and joyous one at that! Traditionally this has been a holiday centered around Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve) and All Saint’s Day (All Soul’s Day) in Mexico, and there lies the connection for me, as I was able to explore my love of the cultural heritage of Mexico whilst I travelled there as a teen. My furlough was in Summer, not Autumn, which was the only disappointment in regards to not seeing the festivities live in person.

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The Ghost Bride: Western vs Chinese Ghost Stories via James Cham

To extend into this a bit more I felt it best to allow the author

to speak on behalf of her own body of work.

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My Review of The Ghost Bride:

I began reading The Ghost Bride by listening to the First Chapter read by the author via her sound excerpt which is located on her blog’s post about being the narrator of the audiobook. I have taken a keen liking to audiobooks since I first started my foray into listening to an author read his own novel, two chapters at a time on Fridays (known as my Friday Night Reading Series feature). In this, I am blessed to have not only caught into the rhythm of how audiobooks sound but how they elevate the story through spoken speech and inflections of voice.

Being a dyslexic writer, I will admit is as quirky as it sounds, but being dyslexic as a reader holds within it a curious perception of words, names, and the way in which language sounds aloud to me as I read. I have always had the habit of giving ‘endearing names’ to any person or character I could not properly speak aloud as I would not be aware of the syllables nor the audible way in which the words were meant to reflect when spoken. The same can be said for places and locales which populate a novel which is set in a far off place from where I live. The manner in which I hear words and read words is a bit unique to myself, but to hear an author bring all these curiously new words to light and to hear the proper pronunciations as I am reading the novel with my own eyes in tandem to their spoken speech was a most delightful gift! So much so, that I am a bit anguished that I cannot go out and purchase the audiobook for The Ghost Bride in compact disc format to continue to listen and read along with Ms. Choo!

Her voice alternates it’s mannerisms per character that walks into the scene, and her compelling nature of etching the words alive remind me of why I loved listening to my own Mum whilst I was a bit too young to read on my own. It was no surprise to me that she has fond memories of reading to her own children, and this was quite the special entreaty to a novel I have experienced thus far as a book blogger! I could even hear her echo of a voice as I continued to read the story, as I was most entranced with the notion that Li Lan’s father was going to consider the proposal of the Lim family for his daughter to marry their deceased son!

As Lin Lan is at the very beginning of understanding the proposition of becoming a ‘ghost bride’ she is offered to play a round of Mahjong — a game I am quite familiar with and unfamiliar with at the very same time! I was a different type of child as I always opted for vintage games (i.e. board, card, marble, etc) rather than electronic or computer games (although I confess I played a rousing few of those too); my favourite of course was Chess, but a close second was Mahjong. I am not remembering how I came to know of the game originally, but similar to playing Chinese Checkers or African Mancala, I felt a drawing towards this particular game. I played it with such a vigor on my computer (this goes back in time before we had ‘online gaming sites’ and had to purchase a ‘play at home’ version for your desktop computer) my parents surprised me with my very own Mahjong set in a lovely travelling case. The saddest bit for me is that each time they found a teacher to help me better understand the dynamics of the game, the timing would not align as either the teacher fell ill or passed on. One day I have promised myself to sort out how to arrange the tiles and have the ability to learn how to play the game and honour the gift from my childhood.

I had not realised how much I have assimilated about Chinese culture, heritage, and tradition until I soaked into The Ghost Bride, where everything I had known felt second-nature rather than second-hand knowledge. It was so apparent that I believe this is why I felt as though I was transparently visiting this story through Li Lan rather than approaching it as an outsider. The small touches of Choo’s graceful style of story-telling etched me further into the heart of her novel, and a small smile was left upon my lips as I continued to read further into where Choo was leading me to venture. I am referring to how I already understood the hierarchy of where a Third Wife would be positioned in a marriage, the reason behind calling someone ‘Auntie’, and other such little bits of awareness I have accumulated to knowing.

I did become quite transfixed on the revelations of what entails the rituals and observances behind the Qing Ming Festival, as it is a process towards a loved one being given the opportunity to reincarnate as much as live a better life in the afterworld. I have always held a special interest in the cultural, traditional, and religious observations, rites, and passages of death as I grew up in a field that runs counter-current to this moment of our lives. (as previously spoken about on my review of Daughter of the Gods) The handmade objects which are burnt in remembrance as much as they are burnt in an effort to guide and assist the dead was quite fascinating!

The peripheral image seen on the cover art of the novel made exquisite sense to me as soon as I reached page 24, as it is a nodding gesture to the fact that Lim Tian Ching visits Lin Lan whilst she is asleep! There is an epicyclical truth to the moment between our conscience and unconscious selves — an eclipse of time, place, and cognitive awareness. He is able to reach out and touch her on the fringes of her wakefulness and I had an inkling of an idea of how this connective thread was made between them as my senses were alerted to the true reason ‘Auntie’ Madam Lim wanted her hair ribbon! There are ways in which to manipulate connections and to create divergent synapses of time – as time itself can become contorted and bent against it’s will if you know of the darker arts and sciences to cull it.

Lin Lan is in a muddled sea of anguish whilst realising the severity of her father’s reluctance to honour her with the truth of her plight as an unwed maiden and how their position as a family with less means than previous years, could prove the worst tragedy of all. She’s caught between honour, duty, and the pursuit of love – the irony for her is of whom she was originally betrothed was the object of her desire. The path towards redeeming her family’s position and of securing her own future pits her against another family (the Lim) will to see her relieve the debts they hold against her father. A woman who has all the hope and joy of her age to give her pause is now consumed by an anguish of betrayal as a daughter who is vexed at her father for disappearing into a haze-filled world precipitated by narcotics. Her despair grows by yards when she realises that shaking off the fortified presence of Lim Tian Ching is going to take more out of her than she first realised.

To Choo’s credit, she gave us more clues to the layers of what knits the story together between the reality of the world her characters were living within and the inter-fold center of where the spirits walked bringing a horror to the living caught inside their dreamscaped webs. The chilling vortex by which she transports Lin Lan through whilst by contemporary terms we’d consider her journey to be from astral projection, was as though she was guiding her through that in-between place between life, death, and the veil of existence in a third space. The entire story is a leap of faith and a leap of the imagination – to cart yourself forward and through a story that breaks the barriers of life and the afterlife. The profound realistic world-building and the compelling emotional angst Choo knits into the soul of her characters gives such a representation of the diversity of each spirit and personality that inhabits us all. When you take away the layers of who we are in this world, and go back to the basics of who we are in the spiritual realms, truth, light, and darkness tend to curl into each other and expel each other at the same time.

Note: I did find that you can acquire audiobooks in compact disc editions from ‘downpour.com’ including “The Ghost Bride”!  I was most overjoyed finding this new resource as I am not keen on downloadable media outlets. I had forgotten to mention that one of the reasons I was quite keen to learn Mahjong is because my family regularly played epic rounds of ‘Shanghai Rummy’ which was a complicated game of 7 rounds of Rummy! We spent absolute ages on a singular game, having to take a pause and a break between the days over a weekend to rest! I was always blessed to be raised in a family who loved the conversational camaraderie of gaming as much as the pure joy of playing without any additional reasonings except to match skill, strategy, and the beauty of the game whilst it was played.

On the art of crafting a story from the pen of Yangsze Choo:

Choo has a tantalising aura of historical details and sense of place whilst creating the back-drop of The Ghost Bride; as I very much felt as though my shoes were creating the footfalls of Li Lan as she moved us through the story. Little bits of information which seeped out and inward of the passages, creating this visual impression of not just the artistic and cultural heritage of where Li Lan lives, but a visual stamp on how that world is set and visually stimulated. From glimpses of the art left on display to the mention of what can be observed on the streets. She has a visual connection to how she paints her story’s heart and by doing this has graced us with an immersive experience similar to visiting the very same place ourselves if we had flown in a plane. I appreciate this type of detail and descriptive narrative, which I do tend to mention quite frequently inside my reviews, as it is always a hidden blessing when finding a new author I appreciate reading!

Her gentle strokes of prose are your guide, but it is the emotional curing of her characters which make the transition complete; to step fully outside our hours and into the hours captured within the pages. She includes the native language in a seamless manner as if they were endued by a natural occurrence, adding not detracting from the flow of the pace. They help root you in the locale but add a bit of dimension at the same time. You are drawn to swallow the words and devour the text as if time itself were elapsing quite quickly and you only had a limited time to secure the story to mind. This is a story-teller who pulls you front and center into her world and welcomes you back as if you were already an acquaintance. I cannot wait to see what she pens next and where her pen shall take her readership, as this was her début and the next story I can only imagine will be equally as captivating as this impressive first out of the gate!

My next post on behalf of The Ghost Bride will be my experience of ‘listening’ to Ms. Choo read her novel as I fully intend to purchase her audiobook as soon as time shall allow possible. I find her voice melodic and soothing as an audible voice to convey not only the narrative but the videos I discovered via the James Cham channel on YouTube! (of whom I am presuming is her husband!) Quite brilliant, eh? I encourage anyone reading this review to jump over to his channel and listen to each video she uploaded about the novel!

A note on the “P.S.” edition of this novel & of “Sweet Water”:

I had not had the proper chance to mention on my last review featuring Sweet Water by Christina Baker Kline, that one of the things that I appreciate the most about this particular edition of novels published by William Morrow is the ability to gather a bit of extra insight into an author’s collective works (such as with Kline) and/or a bit more about the author as a person and as a writer (such as with Choo). In the back of this novel, Ms. Choo talks on the subject of why you should write the novel your writing, to the level that any writer would draw out a jolt of encouragement reading her words.

These editions are quite recognisable as they have a “P.S.” label in the lower right corner of the paperback copies and at the top of the spine as well.

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The Erhu via Danwei Tv

– “Running River” by Liu Hong*

Inspired to Share: On page 36, the er hu instrument is mentioned, and after I had shared traditional music selections on my review of Night in Shanghai I decided to do the same today! I am always keenly fascinated by the different instruments which produce such an evoking sense of a living moment. I love listening to music from different cultures and countries; expanding not only my musical horizons but my appreciation of the different sounds each instrument creates. Musically I can never tire of discovering something new and something evocatively real.

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This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours.
click-through to follow the blogosphere tour:

TLC Book Tours | Tour HostLikewise, here is the original blog tour from TLC Book Tours

from August of 2013

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See what I am hosting next:

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva

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Please take note of the Related Articles as they were hand selected due to being of cross-reference importance in relation to this book review. This applies to each post on my blog where you see Related Articles underneath the post. Be sure to take a moment to acknowledge the further readings which are offered.

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Comments make me smile! Let’s start a conversation! I appreciate your visit & look forward to your return! I do moderate the comment threads; do not worry if the comment is delayed in being seen! Drop back soon!

Reader Interactive Question:

Did you get the chance to read “The Ghost Bride” during the blog tour last year and/or did you purchase the novel or borrow it from your local library!? What were your impressions of the story? Did you feel it was an intoxicatingly beautiful historical novel such as I? What pulled you into the story itself? OR what did you find limited your ability to draw a connection to the character of Li Lan?

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Ghost Bride”, author photograph, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Buy links on Scribd excerpt are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story. Book Excerpt was able to be embedded due to codes provided by Scribd. The musical piece by Liu Hong (“Running River”) had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Tweets were embeded due to codes provided by Twitter. Cross posted to Riffle badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Ghost Marriage – (en.wikipedia.org)

Day of the Dead – (en.wikipedia.org)

Qing Ming Festival – (en.wikipedia.org)

Book Review: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo – (bookdilettante.blogspot.com) On the perspective of cross-relating mythologies and stories of lore with the back-story and world-building within this novel.

Discovering Audiobooks : Novels in CD Editions via my Downpour Wish List! – (read.rifflebooks.com) Find out what originally inspired Jorie to create a list devoted to audiobooks; with this novel being the very *first!* one she found was available on Downpour! Her love for audiobooks is anchored between “The Ghost Bride” and a steampunk novel!

The ‘live reading tweets’ I shared as I read & reviewed “The Ghost Bride”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

Comments via Twitter:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 6 August, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, A Father's Heart, All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day, All Soul's Day, Astral Projection, Audiobook, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Bout of Books, Buddhism, Cemeteries & Graveyards, Chinese Literature, Christianity, Clever Turns of Phrase, Clockmakers & Watchmakers, Clockwork & Mechanisations, Clogs & Gears, Confucianism, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Day of the Dead, Death & Burial Rites, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Folklore and Mythology, Gaming, Ghost Marriage Ritual, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Mahjong, Malacca, Malaya, Marriage Rituals, Parapsychological Suspense, Passionate Researcher, Psychological Suspense, Qing Ming Festival, Reincarnation, Rituals for the Afterlife, Scribd, Soundcloud, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, TLC Book Tours, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

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8 responses to “+Blog Book Tour+ The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

    • Hallo Heather!

      Yes, it was simply incredible how my prior knowledge of the cultural heritage of China truly gave an added dimension to the layers I was able to appreciate knitted inside The Ghost Bride !! This is most definitely a novel I want to read over again, soaking into it for a second read, and seeing things I might have missed the first time round! It is such an ethereal story – Choo gave us a hearty legacy of a story which bends not only perception but the understandings of cultural divides and of life / death circumstances in a way that breathes a lifeblood of heart into her words! I positively adored this novel! :) Thank you for your compliment!

  1. “The entire story is a leap of faith and a leap of the imagination” – being a writer and fan of such stories, I will most definitely add “The Ghost Bride” to my TBR list.

    Beyond the book itself though, I must comment on your review, Jorie, for it, too, is a work of art. The detail included in this post and your enthusiasm for the book itself shine throughout and Ms. Choo is quite lucky to have you included on her blog tour.

    Rock on with your bad self.

    I can only hope one day my books cross paths with you and your amazing blog.

    Keep in touch. #WeNeedDiverseBooks.


  2. This in such an in-depth review! I love how you go into how you were introduced to the book because I myself have had that a few times as well, where a different blogger reviews a book I then have to read because their review made it sound like my kind of book. I am kind of getting the feeling this ‘The Ghost Bride’ now as well.

    I love reading about different cultures and Chinese culture has always had a special interest to me because it is so different from European cultures and yet somehow feels incredibly familiar on some other level. It’s really interesting how you point out the difference between the Western and Eastern take on ghosts within society.

    I’ve seen the Erhu played live a few times and it’s a fascinating instrument, so I loved listening to it again in your videos! This was a great post and I’ll definitely be checking out ‘The Ghost Bride’! Thanks :)
    Juli @ Universe in Words

    • *waves hallo!*


      It was wonderful to visit your blog whilst participating on this blog tour! That is singularly one of my favourite parts about being a hostess of blog tours, is the interaction and discovery of other perspectives to the novels that I am reading and/or curious to read next! :) Thank you for your sweet compliments about the inclusion of the videos! I simply felt inspired after watching them, and if you follow the tag below the review you will find other places I have added them! Thanks for visiting me, spending time conversing about two books that interest us both, and for following me as well! Such a happy day!

  3. How amazing that you added a video of the author discussing the novel and a video of Chinese music on the erhu. These add so much to your review and I do appreciate it as a reader. Your review and comments are a work of art in themselves :)

    I am familiar with the Qing Ming festival, the honoring of the ancestors, but in my experience there was the lighting of incense and leaving of food, but not the burning of paper objects or paper money. That is much more elaborate.

    I myself don’t believe in ghosts that come back to haunt us, but I am willing to consider a spirit world that might exist before the dead pass on to their “eternal” fates. What a rich body of belief exists in all cultures, relating to this!

    I hope to follow you on Google Plus!

    Book Dilettante

    • Hallo, Hallo Harvee!

      I must say, your presence on my blog today has been a pure delight & joy! I love the wicked sweet feedback your giving me as it helps me know how my reviews & posts are resonating with readers & visitors! I am always humbled by how what I share on my blog is absorbed by a reader, and I cannot thank you for giving me such a lovely comment to read as this! :) When I read the passage inside novel which started to talk about the erhu — there was a curiosity spinning inside my ear as to how that particular instrument might sound. I felt that if I was curious, perhaps others who are reading the story and/or interested in reading the story might like to listen to it too!? I am always amazed at what I can find on YouTube! Brings the world a bit closer one video at a time, yes? :)

      This was my first experience of knowing more about the Qing Ming Festival, but it was such a compliment to the other observances I had known about previously, that it simply added this eloquent new layer! I must admit, I do have a bit of belief in the world of spirits and ghosts – through research in non-fiction pursuits as well as fiction based on real occurrences, I have taken up residence in believing that there is a heap of things that can happen between the veils of our world and the afterworld, to the level that stories like The Ghost Bride give a new sense of awareness that we might otherwise might not be privy towards knowing. It is a subject that I care about and appreciate seeing as you do the different threads of belief which unite our different cultures.

      The way in which Choo described the burnt offerings was very visual and I adored her for it — I could very much see the textural skin of the objects within the living breath in the afterworld sequences; she gave such a beautiful tangible connection between the ritual and the world in which Li Lan found herself travelling inside.

      I am not on Google+ I am afraid! :( I decided to focus on Twitter instead of joining a lot of different social portals. I do actively participate on Riffle, but the best way to interact with me outside of my blog here is to tweet me! I love the spontaneity of random conversations! :) Ooh! I nearly had forgotten — I love hitting the “heart button” on bloglovin! You did find me there, I saw!

      PS: I am not sure why, but the Google+ button to comment on here disappeared one day!? :(

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